When your child is in a rush to get out on their board to start learning how to grind and flip, it can be really easy to totally forget about the fact that once they’re on the move, a slight miscalculation can cause the sort of injury that means they won’t be back on their deck anytime soon. Sure, they aren’t going to be running like Kyle Wester and bombing down a hill at nearly 90MPH, but the simple fact is that even the most innocuous of tumbles can end up causing catastrophic injury if they aren’t adequately protected.
Skateboards can slip out from under your feet. When that happens, there’s nothing between the skater and the ground other than air. Oh, and gravity is rapidly going to take that air out of the equation, meaning a hard bump on the ground and potentially a visit to the ER.
With this in mind, no matter how confident your kid is about their skating ability, you have to take preventative measures and to try to keep them as safe as possible, so they can carry on skating long into the future.
A Skateboard Helmet is Essential…
The first and most important thing that needs to be protected is the head. Above and beyond all other safety equipment, a helmet is an absolute requirement. They probably won’t like it, but just ask them when they last saw a professional boarder skating without headgear.
Deciding to get a lid is only part of it, though. You need to make sure that the helmet fits correctly. The video below will give you an idea of how to take your measurements to ensure that you get the right helmet for the job.
They aren’t all the same, and there’s barely any point in putting a helmet on if it’s going to slip off when your kid busts their first 360 kickflip off the front porch steps.
Run through the following safety checklist each and every time your child puts their helmet on. It won’t take long for it to become second nature and they’ll be doing it themselves!
Checking the Fit of a Skateboard Helmet
- A skateboard helmet should sit on top of the skater’s head and it should be level, rather than pointing up or back.
- A helmet that rocks back, forward, or side-to-side is not good. It goes without saying that the chinstrap shouldn’t be buckled too tightly but if the helmet is shifting all over the place, it’s either too big, or not strapped tightly enough.
- When correctly fitted, the child should be able to see the bottom rim of the helmet when they look up. It should be roughly one to two finger-widths above their eyebrows.
- The helmet straps should form a “V” shape under the ears.
- When the child opens their mouth wide, they should be able to feel the helmet hug the top of their head. If it doesn’t, it’s too loose.
Other Safety Equipment:
While skateboard helmets are essential, people often overlook the other kinds of protection that are available for young skaters. Wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads are a great idea for all skateboarders, but are a definite must for beginners and younger skaters. Not only will they protect against impact injuries, but they’ll also stop minor cuts and prevent painful grazes when the rider falls off, which they undoubtedly will do at least few times when they’re learning.
A mouth guard may seem a little like overkill, but there’s no arguing that a good sports mouthguard will help to prevent broken teeth if your child takes a bad spill. That is not something that you want for your kid. Also, if you are looking for equipment that will help your child have more fun in skating then you can find them right here.
I’m sure you won’t regret it.
As well as basic safety equipment, there are some simple tips that you can follow to help your child to stay safe as they level up their boarding skills.
- Test Their Skills – Make sure your little skater knows how to use the equipment that they have. If they’re learning on a streetboard for example, show them how to ensure the foot straps are secured. Make sure they know that the buckle on their chinstrap should be flat to their skin and that the straps themselves shouldn’t be twisted.
- Get The Right Board Size – There are a range of sizes of skateboard available, from 6.5” wide micro decks for kids aged 5 and under, to 7.5” wide full-size adult boards. A board that’s too big will be harder to control and therefore less safe.
- Only Skate in Safe Areas – Checking the safety equipment, wearing a helmet, and getting the right-sized board will mean nothing if they’re going to go and skate on uneven paths that contains broken or cracked paving. Well-lit, smooth surfaces that are away from traffic are the way to go.
- Teach Them How To Fall – When you fall from a skateboard, crouching down as you hit that point when you know you’re going to fall will reduce the distance to the ground. Less distance to the ground means that there’s less chance of injury when you get there. Learning how to fall is an essential part of learning how to skate.
- Equipment Check – Checking for cracked, loose, or otherwise broken parts when it comes to the trucks, the wheels, or even the board itself, will ensure that accidents are less likely to happen.
- Be There – It should be obvious, but if your child is very young and is learning to skate, you should pay attention when they’re skating. Put that phone in your pocket and ignore it. You should act as a spare pair of eyes and ears, as opposed to just being the transport that gets them to the skate park.
With these tips in mind, your kid can hit the ramps and start learning the ropes without undue risks. The next thing you know, they’ll be competing in the X-Games!