I bought my son a pair of Heelys—the shoes with built-in wheels. I've seen other kids zooming through airports and shopping malls in them and figured they would be easy to use.
At the same time, they do have wheels. And there are YouTube instructional videos, which means there must be a method to using them successfully. I figured that testing them wearing appropriate safety gear would make sense. After all, I'd have him wear pads and a helmet if he were roller blading.
He put on his helmet and tested the shoes in our kitchen. Sure enough, the shoes were tricky and my son ended up on his butt more than once.
It wasn't long before he decided it wasn't "cool" to wear a helmet in the kitchen and he stopped using the shoes altogether.
It turns out I'm part of a minority of parents who insist their kids wear helmets when skateboarding, skating, scootering or biking.
According to one survey, 40 percent of parents don't require their kids to wear helmets. Twenty-five percent of parents polled said their kids won't wear a helmet because it's uncomfortable or not cool.
This is despite the fact that injuries from wheeled activities send 40,000 kids to the ER in the U.S. each year.
While the number of emergency visits for bike and skateboard-related injuries fell between 2005 and 2015, visits for skate and scooter injuries increased.
We all know that helmets and safety gear are the best way to prevent injuries, including concussions. So why aren't more parents insisting their kids are protected when participating in all wheeled activities? Why would kids be more likely to wear a helmet to bike and skateboard, but not scooter and while sporting wheely shoes?
There are companies that make "cool" helmets they hope kids will want to use. But is there more we can do? Perhaps educate kids and parents about the risks?
Do you make your kids wear helmets? Do you have any advice for parents who are trying to get their kids to put one on?