Skateboarding has become an increasingly popular sport over the years for many kids. It will increase balance, agility, coordination and reaction times. With plenty of practice and these skateboarding safety tips, your kids can indeed be smart and safe at the same time.
There are important rules of skateboarding that should be followed such as to always wear your protective gear. A helmet, knee and elbow pads, wrist guards and a pair of sturdy shoes reduce the chance of injuries. Helmets will help prevent concussions and damage to the face and head. Sports gloves are to keep hands safe for when you fall.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP, Youth under the age of 5 years should not ride a skateboard. Children aged 6 through 10 years should have close supervision from an adult or trusted adolescent when riding a skateboard. Even at skateparks parents should supervise their children and choose parks that are away from busy streets and highways.
A properly fitted helmet should meet the standards of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or Snell Memorial Foundation (SMF). Properly fitted helmets should:
- Be worn flat on your head with the bottom edge parallel to the ground.
- Sit low on your forehead.
- Have side straps that form a “V” shape around each ear.
- Have a buckle that fastens tightly (there should be room to put only two fingers between the strap and your chin).
- Have pads inside that you install or remove so the helmet fits snugly.
- Should not move in any direction when you shake your head.
- Should not interfere with your movement, vision or hearing.
- The helmet should be made out of a hard outer shell and an absorbing liner at least one-half inch thick.
Wear a properly fitting helmet to protect your head from injury. This is true for all ages, level of experience, or skateboarding location.
Get a quality cycle, skate, or multi-sport helmet. Helmets should always meet or exceed safety standards of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Try on several sizes and models to find a proper helmet that fits your head correctly and securely. Replace your helmet at least every 3 years, or when there is damage. You may need to replace it sooner if you out grow the helmet.
Some of the most common Injuries could come from minor falls that cause scrapes and bruises. At the same time some very severe injuries could happen if you fall from high up or ride into another skateboarder, bike, or vehicle. Common Injuries may include:
- Bruises, small scratches/cuts
- Deep cuts including cuts on the face
- Damaged or broken bones such as ankle, wrist, elbow, and leg injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
These injuries can occur at any age. However, different age groups are more likely to get certain injuries. Those over age 16 are at greatest risk of getting a brain and shin bone (tibia) injury’s. Those under age 10 are at most risk of having a break in the thigh bone (femur).
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) They recommend close adult supervision for children between the 6-10 years of age while they are skateboarding. They suggest that children under the age of 5 should not ride a skateboard.
What Can You Do to Make Skateboarding Safer?
Wearing protective gear plus skateboarding at skateboard parks instead of on or near a street will decrease the chance of injuries.
- Make children always wear protective gear that includes a helmet. Wrist guards, elbow and knee pads are also available.
- Never allow your children to skate near traffic. Tell your children and their friends to stay off of the streets and away from moving cars, buses, and trains. Skateboarding when the ground is wet or it is raining is also no to be done.
- Make sure the skateboard is in good working condition. No loose wheels and there should not be cracks or broken parts.
- Basic skateboarding skills should be taught. They need to be able to stop or turn suddenly when needed. Most Injuries happen during the first week of learning a new sport.
- Always have an adult or responsible guardian watching.
- Only one person on a skateboard at a time. More than one person on a skateboard increases the chance of injury.
- Take turns and be considerate of other skateboarders. Headphone use is prohibited when skate boarding.
Wear Proper Protective Gear
Before you get onto your board, make sure to empty your pockets of all hard and sharp objects and put on all of your protective gear. Protective equipment essentials includes:
- A proper fitted helmet
- Wrist guards that support the wrist in order toreduce the chances of breaking a bone if you fall.
- Knee and elbow pads to reduce the severity of cuts and scrapes, and prevent ground burns.
- Closed-toe shoes that are slip-resistant and strapped to your feet. No sandals!
- Goggles or glasses are suggested as they can keep debris out of the eyes.
For those skateboarders that are going to perform tricks should use heavy duty gear.
Choosing a Safe Environment
You are most at risk for injury when skateboarding near traffic or near places where it is possible to collide with vehicles, bikes, pedestrians, or other obstacles.A growing number of communities provide supervised skateboard parks. These parks should have professionally designed “bowls” and “ramps” and are designated skateboarding areas that are located away from moving vehicles and pedestrian traffic. While those parks are protected from the risks of traffic and pedestrians, they often contain more advanced terrain and not always for novice riders.
Here are a few other recommendations to help ensure a safe environment for skateboarding.
- Avoid irregular surfaces. Always screen the area before you skateboard, inspecting surfaces for cracks, rocks, and other debris.
- No homemade skateboard ramps.
- Never use your skateboard on a wet surface.
- Avoid skateboarding in crowds or in darkness.
- Do not hold onto the side or rear of a moving vehicle while riding a skateboard (“skitching”). There is a good chance you could fall or be thrown into oncoming traffic if the vehicle suddenly slows, stops, or turns.
Ensure Appropriate Equipment
There are many skateboards types and each are for different styles of riding, such as slalom, freestyle, and speed. Some boards are rated the weight of the user. Only use a quality skateboard that’s appropriate for your level of skill and the type of riding that’s intended.
There are three parts to a skateboard: the deck (the board on its own), the trucks, and the wheels that attach to the trucks. Shorter decks are best for beginners because they are easier to balance and handle.
Be sure to keep your skateboard in working order. It should be inspected before every ride. Look for problems that need repair, such as:
- Loose, broken, or cracked parts
- Sharp edges on metal boards
- A slippery top surface
- Wheels that have nicks and cracks
Its suggested to seek professional help to repair serious defects.
Focus on Technique
It is important to practice and master the basic skills of skateboarding before trying more challenging maneuvers. Especially learn how to stop, slow down, and turn. In addition:
- Learning to fall safely. When you lose balance, crouch down on the skateboard so that you will not have as far to fall. Try to land on the fleshy parts of your body rather than your arms. Relax and roll.
- Skateboard based on your skill level. Skateboarding skill will take time and practice. Do not take chances by skateboarding faster than your skills will allow, or faster than is safe for the surrounding conditions.
- Stay in tip top physical condition to help to prevent skateboarding injuries.
Additional Safety Tips
Practice those trick jumps in a controlled and safe environment, such as a skate park that has adult supervision with appropriate access to emergency medical care.
- Please be considerate your fellow skaters, especially those who are younger and are still learning. Take turns on ramps or other equipment.
- Don’t headphones while skateboarding.
- No more than one person on a skateboard.
- Skateboarding accidents are going to happen. Always know what to do in an emergency. Call 911 for medical assistance or an ambulance.
Skateboarding started being an official Olympic sport in 2020, and more people are becoming interested in this exciting sport. In 2017, over 90,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after skateboarding related injury. Over 45,000 of those injuries came from ages 15 to 24.
The brunt of the damage usually happens to your wrists. Injury’s such as sprains or fractures, “swellbows,” or swollen elbows, also are common. To avoid a serious injury, such as a broken nose or jawbone, concussion and other head injury, it is imperative to follow the safety rules to minimize your risk
Protecting Children and Adults from Bicycle Injuries
Hear are some suggestions for preventing bicycle injuries:
- A bicycle that is to large can not be controled. You should be able to straddle the bike and stand with both feet flat on the ground.
- Younger children should ride a bicycle with training wheels.
- You must be able to stop the bike by using the brakes.
- Proper hand signals for left turns, right turns, and stopping should be learned. Make certain you understand and observe all traffic signals and signs. Children who aren’t yet coordinated enough to use hand signals and still maintain control of their bike should not ride in the street.
- Children should ride on sidewalks until they are at least 13 years of age.
- Look both ways, before riding into traffic from a sidewalk, driveway, or parking lot.
- When riding on the street, children should ride in a straight line near the curb, and be alert for car doors opening into traffic lanes. Both children and adults should ride against traffic.
- Children should not ride a bike as it gets dark or at night as this is when most accidents occur. If a child is still outside when it turns dark, the bicycle light must be turned on and the child should be wearing light or reflective clothing.
- Bikes should have safety reflectors attached. All bikes should have reflectors on the front, rear, and wheel spokes.
The following recommendations are from the National Safety Council (NSC) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- Protective gear should always be worn, such as elbow and kneepads, gloves, helmets, and wrist guards.
- Use durable skates with proper ankle support.
- Warm up your muscles before skating by skating slowly for 5 minutes or more.
- Skate with knees slightly bent to maintain balance.
- Practice stopping properly without losing balance.
- Always skate on the right side of sidewalks and other paths.
- Pass on the left and warn others that you are passing.
- Don’t skate in the street, especially where there is a lot of traffic.
- Look for and avoid uneven surfaces. Inspect the ground below you.
- Check your skates regularly for wear and tear. Make sure the wheels are tightened.
- Obey all legal traffic rules.
Skateboards are very popular among children of all ages. Skateboards should never be used on surface streets. Even experienced skateboarders will fall, so learning how to fall safely can help reduce the risk of injuries. The following are recommendations from the NSC regarding how to fall correctly:
- When losing your balance, crouch down on the skateboard so you have a shorter distance to fall.
- Try to land on fleshy parts of your body when falling.
- Try to roll as you fall, which prevents your arms from absorbing all the force.
- Try to relax, rather than remaining stiff when falling.
- Shake yourself off and get back up.
Other safety precautions to take when skateboarding include the following:
- Always use protective gear, such as helmets, padding for wrists, elbows and knees, and closed-toe and slip-resistant shoes.
- Check your the skateboard occasionally for wear and tear.
- Only allow one person per skateboard.
- Don’t hang onto bicycles, cars, or other vehicles while skateboarding.
- Carefully practice tricks in designated skateboarding areas.
- Don’t skateboard in the street.
Although scooters have been around since the mid century, the newer scooters are usually made of lightweight aluminum, weighing less than 12 pounds. They are quickly risen in popularity and are the cause of more emergency room visits. Health officials have seen a dramatic increase in scooter-related accidents and injuries. Most of the injuries happen to kids under the age of 15. Some of the more common injuries are fractures or dislocations to the arm or hand, followed by cuts, bruises, strains, and sprains. Almost half of all injuries tend to happen to the arm or hand, and about one-fourth are to the head and another fourth to the leg or foot. Deaths directly related to scooter accidents have also happened.
The CDC has recommended the same precautions for scooters as for bicycling and in-line skating. Many injuries can be prevented or reduced in severity if protective equipment is worn. Helmets have the best chance of decreasing head injuries and wearing a helmet is the law in most states, elbow pads can prevent over 80 percent of elbow injuries, and knee pads can prevent over 30 percent of knee injuries. Although wrist guards are effective in preventing injuries among in-line skaters, the protection they provide against injury for scooter riders is unknown, as wrist guards may make it hard to grip the scooter handle and steer it.
Based on the research of injury prevention effectiveness for other related activities, the following recommendations may help to prevent scooter-related injuries:
- Wear an approved helmet that meets safety standards.
- Use knee and elbow pads.
- Ride scooters on smooth, paved roads without traffic. Don’t ride on streets and surfaces with water, sand, gravel, or dirt.
- Don’t ride scooters at night.
Young children should not use scooters without close supervision.