Though we don’t get snow in these parts of Southern California, there are some family traditions where going out to the nearest ice-skating rink – whether indoor or outdoor – helps bring families together, as well as provides cheer for the season. So when my roommate asked me if I wanted to go ice skating with her sometime soon, the first thought that went through my head was, “that is a long way for me to fall,” before politely declining. I, myself, am a very clumsy person – so I would need kneepads, elbow pads, a helmet, etc. when out on the ice. So that got me thinking of Child Safety Friday and the question of whether or not children should wear helmets while they are ice-skating as well. Though it is not mandatory and most kids do not usually like to wear helmets while they are on the ice, those who are playing hockey are required to – it is a viable question to ask as we talk about safety concerns.
While doing some research on the subject, it was found that most people do not realize how often children have a tendency to hit their heads and faces than most in-line skaters. Research not that long ago provided that ice skaters hit their heads in a greater proportion of falls – about 13% – than any other injuries. Stating that about 4% of those injuries resulted in concussions. Which makes sense, the ice is more slippery than what most skateboarders or in-line skaters use. And with that idea of the fact that it is more slippery, when children fall, there is a higher risk of them sliding along the ice and perhaps can lead to even more injuries.
In a comparison study that was done by Gateway that included head injuries sustained in ice-skating, skateboarding, rollerskating, and in-line skating over a 31-month period, they found that though most children who were ice-skating were supervised by an adult, they still suffered head and face lacerations, as well as concussions. They also found that injuries from ice-skating occurred more often in an indoor skating facility.
Gateway concluded because the proportion of head injuries amongst ice-skaters in this study were far more likely and occurred more often – children should wear a helmet during recreational ice-skating. Some pediatricians and emergency room doctors think that it is a wise idea for the young ones to use helmets and perhaps make them mandatory for use at indoor ice-skating rinks – so as to prevent any unnecessary head or face injuries.
Cautions should always be used when taking the kids out to participate in recreations ice-skating. Make sure that rules are put into place to be safe – no ramming into other children/skaters, skating safely, if your child is still learning, perhaps use the buddy system, etc.
Naturally, it would seem like a wise decision to recommend that all children wear helmets while ice-skating, the problem is that the typical helmet may not protect your child’s head adequately since most falls are forward and the typical helmet is designed to protect a child’s head if they fall backwards. The best helmet that is recommended for ice-skating is a hockey helmet with a face guard – but getting your child to budge on that and risk a possible struggle, may not be worth it in the end. Another option could be to have your child wear non-slip wrist guards that keep the hands from slipping out from underneath than they try catch themselves when they fall.
At the end of the day, it is up to you and whether or not you feel your child needs to wear a helmet while they are ice-skating. And we do not think it is necessary to buy a helmet just for the sake of a day trip to the ice-skating rink. You know what is best for your child. But it is always good to know that it is an option and helmets can help prevent any unnecessary head injuries when it comes to falls on the ice.