In its Policy Statement on In-Line Skating Injuries in Children and Adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians provide the following advice to patients and families about in-line skating:
- Evaluate the risks and the benefits. Parents need to understand both the benefits and risks of in-line skating. Children and their parents should appreciate that injuries are particularly common in novice skaters, roller hockey players, and those performing tricks.
- Have your child wear safety gear. Full protective gear needs to be used at all times, including a helmet, wrist guards, kneepads, and elbow pads. The helmet should be certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) , the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Snell Memorial Foundation, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Skaters performing tricks need special heavy-duty protective gear.
- Skate on dead-end streets. If skating takes place on streets, parents, children, and adolescents should use streets that are blocked off or closed to through traffic (e.g. dead-end streets or cul-de-sacs).
- Provide novice skaters a safe place to skate. Special attention should be paid to the needs of novice skaters to avoid injuries. They should skate on an indoor or outdoor rink, rather than a path or street. Inexperienced children should not attempt to do tricks.
- Ban "truck-surfing" or "skitching". This refers to skating behind or alongside a vehicle while the skater holds on to the vehicle. This enables a skater to travel at the same velocity as the velocity of the vehicle. However, it can be very dangerous because the skater cannot slow down fast enough to prevent colliding with the vehicle or being thrown into oncoming traffic or the roadbed if the vehicle suddenly slows, stops, or turns. If the skater falls, his or her enhanced momentum will likely result in a greater force of impact, and consequently, a more severe injury. Several deaths have been caused by skitching.
- Fit the skate to the child. The type and fit of the skates should be carefully considered when they are purchased or rented and should be appropriate for the child's size, ability, and purpose.
- Provide proper training. Skaters need to be trained to react appropriately to debris or defects in the roadway and other rapidly occurring and unpredictable circumstances by learning how to stop quickly and fall safely. Instruction in skating by a teacher certified by the International In-Line Skating Association is recommended.
- Provide a protected environment for those with special needs. Children with large-muscle motor skill or balance problems, and those with any uncorrected hearing or vision deficit, should skate only in a protected environment. Appropriate areas include a skating rink or outdoor area where the skater is either alone or where no motor vehicle or bicycle traffic occurs, or where all other skaters and pedestrians travel in the same direction.