The 4-Safety Program

Wheeled Sports Safety

4-Safety is on a roll with our next topic! We are talking about wheeled sports safety. That’s anything from roller blades to bicycles, scooters to skateboards. Wheeled sports activities are a great way for kids to spend time with friends and family, be active, and learn new skills. But as always, we want to make sure your kids have fun the safe way!

Child on rollerblades
Before your child is ready to hit the pavement, make sure that he or she is wearing a helmet.

Bicycle Safety

When people think about wheeled sports, they often think about bicycles, and for good reason. Every month, 3 out of 4 children in the U.S. spend time riding a bike. However, besides being a popular recreational activity, bicycling is also a popular source of injuries. Bike injuries are the second most common type of athletic and recreational sports injuries, next to basketball.

Safe bicycling starts with choosing the right bike for your child. Make sure you select a bike that fits your child. Don't buy a bike that you’re waiting for your child to grow into. Before each ride, be able to perform a basic bike check: make sure that tires are properly inflated, brakes work, the chain is clean and moves smoothly, and gears shift easily.

No Helmet, No Bike

Before your child is ready to hit the pavement, make sure that he or she is wearing a helmet, and establish this rule: "No Helmet, No Bike!"

The helmet you select for your child should fit just as well as the bicycle. Check out these helmet fit tips to learn the "Eyes, Ears, and Mouth" check for helmet fitting.

Safe bicycling means being visible and predictable. “Visible” includes wearing bright colors, wearing reflective materials at night, and having lights and reflectors on the bicycle. “Predictable” includes using hand signals for turns and stops, obeying traffic rules, and crossing at designated intersections and crosswalks. These rules are especially important for children older than 10 and adults for riding in parks, on bike paths and on streets.

Skateboards, Scooters, and Roller Blades

There’s more to wheeled sports than just bicycling, though. Skateboards, scooters, roller blades, and even hoverboards are all wheeled activities, too. And just like with bicycling, it’s important to remember to always wear a helmet! A bike helmet can be used for both scooting and rollerblading, but only use a skateboarding-approved helmet when skateboarding. All three of these wheeled sports require a little extra protection, too. Be sure to wear wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads.

Keep in mind your child’s age when choosing wheeled sports activities. Rollerblading and skateboarding are not recommended for children 5 and under due to their poor coordination and sense of balance. Even if they are between the ages 6 and 10, make sure to closely supervise your child. Scooters are best for children 8 and up. And hoverboards? They’re not recommended at any age! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has yet to identify a brand of hoverboard that is safe enough for a person to use.

Whichever activity you decide on - skateboarding, rollerblading, or scooting - make sure that your child plays in a safe area that is away from traffic. These areas can include skate parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, and bike paths. Stay away from streets or very crowded areas.  All surfaces involved should be flat, dry, and free of debris.

Did You Know?

  • Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injury by up to 88%. 
    (Source: Safe Kids Worldwide)
  • Every $12 spent on bike helmets for children generates $580 in cost-saving benefits to society. 
    (Source: Safe Kids Worldwide)
  • Foot-powered scooters cause more injuries to kids than any other toy. 
    (Source: Safe Kids Worldwide)
  • You can wear a bike helmet for roller blading and with scooters, but make sure you wear a skateboarding approved helmet when skateboarding. 
    (Source: Rhode Island Hospital)
  • Every 2 minutes a child is treated in an emergency department for a bike-related accident. 
    (Source: National Safety council)
  • Wrist injuries are most common in skateboarding due to frequent falling. 
    (Source: National Safety Council)
  • You can tell roller blades are supportive enough when you can't squeeze the hard plastic with your hand.
    (Source: National Safety Council)

Be sure to check out these links to learn more!

Wheeled Sports Safety Videos

Animated safety tips for youngsters on the rules of safe biking.

What it means to model safe biking practices

A quick rundown of the proper way to fit a bike helmet

How to be a role model

Catchy song about bike safety

CPSC and their study finding on the dangers of scooter for kids

Skateboard safety tips, the rundown