Untimely Tip - Helmets for Ice Skating Kids

Medical Authors and Editors: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D. and Frederick Hecht, M.D.

July 9, 2004 -- July may not seem the ideal time of the year to provide tips about ice skating safety for children. But, according to a new report in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, the proportion of head injuries among ice skaters is greater than for other types of skating for which helmet use is recommended and often required. Children who are going ice skating should therefore wear a helmet.

Mandatory helmet use by pediatric ice-skaters at indoor rinks should also be implemented, recommend Jennifer McGeehan and her colleagues at Ohio State and the Children's Hospital in Columbus.

The researchers advise that the use of other types of protective equipment, such as wrist guards, knee pads, and elbow pads, be considered for the prevention of injuries during ice skating. Caution should be used when allowing young children to participate in recreational ice skating.

The Study

Data for this study were obtained from the medical records of a consecutive series of children treated in the emergency department of a large children's hospital for injuries related to recreational ice skating, skateboarding, rollerskating, or in-line skating. This hospital is a tertiary care facility and a level 1 pediatric trauma center. Cases were included only if the child was directly involved in skating. For example, children who were hit by skates or run over by a skater but were not personally using skating equipment were excluded from the study.