Stopping by the grocery store, I noticed a new prohibition on the door, below the requirements for shoes and shirts: no wheeled shoes. Instantly, I knew what the management was talking about: many kids in my neighborhood wear shoes with wheels in the heels, allowing them to glide on pavement by lifting their toes. According to the sign, young people have been gliding into displays and other customers, and the prohibition is for the safety of everyone. According to an article in the Washington Post and a recent report by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), some more general restrictions may be in order, for the sake of the children themselves.
According to the Post’s article, injuries related to the wheeled shoes contributed to “about 1,600 emergency room visits last year.” Although this number is not especially large — skateboarders “visited hospital emergency rooms with about 18,000 head injuries” alone in 2004 — the injuries related to wheeled shoes are largely preventable. It’s important for parents to remember that the wheeled shoes are not just another pair of shoes — according to the AAOS, “roller shoes are very similar to being on roller blades or inline skates.” Thankfully, by taking simple, common sense prevention measures, parents can keep their children safe and injury free.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers a page of safety tips for using wheeled-shoes safely. They do not differ significantly from the advice that bikers and skateboarders have heard for years: wear a helmet and pads, practice somewhere seclude before using the shoes in a crowded place, and avoid traffic and dangerous terrain. If you interact often with children, be sure to show them McGruff’s advice on related topics, such as bicycle safety and summer safety tips. To drive home the importance of pads and other safety devices, be sure they play Scruff’s Halfpipe Challenge. Remembering some common-sense safety tips can ensure that everyone has a safe and happy summer.