Every year kids in the metro Kansas City area wind up in the emergency room following an accident on bicycles, skateboards, or in-line skates.  While kids love to get around on wheels of their own, Kansas City parents would do well to follow a few important safety guidelines before they buy new equipment or let the kids go to play.

Regardless of the choice between a bike, a skateboard, or in-line skates, there is one piece of safety equipment that your child should never be without.  Helmets are a necessary line of defense against head injury, regardless of the choice of recreation. 

Helmets may seem like an expense, but choosing the right helmet can prevent not just a devastating brain injury, but costly doctor and hospital bills as well.  Be sure that you find a helmet suitable for the sport your childwishes to participate in.  Some helmets are for all sports, others are just for bikes.  Helmets should be marked with an approval rating from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Take your child with you to ensure the correct fit.  Helmets should fit snugly but not too tight.  There should be no wobble room around the head.  There should be about two finger widths of space above the eyebrows.  The straps should form a V above the ear and fit well.  Make sure the chin strap fits the child's chin snugly, allowing just enough space to slip a finger in when her mouth is closed.

Road Safety
Especially on bicycles where most injuries occur on the road, observing the rules of the road is a safety essential.  Start teach kids from the time they are very little to obey bike safety rules and traffic laws.  Include the following:

1.      Always stop before moving onto a new road

2.      Look to the left, then right, then back left for traffic

3.      Only enter if the way is clear

4.      Ride with traffic, on the far right of the road

5.      Look behind before turning to the left

6.      Never skate on the road, in-line skates and skateboards should never be ridden on the street

Teach kids to know what different traffic signals mean for a cyclist.  Bright colors will allow the drivers on the road to see your child.  Never allow children to ride in the dark or during inclement weather.  Teach kids to watch for road hazards like uneven pavement or potholes, and how to avoid them.

Skateboards and In-line Skates
For children who love skating around on a skateboard or in-line skates, protective gear is a must.  In addition to a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, shin and wrist guards all offer protection against falls, bumps, bruises and scrapes.  In-line skates should have adequate ankle support and fit snugly.  Make sure kids practice the proper ways to skate, including starting and stopping and maintaining balance.  Children should never skate in the streets, but rather on sidewalks or in designated skate parks. If your child does decides to skate at a designated park, remind him or her that only experienced skateboarders should practice trick skating, and that tricks should be performed only under the watchful eye of a coach or instructor. Kids should never go skitching, or hitch a ride on another skater, bike, or a vehicle, and remind them that skateboards should be used by only one child at a time.  

Has Your Child Been Injured By The Negligence Of Others?

If your child has been injured it's important to speak with an experienced child injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.