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Skating Safety Tips

My mom tells me that I started skating when I was two. I don't remember back that far, but I can't imagine that I was any good. I do remember Friday and Saturday nights at the roller rink on four-wheel roller skates (I'm really dating myself here!). I haven't skated in years, but I do remember some of the safety tips I was taught. Even though I thought they were useless at the time, I discovered the hard way that I really should have listened! Even if you don't skate yourself, your kids may want to. Whatever your skill level, here are some basic guidelines for skating safely.
Wear proper protective gear. Even if you think you don't need them, wear pads and a helmet. You might not have to gear up like a hockey player, but it helps to wear knee and wrist guards. In terms of the helmet-that's a must. If you don't wear any other gear, wear the helmet. Also, many people don't realize that some helmets are 'one-use'-meaning, they aren't as protective after the first time they've been hit. You may need to replace your helmet if you fall and hit your head, because the helmet you were wearing may be damaged once it absorbs the impact of a fall. You can find protective gear at most stores that sell skates or sporting equipment.
Watch out! If you're skating on a street, watch for cars. It also helps to wear bright clothing so it is easier for cars to see you. If you're on a lake or in a rink, watch out for other skaters. This is particularly true if you're in a place with small children on the floor with you! It's easier than you might think to run into someone accidentally and get hurt (or hurt them). Also, if you're on an irregular surface (such as a street), watch for any bumps or cracks that might trip you up. I'm sure this goes without saying, but remove any object that could someone could trip over as soon as possible. This is especially important if you or your kids are playing games such as street hockey. Being aware of your surroundings can go a long way in preventing accidents.
Follow the rules. If you're at a rink or other public place, there are probably rules about what sort of conduct will and will not be allowed. Make sure you and your kids follow them; they're there for a reason.
Don't tell anyone to 'hold my beer and watch this'! This is a colloquial way of saying not to take stupid risks. As much as we might want to pretend and think that we are as good as the skateboarders and speed skaters we see on TV, don't do 'tricks' that are beyond your ability level. Trust me, those maneuvers you see on the ice rinks in the Olympics do not transfer to rink skates, and definitely not to roller/inline skating! Also, those skaters are professionals that have been taught by professionals. Unless you are one of these, don't attempt the stunts you see on your own. If you're not the risk-taker, don't let your kids do crazy tricks. Leave the leaps to Kristi Yamaguchi.
These are just a few things to keep in mind if you or your kids ever go skating. Whether it is roller skating, in-line or ice, following basic safety rules can make sure a good time is had by all!

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