Skateboarding is a fun sport, but kids can lose their balance and fall. In addition to the risk of fall-related injuries, children can end up with back pain caused by disc injuries or vertebral fractures from the repeated impact of their landings.
Your child needs to take skateboarding seriously, as spinal injuries can be painful. While treatment often involves rest, medications, or physical therapy, a more serious condition may require surgery.
To reduce the risk of injury, your child needs to know all that's involved before stepping on a skateboard.
Injuries don't just happen when your child is skateboarding on uneven surfaces or on the road. Many accidents occur when kids skateboard on ramps or at skating parks. The faster and higher kids go, the more they increase their risk of serious injury, especially if they fall on a hard surface. Repetitive and hard landings also put pressure on the spine.
Inexperience accounts for many skateboard injuries. In fact, kids under the age of 15 account for more than half of skateboard injuries, reports the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Of that number, about a third have been skateboarding for less than a week.
Injuries don't always involve scrapes, sprains, and bruises. Hard falls can lead to serious head, neck, and back injuries.
If you worry about the safety of your child when skateboarding, prevention is key to avoiding skateboard injuries.
Safety gear. Kids who wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads, and wrist guards aren't as likely to get injured when they fall. Children also need to wear sturdy, well-fitted, slip-resistant shoes that will protect their feet and ankles when they skateboard.
Skateboarding barefoot or wearing sandals is dangerous. Athlete shoes with thin rubber soles are safer because they provide grip. Kids can also feel the skateboard, which gives them more control.
Proper use. Safe skateboarding means not taking a friend on board for the ride. Wearing headphones is another risk, as these can get in the way of what kids hear and see in their surroundings.
Your child shouldn't skateboard when it's wet outside and surfaces are slippery. Skateboarding at dusk or at night is dangerous too, since it's harder to see potential hazards. Your skateboarder will also be less visible to others.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not allowing kids under age 5 to skateboard. Children that young can't control a skateboard as they are less coordinated, have slower reaction times, and can't judge their speed accurately.
Awareness of ability. Skateboarding isn't a sport kids learn quickly or easily. It takes practice -- and lots of it. To begin, your child needs to learn basic skateboarding skills, such as how to stop, within a controlled environment and under careful adult supervision.
Injuries often happen when children misjudge their abilities and fail at trying a new stunt. Kids sometimes think their skills are better than they really are, and that can lead to trouble.
The more difficult the stunt, the higher the risk of injury. Therefore, your child needs to get in plenty of practice before trying something new. It's also important for your child to know what could happen if a stunt goes wrong. If your child is experiencing lower back pain, contact a practice such as Valley Chiropractic for more information.