Are skateboards and hoverboards safe? Injuries from these toys are on the rise

‘Some parents may wonder if skateboards or hoverboards are safe for children, and they need to take precautions to help minimize the risk.’

Pediatric orthopedists in Louisville are seeing more children who are injured from falls on skateboards, hoverboards and other ride-on toys. “Some parents may wonder if skateboards or hoverboards are safe for children, and if families choose to buy them, they need to take precautions to help minimize the risk for injuries,” said Laura K. Jacks, M.D., pediatric orthopedic surgeon with Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.

Are skateboards and hoverboards safe?

Skateboards and hoverboards have prompted thousands of visits each year to emergency rooms nationwide. The most common injuries include fractures, bruises and sprains. While injuries most commonly involve the wrists, riders also hurt their forearms and heads during accidents and falls.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a study, “Pediatric Hoverboard and Skateboard Injuries,” warning of the risks associated with riding these two types of toys. According to the AAP, kids younger than 5 years old should not skateboard. Kids between the ages of 6 to 10 can skateboard, but only with an adult watching. Parents should use discretion before allowing a child to use a hoverboard.

Skateboard and hoverboard safety tips

Kids should use the toy that’s right for their age and size. Children also need:

  • A well-fitting helmet
    • Multisport helmets are best. Do not let your child ride without a helmet.
  • Wrist guards to support the wrist during falls
  • Knee pads and elbow pads
  • Closed-toe shoes with no-slip soles

Read more: Best way to prevent a brain injury: Wear a helmet

Choose safe places to ride a hoverboard or skateboard:

Norton Children’s Orthopedics of Louisville

Our pediatric orthopedic specialists provide specialized care for growing children and teenagers.

Call (502) 394-5678
  • All surfaces should be checked before riding on them.
  • Kids should skateboard only on surfaces that are smooth, without cracks or debris like garbage or sticks.
  • Only one person should ride on a skateboard or hoverboard at a time.
  • Never hitch a ride from a bicycle, car, truck, bus or other vehicle.

Follow the ‘RICE’ method

If a child experiences a minor injury from a fall, parents can try at-home care in the first 48 hours, before seeing a provider.

For sprains, strains or bruises, families should follow the RICE method:

  • Rest the injury by taking all pressure off the injured limb.
  • Ice the injury for 20 minutes three times per day.
  • Compress the injury by wrapping it snugly with an elastic bandage.
  • Elevate the injury at or above heart level to reduce pain and swelling.

The RICE method is most effective when implemented immediately after an injury takes place.