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Skateboarders Are More Likely to Be Injured Compared to In-Line Skaters or Rollerskaters


  • Is in-line skating or rollerskating a safer alternative to skateboarding?

Clinical Bottom Lines

  1. Skateboarders have more serious injuries and are more likely to have head injuries compared to in-line skaters or roller skaters.1
  2. Males are more likely to be injured skating than females and to have more serious injuries.
  3. Some activities may attract personalities that have a predisposition to testing limits. More research is needed to identify the behavioral factors that contribute to more hazardous use demonstrated by skateboarders.

Summary of Key Evidence

  1. 75.8% of those injured were male and 37.1% of all accidents studied resulted in head injuries.
  2. 50.8% of head injuries occurred in Skateboarders, 33.7% in in-line skaters and 18.8% in roller skaters.
  3. Mean hospital length was 6 days for skateboarders, 3.4 days for in-line skaters and 2.4 days for roller skaters.
  4. According to the Injury Severity Score, skateboarders were 8 times more likely to have severe or critical injuries compared with roller skaters, and 2 times more likely to have severe or critical injuries than in-line skaters.

Additional Comments

  • AAP recommends that children under 5 yrs of age not skateboard (higher center of gravity, less well developed neuromuscular system, poor judgement, not able to protect themselves from injury).
  • Never let children ride skateboards in traffic.
  • Encourage helmet and safety gear use approved for the particular activity (ANS or Snell).
  • Never reuse a helmet or use a broken one and always wear the strap.


  1. Osberg JS. Schneps SE. Di Scala C. Li G. Skateboarding: more dangerous than roller skating or in-line skating. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 1998; 152:985-91.
  2. Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention. In-line Skating Injuries in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics 1998: 720-722.
  3. Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention. Skateboard injuries. Pediatrics 1995;95:611-612.
  4. Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention. Bicycle helmets. Pediatrics 1995: 609-610.

CAT Author: Jonathan Necheles , MD

CAT Appraisers: Jonathan E. Fleigel, MD

Date appraised: September 18, 2000

Last updated October 28, 2002
Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases
© 1998-2002 University of Michigan Health System