We hear parents all the time telling their kids that they can’t skateboard because they’ll hurt themselves. As the mom of 2 boys (ages 7 and 8), I get it. You don’t want to purposefully give your children something they can hurt themselves on. It’s our job to protect them!
The strange thing is that nobody bats an eye when you give your kid a basketball, so why the bad rap for skateboards? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Skateboarding averages 20 injuries per 1,000 participants. Basketball comes in at a whopping 224 injuries per 1,000 participants.
Minimizing the Risks
Now, don’t get me wrong, skateboarding still poses plenty of risks and it’s still very important to always wear a helmet and pads, as well as making sure you are allowing your kids to skateboard in an appropriate place. Start with a flat surface, free of any cracks, pebbles, or unevenness and away from traffic. Once your child has the handle on pushing and balancing, skate parks are an awesome place to work on your skills.
Skateboard Helmets & Pads:
Make it a no-wiggle-room-rule that your kids MUST wear their helmet and pads if they are going to skateboard. It’s so important in helping minimize injury to have a well fitted helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist pads. You can visit a local skate shop to get your child fitted with all of the protective gear they’ll need to start skating. It’s a rarity to see someone *without* a helmet these days (and it’s usually an adult).
Skateboards for Kids:
A correctly sized skateboard is another way to help minimize injuries and make it easier to learn. A smaller deck makes it easier to balance and steer. You wouldn’t teach your kids to ride a bike using your old bicycle, right? Same idea with a skateboard. Using a deck sized for adults means your kid is going to try and control a huge, heavy skateboard vs. one fitted proportionally to their smaller frame and weight.
Spending time in skateboarding lessons will not only encourage your child to learn the sport, but also to learn very important lessons on falling properly. Learning how to fall so you minimize the impact and reduce your risk of injury is so important. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of falling with skateboarding! It’s also one of the best parts of the sport. Teaching your kids to stick with things even when they don’t go perfectly. They are going to fall, and get discouraged, but they will get up and try again.
A few more falling tips:
- Teach your kids to fall on the meatier parts of their body instead of their arms and hands. Wrist guards are great for protecting hands and wrists, but you shouldn’t teach them to use their hands to break their fall. It’s more of a protective measure while they learn how to fall properly.
- Teach them to crouch if they begin to feel unstable or off balance. They won’t have as far to fall!
Skateboarding isn’t so scary after all!
Sports come with the risk of injury, and that is unavoidable. Short of wrapping our kids in bubble wrap and sticking them in front of a screen, there is no activity that will keep them 100% safe, all of the time. Skateboarding is an awesome way for kids to stay active, parents to spend time with their kids, and to teach them about getting back up after they fall down!