No matter where you live, in the city or in a rural location I'm sure you'll have seen skateboarders performing tricks and jumps. Skateboarding is extremely popular with many youngsters, especially teenage males but it's not without its dangers.
Responsible use of skateboards and wearing the correct safety equipment can help reduce the risk of injury and accidents to skateboarders and to members of the public.
Reducing the RisksSkateboarding is not recommended for young children under the age of six. Youngsters under this age don't have the physical skills or speed of thought needed to control a skateboard.
- Children under five should never ride a skateboard, even under supervision.
- Children between the ages six to ten should only be allowed to ride under supervision from an adult or responsible adolescent.
- Young children are often injured severely when skateboarding.
- They have a high centre of gravity and find balancing difficult. This can lead to children falling frequently and likely to cause injury to their heads.
- Young children have slower reactions than adults.
- Children have less coordination.
- Young children are less able to break their falls.
- Young children overestimate their skills, have less fear and lack experience in judgement regarding traffic and pedestrians and other potentially serious situations.
PreventionYou are at risk from serious injury when you lose control of the board, or fall.Losing control can mean running into cars, traffic, pedestrians, and other skateboarders leading to nasty accidents. Sixty percent of all skateboard injuries involve children under the age of fifteen. Most of the injuries picked up are by boys and inexperienced riders.
Some of these accidents and injuries can be avoided if:
- You always wear protective clothing. Helmet, wrist guards, elbow and need pads, and appropriate footwear. Experienced riders who are performing tricks should wear heavy duty gear.
- Don't skate near traffic.
- Don't jump or do tricks on home-made ramps.
- Keep your skateboard in good condition.
- Check your skateboard regularly for any faults or wear. Check for any sharp edges on metal boards, cracked or broken wheels, any broken chipped or cracked parts.
- If you're a beginner don't skate on uneven or irregular surfaces.
- Don't try tricks that are well beyond your level of skill.
- Don't skate too fast in dangerous or crowded locations.
- Use a quality skateboard.
- Boards with shorter decks are better for beginners as they are easier to handle.
- Learn how to ride the skateboard properly.
- Learn the proper techniques and skills.
- Learn how to stop safely.
- Learn how to fall safely. By crouching down when you are losing your balance, you have less distance to fall. Try to learn to relax when falling, and to land and roll on the more fleshy parts of the body, rather than sticking out your hands to break your fall, which can result in broken limbs.
- Wear a properly fitting helmet.
- Make sure your helmet doesn't interfere or restrict your vision or hearing.
- Replace your helmet when it gets damaged.
- Replace your helmet when you outgrow it.
- Replace your helmet at least every five years no matter what kind of condition it's in. Some manufacturers recommend changing helmets sooner, so be aware of the manufacturer's guidelines.
- Skate in a supervised park whenever possible.
- Check the area for stones; glass etc before starting to skateboard.
- Don't skateboard in wet weather.
- Never hold onto the rear of a vehicle to get towed along when riding your skateboard. You could fall under the vehicle or be thrown into oncoming traffic.
- Don't use headphones while skateboarding. It's important you can hear traffic or warning shouts.
- Never have more than one person on a skateboard at anytime.
- Be considerate of other skateboarders and members of the public.
- Have fun, but don't take risks!