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How Safe Is In-Line Skating?

According to the most recently available statistics compiled by the CPSC, inline skating is actually safer than lots of other sports, as long as a child receives proper instruction and wears all the recommended safety gear:

Types/Frequency/Location Of Injuries

  • 102,911 people required emergency room treatment for inline skating injuries in 1996

  • The number of children ages 5 to 14 treated in emergency rooms due to inline skating related injuries was 29% lower than baseball related injuries reported for the same age group in 1995

  • The injury rate (injuries/skater) for inline skating was 0.356% (3.5 injuries per thousand skaters) in 1996, a slight decrease from 1995.

  • The wrist (24.2% of total) and lower arm (13.5% of total) were the areas of the body most frequently injured

  • Fractures (40.8% of the total) and strains /sprains (21.5% of total) were the most frequent type of injuries

  • 51% of the injuries were considered major/49% minor; most (71%) of wrist injuries were major; of the elbow, head and knee injuries, 48%, 38% and 34% were considered major, respectively.

  • The injury breakdown according to ability level was Novice (10%), Beginner (34%), Intermediate (37%) and Expert (18%)

  • Deaths are rare. Of the 36 fatalities since 1992, the CPSC reports that 31 were the result of a collision with a motor vehicle.

  • The most common locations for a fall were sidewalk or driveway (26%), street (22%), park or bike path (19%)

Most common causes

  • Spontaneous loss of balance (41%)

  • Striking a stationary hazard, usually a defect or debris in the road (40%)

  • Striking a moving object, almost always another skater (11%)

Special risk factors

  • Hazardous road condition (53% cited, 63% as key cause)

  • Skating out of control (25%/67%)

  • Poor visibility (twilight or darkness)(17%/6%).

  • Fatigue (11%/37%).

Training & Safety Gear

The statistics prove that lessons and the use of safety gear make a huge difference!

  • Fully half of those injured had taken no lessons; 37% had taken five or fewer lessons; only 11% of the injuries were those who had taken more than 6 lessons.

  • Of those injured, nearly half (46%) were wearing no safety gear at the time of injury!

  • Skaters wearing wrist guards, elbow and kneepads and helmet accounted for only a very small percentage (7%) of the injuries!