Get the right gear for skateboarding

Kids need the right gear for the right sports and skateboarding is no exception. Each year, more than 78,000 kids end up in an emergency room because of a skateboard injury, according to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. To prevent skateboard injuries, Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South, recommends wearing the appropriate gear – helmets, pads and mouth guards.

Susan suggests reading some safety tips from our friends at Safe Kids USA:

Helmets are a must

Every skater should wear a helmet. Wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads are a good idea for everyone, but especially for beginners. Mouth guards are good protection against broken teeth.

Find the right helmet fit

  • Make sure the helmet fits and your child knows how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward, backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Safe Kids recommends kids take the Helmet Fit Test – watch the video here.
  • EYES check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
  • EARS check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • MOUTH check: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.

 Check the gear

  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children under 5 should never ride a skateboard. This might seem overly protective, but a child’s balance and judgment have not fully developed yet, which means a high risk for a serious injury.
  • Buy skates that truly fit in order to make learning easier and safer for your child.
  • Limit skating to bike paths or areas set aside in public parks. Children should ride on smooth, dry surfaces located in a well-lit area away from traffic. Streets should be off-limits, as most in-line skating fatalities involve collisions with motor vehicles.
  • Teach children to minimize the impact of a fall by crouching down as they lose balance to reduce the distance to the surface.
  • Teach kids to check skates and boards for problems before each use. If there are any cracked, loose or broken parts, the item should not be used until it is repaired.
  • Different skates and different boards do different things, so make sure kids have the right gear for their activity.