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After a lot of begging and against your better judgment, you purchased your teen a new skateboard and he can't wait to get out and use it. Now you're worried he's going to get hurt.
Contrary to some parents' opinion, skateboarding can be a safe and enjoyable activity. But without proper precautions, it also can lead to everything from minor abrasions to traumatic brain injury.
In 2015, 125,145 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms after being injured skateboarding. More than half of those injured were ages 14 to 24, and about one-third were between the ages of 5 and 14, according to
Injury Facts 2017, the annual statistical report on unintentional injuries produced by the National Safety Council.
While the number of injuries caused by skateboarding is somewhat high – basketball, bicycling and football rank in the top three, skateboarding comes in eighth – making sure your child has the proper safety gear can make all the difference.
Newcomers to the sport account for one-third of the injuries. But, even experienced skateboarders fall – a lot. They most frequently are injured in falls caused by rocks and irregular surfaces. Wrists usually get the brunt of the damage with sprains or fractures, but "swellbows," or swollen elbows, also are not uncommon.
National Safety Council offers some suggestions to help keep skaters safe:
Did you know that falling is an art? If done properly falling doesn't have to result in serious injury.
Children younger than 5 should not skateboard at all, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, and children younger than 10 should not skateboard without adult supervision.
While neighbors don't always agree, the AAP advocates for more skateboarding parks in communities.
Skate parks are preferred to home-constructed ramps and jumps, and are more likely to be monitored, the AAP writes. They also are most often set back from pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
For parents who still aren't stoked about their skateboarding kids, here is some more information about
skateboarding safety from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Helmets must meet federal safety standards and should fit securely. This National Highway Traffic Safety Administration video provides tips on how to properly fit a helmet.