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Inline Skating Safety


Inline skating has become a popular form of exercise that combines traditional roller skating with ice skating by putting the wheels in the center.  This decreases the stability of the skate. Inline skating requires more coordination for the beginner to learn safely. Inline skates, skateboards, and skate skis can reach speeds up to 25 mph.

Common injuries

The most common injury while using inline skates is a fall. This usually results in cuts, scrapes and bruises but can also result in broken bones or head injury.  Inline skates have a very small base of support, so it is common for the novice skater to fall from a standing position.   According to the Consumer Product Safety Board, over 400,000 inline skating and skateboard injuries were medically treated in 2009.    The annual medical cost associated with that treatment was over a billion dollars.

What Can You do to Make Inline Skating Safer?

  • Boots should be snug on the foot but without putting too much pressure in any one spot. 
  • Shop for boots at the end of the day.  Feet tend to change size throughout the day and they are the biggest at the end of the day.
  • When buying boots, have your child wear socks similar to those which will be worn for skating so the fit will be the same.
  • Make sure the heel is in the back of the boot before buckling and that the boot is snug enough that the heel cannot slide forward when skating.
  • Be sure the moving parts on your skates are in good repair.
  • Make sure the skate shell and the buckles are working.
  • Never do home repairs on your skates.
Safety Equipment:
  • Always wear a helmet when using any play equipment where speeds could exceed a fast walk (bike, skis, skateboard, scooter).
  • Wear appropriate wrist guards, knee and elbow pads.
Basic Skills:
  • Warm up before skating to lessen the chance of muscle strain.
  • Learn how to stop.
  • Learn how to fall.
    • Crouch to lower your center of gravity
    • Try to land on fleshy parts of the body (buttocks or thighs rather than elbows or head)
    • Roll when you fall.

Common Sense:
  • Do not use inline skates where there is car traffic.
  • Avoid crowded sidewalks.
  • Maintain a speed which you can easily control.
  • Do not inline skate on wet, sandy or icy surfaces.
  • Never inline skate at dusk, dawn or in the dark.
  • Do not use head phones while inline skating as you may miss a warning yell, horn or siren.
  • Do not hold onto any moving object while inline skating.

More Information

Q:  My child wants inline skates – how do I get the right ones?

When choosing inline skates (new or used):
  • The boot should be well fitting
    • Make sure to try on the skate with socks similar to those that will be worn to skate
    • To be safe, the boot should be snug and supportive, but not tight
    • Try skates at the end of the day when the foot tends to be the biggest
    • Make sure the heel seats fully back in the skate before buckling
  • Inspect the skate for damage
    • The wheels should spin freely
    • The buckles should all be working
    • Never do home repairs or modifications to inline skates

Q:  My child has new inline skates – how can I help my child avoid getting hurt?

Prior to using inline skates unsupervised - teach your child to
  • Wear a well-fitting helmet and safety gear
  • Know how to stop and to fall.  Practice these things in an open, safe environment.
  • Practice with the assistance of a railing or an adult to provide support
  • Crouch to lower the center of gravity, helping with balance and lessening the energy of a fall
  • Fall on the fleshy parts of the body and roll after a fall
When your child is ready to enjoy skating without direct supervision – remind them:
  • Never skate where there is car traffic
  • Announce that you are approaching pedestrians from behind
  • Avoid surfaces unsuitable for skating (grass, sand, gravel, or debris)
  • Never skate with a headset which may block the warning of a horn, siren, or traffic noise
  • Never “skitch” or be pulled behind a bike or vehicle while on skates
  • Don’t skate in poor visibility- rain, dusk, dawn or after dark.

Q:  What type of safety equipment should my child wear to inline skate?

  •  A well-fitting helmet that does not interfere with vision or hearing
  • Wrist guards
  • Knee and elbow pads
  • Long pants and a long sleeved shirt – abrasions are the most common injury from falls