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.