Skateboarding Safety 101
Skateboarding can be an infinite source of fun for kids craving to travel at faster speeds, lose contact with the ground from time to time, and experience higher adrenaline levels. In the urban environment, skateboarding can be the ultimate expression of freedom and nonconformity. Children of all ages fall in love with skateboarding, leaving their parents to worry for their safety. We will explore a few ideas to help your kids skate safely as well as share skateboard safety tips that everyday skateboarders can use.
1. Don’t Worry as Much
Let’s face it: The mind of a loving and caring parent is the perfect generator of worst-case scenarios. From a parent’s point of view, the streets are packed with careless drivers, bad road signs, and hard surfaces, all conspiring against the well-being of their child. However, embracing this mentality can in fact work against safety and promote fear. It is a known truth that the fear of doing things wrong can prevent us from doing them in the first place. Learning how to skate safely is very similar to learning how to drive. The more you do it, the better your reflexes and intuitions become. Don’t restrict your kids to skating only in your front driveway. Instead, allow space to explore. Being put face to face with real life scenarios and challenges will allow every child to develop a sense of self-preservation and be better equipped for the future.
2. Yes, Wear A Helmet!
This advice is timeless, but is worth mentioning again and again. According to Stanford Children’s Health, only 1/4 of all children under 14 wear helmets, despite the fact that helmets can be the difference between life and death. You cannot stress enough to your child how important it is to wear a helmet. Skateboarding is all about keeping balance and when you fail to do so, the warm embrace of gravity awaits. Of course, plain and simple helmets are considered by most kids “not cool” enough to wear, but you can counteract this very easily. Helmets with custom designed stickers can be an object your kid wears with pride and will never leave at home. In fact, read our post about how to get your kids to wear a helmet for more ideas!
Not only is the head exposed to trauma from falling off a skateboard, other parts of the body can also be subject to injury. Additional equipment like knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards are very effective in preventing sprains, dislocations, or bruises. Again, you will probably face opposition from your children, so try to make the whole process of transforming them into street warriors as fun as possible.
3. Use the Right Shoes
We’ve talked about protective gear but it’s easy to neglect the most important part about skateboard safety. Choosing the right pair of shoes for your kids to wear while skateboarding can sometimes prove to be a daunting task in terms of safety. Exclude from the beginning anything which is not close-toed, like sandals or slippers. Pay special attention to the material and quality of the sole because it needs to provide an optimal interface between the skateboard and the person riding it, delivering enough friction. Vans are considered the ‘classic’ skate shoe, and while expensive, are known for their high quality. Special shops dedicated to skateboarding are the best place to help you make an educated decision. Convince your kid to try a couple of pairs until a perfect fit is found.
4. Maintain Your Ride
In terms of skateboarding, the board is the equivalent of a vehicle. Constant maintenance and repairs are needed to ensure proper functioning. Look for any problems like slippery surfaces, sharp edges, or cracks in the deck. Also, if it’s required, get professional help to repair serious defects. Pass the repair knowledge on to your children. By knowing what might go wrong with the board and what to expect when it happens, your kid will stay on the safe side.
5. Control the Fall
Failure is part of any success story so don’t expect your kids to always land on their feet. The most any person can do is minimize the risk of injury. There are a couple of tricks on how to ‘control’ the fall in order to reduce pain and injury that you should share with your children. For example, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggest that landing on more “fleshy” parts of the body is better than landing directly on the bones. Another great way to reduce the effects of impact is to lower your body as soon as you lose your balance.
Here's a great video to learn how to fall safely:
6. The Beginner Effect
According to the Consumer Protection Safety Council, about a third of total injuries happen within the first few weeks of a child’s first time skateboarding. Therefore, learning proper technique and building a solid foundation can significantly help a skater’s chances of not getting injured. It is important to know how to completely stop, turn corners, and slow down. In addition, like learning how to play the piano, one shouldn’t try to do the complex tricks until the basic skills are mastered. Practice is definitely key. In a safe environment, where surfaces are smooth and cars are not in sight, kids can learn quickly and safely.
There is no magical solution for guaranteeing 100% skateboard safety. Nevertheless, following the above recommendations will increase the safety of your children and make you feel less worried when your young ones are hitting the streets. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or a particular safety tip that you use with your children. We would all benefit from the knowledge!
About The Author:
Yogin Patel is a serial entrepreneur who currently attends Arizona State University. At the age of 16, Yogin became an independent marketing consultant, along with an avid blogger and online marketer. In the past year, Yogin has worked with several small businesses, including local restaurants, hotels, and personal brands. He builds clean websites, ranks businesses on the first page of Google, and manages social media for brands. In his free time, Yogin likes to read thought-provoking books and play basketball with friends. To learn more about Yogin, or to get in touch with him, go to YoginPatel.com, or add him on his LinkedIn. Yogin blogs at Doolid.com.