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For kids, rollerblading falls under the category of extreme sports alongside skateboarding, BMX biking, and snowboarding. Rollerblading is a healthy activity that affords plenty of exercise, but most kids will be willing to take risks while blading. Even those that aren’t need to be well protected. To ensure your child is safe while rollerblading, implement the following safety rules.
Always wear a helmet. Kids may meet this rule with resistance, subscribing to the theory that helmets just aren’t “cool,” but this is a rule you should be clear about. To encourage helmet use, let your child pick out a safety helmet and remind them that even participants in the X-games wear safety gear. Be sure to get a safety helmet that fits your child’s head properly.
Other safety equipment includes knee and elbow pads. Though you should insist on a helmet, you can allow more flexibility with protective pads. They can be cumbersome for some kids and might interfere with their ability to move, but many fractured elbows could be prevented with the use of elbow pads. If your child attempts tricks and jumps frequently or employs their rollerblading ability for street hockey, you should insist on pads.
In addition to the proper safety gear, kids should be aware of traffic laws. Even in residential areas where through traffic is low, kids should be aware of and follow certain safety rules. Teach them not to cross the street from in front of or behind a parked car. If your kids take their music with them, make sure they know not to turn the music up to a level where they cannot hear oncoming cars.
Also talk to your child about “skitching” – a term many kids know well. Skitching involves a rider on rollerblades or a skateboard holding on to the back of a moving car or bicycle. This act is particularly dangerous while rollerblading because the rider can’t simply jump off as with skateboarding. If you don’t want your kids doing it, tell them.
Rollerblading is a fun, healthy form of exercise and should be encouraged with kids. As long as you explain your specific set of safety rules before they venture out, they should be able to participate safely. You may need to discuss other safety measures pertaining to your neighborhood or situation, just make sure you are clear on your rules and the consequences if your child chooses not to follow them.
I don't think children should be allowed to rollerblade with their dogs. As @irontoenail said, the child should know to drop the leash if they feel out of control, but what if the dog runs into the road? Also, what if the child falls or speeds up and the dog gets choked! So I say don't allow your child to do that.
@pleonasm - I think that applies to skateboarding more than roller blading though, just because there are fewer tricks you can do when you are roller blading, so fewer chances that you're going to fall off.
Whereas skateboarding is all about tricks, so kids are more likely to fall.
I think the emphasis with roller blade is more on speed than tricks.
Of course, if your children are interested in roller derby, that's a whole other kettle of fish.
If you take your girls to see it, make sure they don't come away with any ideas about doing anything dangerous.
Or, if they do, make sure they also take note of all the safety equipment that the women who participate in roller derby wear.
One of the benefits of rollerblading and skateboarding and other similar sports activities that I don't think people think about is teaching your kids to be humble.
Inevitably, doing it at all is going to mean they fall over a few times, probably in front of their peers.
But, most kids learn to get back up again. That it's OK to make a mistake and that even if people laugh a little, it's not a big deal. They might even learn the best thing is to laugh at themselves.
I think that's a very important lesson for kids to learn and they often don't get the chance when they don't interact with their peers much outside a classroom.
So, yes, make sure your kid is wearing safety gear, but don't wrap them in cotton wool. You want them to fall down so that they can learn to get back up again.
You also want to make sure your kids are careful if they decide to take the dog for a walk while on roller blades.
I know they see it on TV all the time, a kid letting the dogs pull him along by the leash and it does look like fun.
But the dog can't understand the way the roller blades work, and won't know not to go off the curb, or over a branch or something else which could stop your child suddenly.
It's probably OK for them to exercise the dog while on roller blades, just make sure they know to drop the leash if they feel at all out of control and make them wear safety equipment
Oh, and make sure they know not to wrap their hand around the lead either. It's all too easy to tie it on, thinking that's a good idea, and to end up stuck when it gets out of control.