Teaching Skateboarding and Scooter Safety
As skateboarding becomes increasingly popular among teenagers and scooters continue to intrigue children, the use of protective equipment while participating in the fun, healthy sport is vital to prevent injuries that can be life-threatening and even fatal.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, skateboarding injuries cause about 50,000 emergency department and 1,500 children and teenagers to be hospitalized each year. These visits can range from minor cuts and bruises to fatal brain injuries. To prevent both serious and minor injuries, the AAP recommends that parents insist their children wear proper protective gear, including a properly fitted helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads and shoes. Here's a few other safety tips before sending your child out to work on their skateboard skills.
- Before getting on a skateboard, empty pockets of all hard and sharp objects and put on protective gear.
- To protect the head from injury, always wear a properly fitting bicycle or multi-sport helmet. A helmet should meet or exceed safety standards of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). According to the AAP, a helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head and covers the forehead, not tipped forward or backward. The strap should be securely fastened with about two fingers able to fit between chin and strap. The helmet should fit snug on the head, but not overly tight. Skin should move with the helmet when moved side to side. The fit can sometimes be improved by sizing pads that often come with the helmet.
- Never let a child ride a skateboard or scooter near traffic.
- Homemade ramps and jumps constructed by children at home can be dangerous, so encourage your children to ride their skateboards in skateboard parks, such as the one located in Bartling Park.
- Most skateboard injuries occur due to falls. Young children do not yet have the physical skills and thinking ability a person needs to control a skateboard and ride it safely. The AAP recommends children younger than 8 should be closely supervised while skateboarding and inexperienced skateboarders should ride only as fast as they can slow down.
- Teach your child slowing and turning techniques as well as how to fall down safely.