Appointments

866.320.4573

Submit a Form

Questions

800.223.2273

Submit a Form

Live Chat hours:  M-F 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. ET

Expand Content

In-line Skating and Skateboard Safety

Cleveland Clinic Children's Infographics

In-line Skating

What is in-line skating?

In-line skating (rollerblading) has become a very popular sport for many children because it is exciting and fun. The skates usually have four wheels that are aligned vertically on each skate. In addition, the right skate has a break pad or "stopper" located at the back of the skate.

How do I prevent injury when in-line skating?
  • Always wear a helmet, elbow pads, kneepads, gloves, and wrist guards when skating. • Buy skates that are durable and have proper ankle support.
  • Skate slowly for five minutes to warm up your muscles to prevent injury.
  • When skating, make sure your knees are bent to keep your balance.
  • If you have trouble stopping, practice stopping before you start to skate.
  • Avoid skating in the street to prevent a serious accident.
Maintain your skates
  • Just as the tires of a car should be rotated so too should your skate wheels. Rotate your wheels every three to four times after skating so that they wear evenly.
  • Clean your wheels. Also make sure your wheels are tightened and are not blocked by debris or grass.
  • Check the break pad on the back of your right skate before each skate to make sure that it is not in need of replacement.

Skateboarding

How do I prevent injury when skateboarding?
  • Always wear a helmet, elbow pads, kneepads, gloves, and wrist guards when skateboarding. Padded jackets and shorts are also available for skateboarders.
  • Always wear closed-toe and slip-resistant shoes when skateboarding.
  • Inspect your skateboard for any signs of damage before each ride. Look for loose, broken or cracked parts, wheels with nicks and cracks, or any other problems that need repair. Have serious defects professionally repaired.
  • Only one person at a time should ride a skateboard.
  • Never "catch a ride" by holding on to the back of a bicycle, car, or other vehicle.
  • Practice your tricks and stunts in an area reserved only for skateboarders.
Is there a correct way to fall to minimize my chance of injury when skating or skateboarding?
  • If you lose your balance, try to be as low to the ground as possible so your fall is short and less painful.
  • As you hit the ground, try to roll as you fall to prevent your arms from taking all of the pressure of your weight in the fall.
  • Finally, if you feel you are going to fall, try to stay calm and relaxed. Do your best not to stiffen your body or "brace" yourself for the fall.
"Rules of the Road" for both in-line skaters and skateboarders

Whether your preferred sport is in-line skating or skateboarding, the same precautions about sporting in multi-use areas – multipurpose tracks, paths, trails, walkways, and the street – apply.

  • Before entering a pathway, stop. Look left, right, and left again to check for oncoming traffic (cars, other skaters, dogs, pedestrians).
  • If the pathway is clear, it’s okay to enter.
  • Always skate on the right side of the sidewalk, path, or road. Always ride WITH the traffic.
  • Pass on the left and warn others that you are passing so an accident does not occur.
  • Wear bright-colored clothes.
  • Obey all traffic signals and stop signs.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings. Be on the lookout for uneven or rough pavement, curbs, or other surface problems such as cracks, potholes, patches of grass, debris, or puddles of water. Be conscious that other skaters, bicyclists, joggers, pedestrians, children, and dogs using your pathway might make unexpected movements.
  • Avoid skating at night. If you do choose to skate at night, wear reflective clothing and clip on two flashing bicycle lights, one in front on your helmet and the other on the backside of your waist.
  • It’s best NOT to skate with headphones. These can block out sounds you might need to hear.
References:

© Copyright 1995-2013 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

Can't find the health information you’re looking for?

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/26/2013...#9848