Skateboarding has been a popular sport for decades and it shows no signs of waning any time soon. Kids and young adults alike enjoy the fun it brings and the benefits, such as agility, coordination, and balance. However, it is not without risks, which is why we put together these important safety tips so that your kids can have fun skateboarding while staying safe.
1. Helmets Are a Must
The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) created standards for helmets for different recreational activities for protection. First and foremost, they affirm that helmets should be properly fitted. Take the steps below to ensure your child’s helmet is securely fitted:
- Place the helmet on your head so that it fits flatly and snugly against your head with the bottom parallel to the ground.
- Pull the helmet down low enough so that the front edge sits low on your forehead.
- Select a helmet with “V” shape side straps that fall on either side of the ears.
- Tighten the buckle or fasteners securely enough so that only two fingers fit between your chin and the helmet strap.
- Choose a helmet with internal padding that can remain or you can remove to ensure a secure fit.
- Have your child nod or shake their head after securing the helmet, and make sure it doesn’t shift or move with their head movement.
Your child’s helmet should fit securely; however, it should not interfere with their sensory intake. The helmet should not impede vision, hearing, and movement.
2. Additional Gear Is Important, Too
Guards, pads, and other items work alongside your child’s helmet to provide additional protection to their arms, legs, and extremities. Specifically, from top to bottom:
- Wrist guards support the wrists and protect against strains in the event of a fall.
- Elbows and knees are common points of injuries, so protect these areas with pads.
- Close-toed shoes protect the toes while non-slip soles help keep the foot planted firmly on the skateboard and prevent slippage.
3. Skateboarding Is Best Done in the Proper Setting
Improve your child’s skateboarding experience by encouraging them to skate in the correct environment. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help.
- On the street
- On wet pavement
- In crowded areas with a lot of people and traffic
- With more than one person on a skateboard
- While holding onto a moving vehicle, bicycle, or other items in motion
- While wearing headphones or anything that will limit your awareness of your surroundings
- On a paved driveway or small, safe area as you begin to learn
- In the beginner section of a skate park or an unused parking lot
- While adhering to all posted rules, local laws, and regulations
4. Skateboarding Sometimes Results in Injury
Skateboarding is an inherently dangerous sport depending on the skater’s skill level and risk tolerance. Most injuries are due to minor cuts and scrapes as a result of falls. Sprains and breaks are common, and more significant injuries can occur. The risk of significant injury increases when helmets and other protective gear are not used, are misused, or when skateboarders collide with cars, bicyclists, or other skateboarders.
Injuries include everything from scratches to cuts and bruises to broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can occur with any skateboarder of any age, but certain age groups carry greater risk. The older you are, the greater the risk you have of a traumatic brain injury, which is why helmets are essential for this sport no matter the age. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of five not skateboard at all. They also suggest that children age 6-10 years old skateboard only under adult supervision in case of accident or emergency.
Skateboarding is a fun activity that increases balance, coordination, and agility, but it is not without risk. By following the guidelines outlined here and supported by experts, you can put the proper precautions in place to allow your kids to have fun, but be safe.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice?
Contact Howard Blau.
Ventura County’s Favorite Law Office