Summer is approaching 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 others, it’s a passion, but for all, SAFETY should come first. Consider the following tips when getting your child ready to hit the sidewalks rolling:
According to the National Safety Council, 98,000 people visited the emergency room in 2017 after sustaining a injury while skateboarding.
- 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).
- Protective Gear: Knee pads, elbow pads, wrist protectors and goggles help to prevent against cuts, scrapes, gravel burns and may reduce the chance of breaking a bone if your child falls.
- Proper footwear: Closed toed, non-slip shoes should be worn when skateboarding or while riding a scooter. Save the flip flops for the beach!
- Boot fit: The boot of the rollerblade needs to fit properly in order to support the ankle and provide better control when skating
Age and Safety
Younger children typically have less coordination, demonstrate slower protective reactions and have less experience judging 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 require close adult supervision whenever they ride
Terrain/Weather Conditions/Skating Environment:
Skateboard/Rollerblading surface and environment are important!
- Do not skateboard or rollerblade on wet, rough or uneven surfaces. Remember to stay clear of crowded sidewalks and busy streets or intersections.
- Educate your child of the importance of screening the area before he/she rides, specifically looking to avoid areas with rocks, twigs, or debris that may cause unexpected wipeouts
- Wherever available consider using supervised skate parks in your community.
- No cell phones or headphones should be used while on a scooter, skateboard or when roller blading.
- Have your child empty his/her pockets of any hard or sharp objects before riding.
- Only 1 person should be on a skateboard or scooter at a time.
Stay Prepared and Hydrate!
Like any sport, it’s important to stay in shape and be prepared. Skating requires endurance, flexibility and agility.
- Encourage stretching before and after skating.
- Keep a bottle of water close by—especially on those hot and humid summer days!
- Educate your child on what to do in an emergency. Accidents happen. Teach children to stay calm and seek assistance.
Skating and roller blading are an excellent way to exercise and have fun!!! Keeping these tips in mind this summer will help to keep everyone safe and happy!
Updated on March 16, 2020
Jaclyn Graff, PT, DPT is a pediatric physical therapist at the CA Technologies Rehabilitation Center at the Lerner’s Children’s Pavilion, Hospital for Special Surgery. She is passionate about working with children with neuromuscular disorders, torticollis, and orthopedic injuries and has a special interest in idiopathic toe-walking. In her free time, Jackie enjoys running short and long distance races and traveling.