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Safety Tips: Inline Skating

Inline skating is good exercise and an excellent off-season training program for hockey and skiing. To stay safe while inline skating, follow these tips.

Safe Inline Skating Gear

Always wear safety gear anytime you go inline skating. Safety gear includes:

  • A helmet. Use a helmet designed specifically for inline skating or skateboarding. These come down lower in the back, toward the base of the skull, for better protection in the event of a backward fall. Be sure that your helmet fits properly. And always fasten chin straps snugly under your chin so the helmet doesn't move around.
  • Skates. They should be comfortable, with good ankle support. To check if skates offer the support you need, feel the plastic of the boot. If you can squeeze it, the material is not strong enough. Always buckle up your skates.
  • Knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. These help prevent scrapes and also cushion the bones in case of a fall.
  • Light gloves. These can keep your fingers safe.
  • A mouthguard. A mouthguard will help protect your teeth and mouth in case of a crash or fall.

Learning to Skate Safely

To prevent injuries while learning to skate:

  • Consider taking lessons from a trained instructor or experienced skater before you try skating on your own. 
  • When first learning to skate, pick an open space, such as empty parking lots, unused tennis courts, or an area of smooth pavement with grass beside it. (The grass will give you a soft place to fall as you learn to skate.)
  • When your skills have advanced a little, try an indoor or outdoor skating rink.
  • When you're comfortable at a skating rink, you can try a skate park or trail.
  • Never try to take on a ramp or bowl until you're a good enough skater to do so safely.

Safe Outdoor Skating

It's important to stay alert while skating outdoors. Don't wear headphones or earbuds or anything else that might make you less aware of your surroundings. While skating, carry a few essentials with you, such as:

  • a form of identification
  • a cellphone
  • a whistle to blow to attract attention if you're hurt or in a situation where you don't feel safe

Other safety tips:

  • Skate during daylight hours.
  • Skate with a friend, if possible.
  • Try to use recreational trails. Avoid sidewalks and roads as much as possible. If you must use roadways, never skate in traffic.
  • Stay to the right when skating on sidewalks, bike paths, and trails. If you're going to pass another person, do so on the left and call out "On your left!" to let them know you're coming.
  • On hot days, bring extra water.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when skating outdoors.
  • Never skate when it's raining or snowing, as this will make surfaces slippery and increase your chances of getting hurt.
  • Never get towed behind a car, bike, or other vehicle. This can lead to serious injuries.

Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date Reviewed: Mar 18, 2019

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