Whether you’re headed for a half-pipe or your driveway, always be safe. Wearing protective gear and taking a few precautions can help prevent you from landing in the ER.
: Always wear protective clothing, including a helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, kneepads, and appropriate footwear. Skateboarding is not recommended for children under the age of 6, and children between the ages of 6 and 10 should only be allowed to ride with adult supervision.
Step 1: Make sure you’re comfortable with your board. Smaller skaters usually use shorter, narrower boards to give them better control.
Step 2: Give your skateboard a good once over: check the deck – the wood board you stand on; trucks – the metal hardware that attaches the wheels to the deck; the wheels; and grip tape to make sure everything is in working order.
Step 3: The most important piece of safety gear is your helmet. It should fit snugly but comfortably, and should never block your vision or hearing. Always remember to buckle the chin strap.
TIP: Make sure the helmet sits flat on your head – it may not properly protect you if it’s tilted back.
Step 4: Wear knee and elbow pads, especially if you plan on doing tricks. Even when you’re just skating around your neighborhood, they offer great protection.
Step 5: Don't forget wrist guards. These special gloves feature plastic or metal splints that run along the undersides of your wrists and palms. The extra support helps keep you from breaking your wrists in the event of a fall.
TIP: Even with wrist guards on, don't catch yourself with your hands when you take a tumble. When you fall, always roll into your shoulder to better absorb the momentum.
Step 6: Wear proper shoes. Footwear should be closed-toe and slip-resistant.
Step 7: Use common sense. Make sure your skating surface is smooth and free of rocks and debris. Don’t stop in front of other skaters, and stick to skateboard parks or other familiar areas. Alleys, streets, and unfamiliar spots may have uneven terrain or too much traffic. Remember: your safety and the safety of those around you is your responsibility.
FACT: Each year there are more than 70,000 skateboarding accidents treated in U.S. emergency rooms.