Boarding Safety

Boarding is an increasingly popular recreational activity among teenagers.

Practice Boarding safely and use protective equipment.

Incidence of Injury

To improve Boarding safety, a growing number of communities provide supervised board parks. These may have professionally designed boarding lanes or other designated Boarding areas that are located away from motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Boarding is an activity in which you move quickly over hard surfaces. It can lead to injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to catastrophic brain injury.

Most hospitalizations involve head injury. Even injuries that heal quickly can cause pain and anxiety, cost time, and money and may lead to disabilities. This can include loss of vision, hearing and speech; inability to walk, bathe, toilet, dress or feed yourself; and changes in thinking and behavior.

Boarding is not recommended for young children. That's because they are still growing and do not yet have the physical skills and thinking ability a person needs to control a board and ride it safely.

Please note:

* Children under age 5 years old should never ride a board.
* Children aged 5 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult or trustworthy adolescent whenever they ride a board.

When young children are involved in Boarding accidents, they are often injured severely. Boarding is a special risk for young children because they have:

* A higher center of gravity, less development and poor balance. These factors make children more likely to fall and hurt their heads.
* Slower reactions and less coordination than adults. Children are less able to break their falls.
* Less skill and ability than they think. Children overestimate their skills and abilities and are inexperienced in judging speed, traffic and other risks.

Serious Boarding injuries happen when you lose control and fall or run into a motor vehicle, road hazard, pedestrian, another boarder or bicyclist. You are at risk for injuries:

* If you don't use protective equipment.
* If you don't keep your board in good condition.
* If you board on irregular surfaces.
* If you attempt "tricks" beyond your skill level.

Sixty percent of board injuries involve children under age 15; most of those injured are boys. At highest risk are:

* Inexperienced boarders. Those who have been skating for less than one week suffer one-third of injuries, usually caused by falls.
* Boarders who do not wear protective equipment. Every boarder should wear standard safety gear. This includes a helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads and appropriate shoes. Boarders who perform tricks should use heavy duty gear.
* Boarders who go near traffic or use homemade board ramps. Both activities are particularly dangerous.
* Experienced boarders who encounter unexpected surfaces or try risky stunts. Irregular riding surfaces, rocks or other debris can cause you to fall. You can stumble over twigs or fall down slopes. Wet pavements and rough or uneven surfaces can cause a wipeout. Avoid risky behavior. Don't board too fast or in dangerous or crowded locations.


Types of Injury

Boarding injuries often involve the wrist, ankle or face. Many injuries happen when you lose your balance, fall off the board and land on an outstretched arm.

* Injuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk range from bruises and abrasions to sprains and strains, fractures and dislocations. Wrist fractures are quite common. Wearing wrist guards can reduce their frequency and severity.
* Facial injuries include breaking your nose and jawbone
* Severe injuries include concussion, closed head injury and blunt head trauma.
* You can suffer permanent impairment or even death if you fall off the board and strike your head without a helmet. Most brain injuries happen when your head hits pavement. You are most at risk if you board near traffic and collide with motor vehicles, bikes, pedestrians or other obstacles.


Prevention

You can prevent most Boarding injuries if you follow all of these recommendations:


Use a quality board

GTF Jetroll boards satisfy British and European standards, where rigorous testing during the manufacturing stage ensures certain safety standards are upheld. Always use a certified board.

You should inspect it before every ride. Look for problems that need repair. These can include loose, broken or cracked parts; sharp or jagged edges; a slippery top surface; etc. Get professional help to repair serious defects.
Learn the basic skills of Boarding, especially how to stop properly.

Also learn slowing and turning techniques, and how to fall safely: If you are losing your balance, crouch down on the board so you won't have as far to fall. Try to land on the fleshy parts of your body rather than your arms. Relax and roll.


Wear proper protective equipment

Before getting on your board, empty your pockets of all hard and sharp objects and put on your protective gear. Essential protective equipment includes:

* A properly fitting helmet
* Wrist guards
* Knee and elbow pads
* Shoes

Helmet

To protect your head from injury, always wear a properly fitting helmet. This is true no matter what your age, level of experience or location where you are Boarding. A properly fitting helmet:

* Is worn flat on your head with the bottom edge parallel to the ground
* Sits low on your forehead
* Has side straps that form a "V" shape around each ear
* Has a buckle that fastens tightly (there should be room to put only two fingers between the strap and your chin)
* Has pads inside that you install or remove so the helmet fits snuggly
* Does not move in any direction when you shake your head
* Does not interfere with your movement, vision or hearing

Replace your helmet when it is damaged, outgrown or at least every five years. You may need to replace it sooner if the manufacturer recommends it.

Wrist guards help support the wrist and reduce the chances of breaking a bone if you fall. Knee and elbow pads reduce the severity of cuts and scrapes, and prevent gravel burns. You should also wear closed, slip-resistant shoes, and consider goggles to keep debris out of your eyes.
Board only on smooth pavement away from traffic, preferably in a supervised skate park.

* Never hold onto the side or rear of a moving vehicle while riding a board ("skitching"). You could fall or be thrown into oncoming traffic if the vehicle suddenly slows, stops or turns.
* Never use your board in wet weather.
* Avoid Boarding in crowded walkways or in darkness.
* Always screen the area before you board, inspecting surfaces for rocks and other debris.

Do not perform tricks or jumps while riding your board.

Boarding skill is not acquired quickly or easily. Don't take chances by Boarding faster than your experience allows, or faster than is safe for conditions or the speed of other boarders. If you try tricks, practice them only in a controlled environment, such as a skate park that has adult supervision and appropriate access to emergency medical care.
Stay in shape.

Prevent Boarding injuries by keeping in top physical condition.

Stretch and do conditioning exercises before and after Boarding.
Be considerate of fellow boarders, especially those who are younger and / or less skilled.


Know what to do in an emergency.

Boarding accidents happen, so you should always know what to do in emergency situations. Don't panic. Call for medical assistance or an ambulance.