Hector loves to skateboard and he is really good at it! The instructor, who teaches the skateboarding class at the community center, has Hector demonstrate skateboarding.
Hector is smart and so are his parents. Before he tried using the skateboard he got for his birthday last year, he took a class on how to be safe and have fun skateboarding. Now he helps other kids to learn what he learned in class last year.
The instructor begins each class by going over the need for safety when skateboarding. He reminds parents and children that as much fun as skateboarding can be, it can also cause accidents if you don’t know what you are doing and are not wearing safety gear.
Here is what he shares:
Children under age 5 years old should never ride a skateboard.
Children aged 6 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult when they ride a skateboard.
Wear proper protective equipment
Before getting on your skateboard, empty your pockets of all hard and sharp objects and put on your protective gear.
Aways wear your gear whether or not you are simply going from one point to another or attempting a new trick or not.
Wear your gear every trip, every trick, every time. Essential protective equipment includes:
A properly fitting helmet
Knee and elbow pads
To protect your head from injury, always wear a properly fitting helmet. This is true no matter what your age, level of experience or location where you are skateboarding.
Get a quality bicycle or multi-sport helmet. It should meet or exceed safety standards of the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or Snell Memorial Foundation. You may need to try on several sizes and models to find a helmet that fits your head correctly and securely.
A properly fitting helmet:
- Is worn flat on your head with the bottom edge parallel to the ground
- Sits low on your forehead but does not interfere with your movement, vision or hearing
- Has side straps that form a “V” shape around each ear
- Has a buckle that fastens tightly (there should be room to put only two fingers between the strap and your chin)
- Has pads inside that you install or remove so the helmet fits snug
- Does not move in any direction when you shake your head in any direction
- Replace your helmet when it is damaged, outgrown or at least every five years. You may need to replace it sooner if the manufacturer recommends it.
How to Fall
Learning how to fall may help reduce the chances of a serious injury. If you are losing your balance, crouch down on the skateboard so that you will not have as far to fall.
Tips for Using a Skateboard
- Give your skateboard a safety check each time before you ride.
- Never ride in the street.
- Obey the city laws. Observe traffic and areas where you can and cannot skate.
- Don’t skate in crowds of non-skaters.
- Don’t skate on another person’s or business’ private property.
- Only one person per skateboard.
- Never hitch a ride from a car, bicycle, etc (skitching).
- Learn to fall—practice falling on a soft surface or grass.
After the instructor finishes talking about safety, Hector demonstrates putting on gear, how to check out the skateboard before using it, the proper way to skateboard and how to fall. Then the instructor invites the class to try skateboarding.
At the end of the class, the instructor reminds kids to, “Practice safety, wear gear, only skate with adult supervision and you will have fun skateboarding”!
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The National Safety Council offers these skateboarding tips: