Wheel Sport Safety in School Children

Inline Skating Image - Masterfile

Wheel sports (e.g., bicycling, inline skating, skateboarding) can be a good way for your school-age child to get exercise and enjoy the outdoors. However, choosing the right equipment and taking proper safety precautions are essential to help prevent injury. Always provide adequate supervision, especially to children under 8 years of age, when they participate in any wheel sport.

If an older child shows an interest in a wheel sport, ask the child's pediatrician for sources to help him or her learn as much as possible before investing in expensive equipment and contact your local police or recreation department for advice concerning applicable laws in your community. Stores that specialize in sporting gear often have personnel who are knowledgeable about wheel sports and are trained in the proper fitting of safety equipment.

Secondhand safety equipment may not offer optimal protection. If you receive or purchase secondhand bikes, skates, or scooters for your school-age child, always check for recalls by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission (Toll-free Consumer Hotline: 800.638.2772 or TTY 800.638.8270).

Child Bike Safety Image - Masterfile

Bicycle Safety for School Children

  • Make sure your school-age child always wears a properly fitted helmet. The helmet should be:
    • Level on head (covering most of forehead)
    • Snug but not too tight
  • Help your child choose a bike that is the correct size:
    • While on the seat, his or her feet should touch ground
    • While standing over bike, there should be 1-4 inches between the rider and top bar
    • Seat should be level from front to back
    • Handlebars should be at same height as seat
  • Before riding on a bike path or road, make sure your school-age child knows the basics:
    • How to stop, turn, and slow down
    • How to slow down near other bikers, pedestrians, and skaters
    • How to say, "passing on your left," when passing others
    • How to obey traffic rules and use hand signals when turning
  • Check to see if a bike safety course is offered in your community.
  • Teach your school-age child to make sure their tires are properly inflated each time they ride.
  • Never allow your child to wear headphones while riding or allow your child to ride double on a bike.
  • Allow your school-age child to ride only in daylight hours and with supervision.

Skateboard Safety Image - Masterfile

Skateboard Safety for School Children

  • Make sure your school-age child wears properly fitted protective gear:
    • Helmet, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads
    • No-slip, closed-toe shoes
    • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Help your child choose the right board for his or her height, weight, and skill level.
  • Inspect the skateboard for loose or broken parts every time it is used.
  • Make sure your child learns the basics:
    • How to turn, slow down, and stop
    • How to fall safely
  • Allow your school-age child to ride only on safe, smooth, designated areas away from traffic.
  • Know what to do in an emergency:
    • Have access to a phone
    • Keep emergency numbers with you

Inline Skate Safety for School Children

  • Make sure your school-age child wears properly fitted protective gear:
    • Properly fitted helmet
    • Wrist guards
    • Elbow and kneepads
    • Gloves
  • Choose skates that offer a good fit and examine skates before every use.
  • Encourage your child to start with a slow 5-minute warm-up.
  • Make sure your school-age child learns the basics:
    • How to stop, turn, slow down, and fall safely
    • How to slow down near bikers, pedestrians, and other skaters
    • How to say, "passing on your left," when passing others
  • Allow your child to skate only on smooth, paved surfaces that are clear of gravel, dirt, sand, and water
  • Do not allow your school-age child to skate on roads.
  • Allow your school-age child to skate only in daylight.

Scooter Safety Image - Masterfile

Child Scooter Safety (non-powered) for School Children

  • Make sure your school-age child wears properly fitted protective gear:
    • Helmet
    • Elbow and kneepads
    • Sturdy, closed-toe shoes
  • Check local laws and regulations.
  • Allow your child to ride only on smooth pavement free of gravel and sand and never allow your school-age child to ride a scooter near traffic.
  • Allow your child to ride only in daylight.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 27 Aug 2008

Last Modified: 05 Oct 2015