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Skateboarding is an extreme sport, and all extreme sports are associated with a higher level of danger than other sports. That doesn’t mean you should discourage skateboarding or other extreme sports in your family. Just following a few simple safety procedures can reduce your children’s risk of injury while they learn to skate and advance their skills.
Common Skateboarding Injuries
Before you learn how to combat skateboarding injuries, it’s important to understand the injuries that commonly occur among skaters. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than 80,000 people visit the emergency room due to a skateboarding-related accident each year. Skateboarding injuries can be as simple as scrapes or bruises and as severe as concussions or death. The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky stated that most skateboarding related hospitalizations are associated with head injuries.
Find the Perfect Helmet
Everyone should wear a helmet when skateboarding, and with so many cool new styles on the market, your little one probably won’t protest. A bucket-style helmet with a hard-shell exterior and soft interior protects the top, back and sides of the skater’s head.
Never buy a helmet that’s too large or small for your child. The helmet should feel snug but should not apply uncomfortable pressure anywhere on your skater’s head. Make sure your little one always buckles his/her helmet before riding.
Purchase Protective Gear
Equip your little skater with protective gear that will prevent fractures and other painful injuries. Wrist guards, kneepads and elbow pads help reduce the risk of injuries on land and in skateboard parks. Many skate parks require that riders wear a helmet, kneepads and elbow pads at all times. Show your kids how to properly wear their safety gear before they head to the park.
Teach Your Child How to Fall
Falls are inevitable in skateboarding, whether your kid is a novice or an expert rider. Teaching your child how to fall correctly can reduce the chance of injury from those falls. Instruct your child to get as low on the board as possible when expecting to fall not to use his hands to break the fall, even while wearing wrist guards. Tell your skater to tuck in the elbows and roll onto the back or a shoulder instead. Practicing falling on grass or another soft surface can prepare your skater for falls on the street or at the skate park.
Show Your Child Where to Ride
Where your little one rides is just as important as the safety gear he or she wears. Beginner skaters should stay clear of roads and practice their skills in a driveway or parking lot under parental supervision. Teach your child to ride on smooth pavement and to get off the board whenever traffic is nearby. Help your little one assess the skating area by searching for bumps, rocks, holes or other obstacles before riding. Showing your child the proper places to skate can prevent painful falls and serious injuries — including collisions with people, objects or vehicles.
Teach a Safety Mindset
Staying safe as a skater is a mindset your kids can develop and keep with them through years of skating. Teach your little one to be aware of his or her capabilities. Skaters often try to push themselves to advance too quickly, which can result in painful or severe injuries. Instruct your kids to take a break whenever they feel tired from skateboarding and to ease into new tricks slowly. In his instructional skateboarding video, “Show Me The Way,” professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek explained that most of his skateboarding injuries resulted from pushing too far when he was already tired.
Don’t let the risks of skateboarding hold you back from encouraging your little one to skate. Simply prepare your child with all the proper skateboarding safety gear and a mindset that’s geared toward safety, and you’ll enjoy watching his or her skills advance over the years.
This article was provided by the staff at Windward Boardshop, which has been in the snow, skate, surf-sup scene since 1982. We specialize in everything snowboarding, skateboarding, longboarding, stand-up paddle and swimwear.