Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Safe Skateboarding Tips for Teen Boys

As my boys grow older, they have been asking for a skateboard. Honestly, I just see a ton of ER visits is the future, and I'm just not ready to let them loose on a skateboard. But, I know the day is inevitable, and, at some point, they will be up and riding. Although we have a few more years to go before we hit the teen years, I thought I'd cover some basics for any mothers who may already be in this boat.

Teach Your Teen About the Proper Safety Precautions to Take While Skateboarding

Skateboarding is a great activity, but injuries can and most likely will occur unless proper safety is practiced. Every year, emergency rooms treat approximately 40,000 skateboarding related injuries, with most patients under the age of 25. A large portion of reported injuries could have been easily prevent if the skateboarders were properly protected. If your son starts to develop an interest in skateboarding, you should sit down to have a talk with them about proper safety and precautions before they begin to skateboard.

Talking to your child about the risks of skateboarding unprotected, discuss the safety precautions they need to take, and why it's important they use them. Explain any rules you may set in regards to skateboarding and discuss the consequences they will face if they break the rules or are found not to be skateboarding safely. If you catch them doing either of these two things, make sure you follow through with the consequences. By doing so, it will help to teach them that safety is an important aspect of skating and the rules must be followed.

Choosing the Right Gear
Talk to your child about proper safety gear and explain to him that he's required to wear the gear at all times while skating. Whether your child is just doing light skating or if they are interested in performing tricks, a higher quality of protective gear may be necessary. The basic protective gear that should be worn includes a helmet, wrist guards, and elbow and knee pads. These will help to protect your child from broken bones and decrease the severity of possible injuries.

Make sure your child's helmet fits properly. If the helmet is too loose or too big it will not stay in position to properly protect them from a head injury. The bottom edge of the helmet should be parallel to the ground and the helmet should be flat against their head. Make sure the helmet does not move when your child shakes his head.

When purchasing your child's skateboard, you're going to want to pick one that is ideal for their interest in skating. Some skateboards are designed for a certain weight range, so you'll want to pay attention to that. There are three basic styles of skateboards for the different styles of skating. You will need to discuss with your child which style they think will be best for them: freestyle, speed, or slalom.

It's important for your child's stability and balance while skating to wear proper skateboarding shoes. They will allow your child to be able to grip the board with their feet properly. Proper shoes will help to eliminate ankle injuries, also.

Besides all the protective gear, your child should also check their shoelaces to make sure they are tied before skating. This will lower the risk for them tripping on the laces, the laces becoming caught on something, or even entangled in the wheels.

Safety Tips
Talk to your child about not holding onto moving objects, such as vehicles, to skate faster. This is commonly called "skitching." Explain to them how dangerous it is using examples of what could happen.

Discuss with your child about the importance of only skateboarding on smooth, flat surfaces. Explain to them the dangers of skating in areas with bumps, potholes, and debris, which can cause them to fall. By talking with your child about safety and risks, you'll encourage them to make the right choice while not under your supervision.

Other Important Tips to Remember
  • Do not skate in traffic, whether it is high in vehicles or pedestrians. 
  • Do not allow them to skate in the street because they may not be seen and be hit by a car. 
  • Explain to them that they need to stay out of parking lots and anywhere else cars may pass through.
Things to Consider
You may want to limit your child to only skateboard while it is light outside. A driver's ability to spot your child skateboarding is higher during the day. Also, your child's visibility is increased and they can see obstacles in their path, allowing them time to react faster.

If you decide to allow your child to skate at night, make them to wear light colored clothing, which will be easier for others to see in the dark. You may be able to attach reflection slickers to your child's shoes or skateboard to also increase the likeliness of them being seen at night.

You may not want to let your teen skate alone. If they are by chance injured and unable to get help on their own having a buddy there just in case may save their life. The other person will be able to call 911 if necessary or run to get help, which can save precious time if you child should be seriously injured.

As long as proper safety precautions are taken and you talk with your child about the precautions, skateboarding can be a great activity for them. Wearing the proper gear will lower your risk of having to make a much dreaded visit to the emergency room because of an injury that could have easily been prevented.

What is your stance on your children skateboarding?

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