With so many different styles of in-line skating—street /stunt skating, ramp skating, cross training, racing, hockey and recreational—odds are your child will be involved in the sport in some way or another. Here's some tips to keep them safe while they enjoy the fastest growing recreational sport in Canada!
Where to skate
Teach your children to skate only where it's safe and legal. In Winnipeg, it's legal to skate:
- on sidewalks
- on designated roadways in City of Winnipeg parks
- on bicycle paths
- on roadways designated as Bicycle Routes when vehicle traffic is restricted (keep in mind that cars are still allowed on these roads, so your children must be particularly careful)
What to wear
Skaters of all abilities must prepare by wearing the right gear. While in-line skating has a relatively low injury rate compared to other outdoor sports like football and cycling, serious injuries can still occur if you're not in the right gear.
- Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 per cent. We recommend you purchase helmets specially designed for in-line skating. They're safer than bicycle helmets because they provide more protection for the back of the head—skaters tend to fall backwards and cyclists tend to fall forward—hence the difference in design. Make sure your helmet is ASTM, SNELL or ANSI rated.
- Wrist guards distribute the forces of impact during a slide, reducing injury. Teach your children to try to fall forward, and to keep their hands in front of them when they skate.
- Knee and elbow pads distribute the impact of the fall much like wrist guards, and allow your child to slide safely. Instruct your children to drop to their knees if they start to fall (and hold their hands out in front).
Rules of the road
Make sure your children understand and follow these rules:
- always wear protective gear
- master the basics
- keep your equipment in good working order
- skate under control at all times
- watch for road hazards
- avoid water, oil and sand
- avoid traffic
- Obey all traffic regulations. When you're on skates, you must follow the same rules as any wheeled vehicle.
- skate on the right, pass on the left
- tell people where you are; say "passing on your left" as you get closer
- always yield to pedestrians