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Soaring into the Summer: Tips for Skateboarding and Rollerblading


Summer is approaching and the school year is ending, which means more and more children will be hitting the streets on their boards and blades. For some it’s a hobby, for some it’s cool, and for some it’s a passion, but for all, SAFETY should come first. Consider the following tips when getting your child ready for his or her version of the Summer X-Games:

Protective Gear:

Each year in the US, skating injuries cause about 50,000 visits to the emergency room, most involving head injuries that can be serious.

  • HELMET HELMET HELMET: If your child is participating in any sport that involves wheels, they need to wear a properly fitting helmet that meets the safety standards of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • Proper shoes: Closed toe, slip-resistant shoes should be worn when skateboarding
  • Boot fit: The boot of the rollerblade needs to fit properly in order to support the ankle and provide better control when skating
  • Protectors: Knee, elbow, and wrist protectors help to reduce the chance of breaking a bone if your child falls, and reduces the severity of cuts, scrapes, and gravel burns

Age Appropriateness to Ride:

Younger children have a higher center of gravity, which leads to poorer balance as compared to older children and adolescents. They also have less coordination, slower protective reactions, and less experience gauging risks such as speed and traffic.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

  • Children under the age of 5 years old should not ride a skateboard
  • Children aged 6 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult or trustworthy adolescent whenever they ride

Terrain/Weather Conditions/Skating Environment:

  • Consider where your child is skating. Avoid skating on crowded walkways and sidewalks, or near busy streets or intersections. A growing number of communities have opened supervised skate parks that are located away from motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
  • Do not use skateboards or rollerblades on wet, rough, or uneven surfaces
  • Teach your child to screen the area before he or she rides, specifically looking to avoid areas with rocks, twigs, or debris that may cause unexpected wipeouts

Maintain Top Physical Condition:

Like any sport, it’s important to stay in shape and be prepared. Skating requires the endurance to last for a few hours of fun, the flexibility to help prevent injuries, and the agility to perform safe tricks. Encourage stretching before and after skating. Also make sure your child stays hydrated, especially when hot, humid, long summer days are in the forecast.

Don’t forget to have your child empty their pockets of any hard or sharp objects before riding and educate your child on what to do in an emergency. Accidents happen. Teach children to stay calm and seek assistance.

Kelsie Ganshert is a pediatric physical therapist at the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center within Hospital for Special Surgery’s Lerner Children’s Pavilion.

The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.