Both skating and skateboarding are very good exercises that increase agility, coordination, balance, and reaction time. They should not only be a welcome activity for your child to participate in but encouraged – with rules in place!
Know the Risks
With any activity your child does, there are going to be risks associated with it. Skateboarding and skating are no exception to the rule. Each year, over 80,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for skateboarding-related injuries. Many are avoidable.
Injuries can range from very minor to life-threatening. Especially accidents that involve head injuries and collisions with automobiles can have long term effects. Know how to protect your child as much as possible in the event of an accident while also setting rules to follow to prevent them.
First, every skater, no matter their age, size or skill should wear a helmet. Ideally, every skater should also be equipped with wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads as well. Mouth guards can help prevent broken teeth so I’d highly recommend those too!
Teach your children to ride their skateboards or skates on dry, smooth surfaces and only in well-lit areas away from traffic. They should also be taught how to check their skates or skateboard for problems before each ride. Check for cracks, loose or broken parts and do not ride until problems are fixed.
Teach them how to fall. The fact is they will fall at some point, whether by accident, avoiding a collision or simply learning to ride. Teach them to minimize their fall by crouching down if they feel they are starting to lose their balance. This will reduce the distance they fall and minimize their impact.
If possible they should protect their head by shielding it with their arms as this is the most common part of the body that can have life-altering consequences. Concussions and brain injuries can lead to permanent damage, whereas scrapes, bruises, and broken bones will generally heal without long-lasting impact.
After a Fall
If your child does have an accident or falls during their ride, be sure you know the warning signs to watch for to determine if they possibly sustained a concussion. Keep an eye on them for at least a few days.
Read our article, Warning Signs of Concussions in Children and Toddlers to find out what to watch for – and what to do if you suspect they have one.