Skateboard injuries are on the rise. For
those who live around the city, we've all seen skateboarders zip
around us, seemingly coming out of nowhere, and vanishing just
the same. Some ride their skateboards with the utmost of caution,
others with reckless abandon. No matter which style the youngster
adheres to, injuries are always a likely possibility.
An estimated 50,000 skateboard injuries
are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year. These figures
do not include motorized skateboards or inline skates, which present
their own types of issues and statistics.
Skateboard injuries come in several common types, including head
and neck injuries, arms and legs, hands and feet, and other blunt
force trauma caused by vehicle collisions. Children under 5 years
of age experience a disproportionate amount of head injuries mostly
because they tend to have high centers of gravity and have limited
abilities to break falls using their extremities. This is why
the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 5
or under should not use skateboards at all. They additionally
recommend that children 6 - 10 only use skateboards under close
The National Safety Council recommends the use of protective
gear, such as closed, slip-resistant shoes, helmets, and specially
designed padding for elbows, knees and hands. This protective
gear may not fully prevent injury but will lessen the severity
of the skateboard injuries.
The National Safety Council offers the following skateboarding
1. Give your board a safety check each time before you ride.
2. Always wear safety gear.
3. Never ride in the street.
4. Obey the city laws. Observe traffic and areas where you can
and cannot skate.
5. Don't skate in crowds of non-skaters.
6. Only one person per skateboard.
7. Never hitch a ride from a car, bicycle, etc.
8. Don't take chances; complicated tricks require careful practice
and a specially-designated area.
9. Learn to fall-practice falling on a soft surface or grass.
The Council recommends that children who ride skateboards learn
how to fall. Teach your child that when they are starting to fall,
crouch down on the skateboard so that they don't have as far to
fall. Also, instruct them that when they fall, to try to roll
and absorb the force of the fall by using their arms as shock
absorbers. Since wrist injuries are the most common skateboard
injuries, make sure your child is wearing protective wrist gear,
especially when first learning. One-third of all skateboard injuries
occur within the first week, so make sure your child is well-equipped
and supervised especially during this time. Irregular and uneven
surfaces account for one-half of all falls, so make sure your
child is skateboarding on even surfaces only.
Not all skateboard injuries may be preventable, but most can
be minimized by wearing protective gear and instilling in the
child safe riding habits.