Wheeled sports and activities

The Emergency Department of the Montreal Children’s Hospital sees more than 750 children and teens a year due to injuries caused by wheeled sports and activities.

Two thirds of injuries caused by wheeled sports occur during cycling activities.

The most common include:  arm or leg fractures, soft tissue injuries, sprains and traumatic brain injuries. 
 
Traumatic brain injuries continue to be an important cause of death and disability among children and teens. Helmets reduce the risk of brain injury.
 
Make sure your child wears a helmet during wheeled sports and activities (such as cycling, skateboarding, inline skating, and scootering). Have children start wearing a helmet at a young age. Parents should set a good example by also wearing a helmet. 

Follow these guidelines for proper helmet use: Use your head...wear a helmet!
 
When participating in wheeled activities:

When participating in wheeled activities:

           cycling,
           skateboarding,
           inline skating,
           scootering


Follow these guidelines to ensure a fun and safe ride:

  • Wear protective helmets designed for the specific sport.
  • Use the equipment in areas designated for the activity and not on busy streets.
  • Wear high visibility clothing for daytime riding, and reflective accessories for night-time riding.
  • Wear appropriate footwear, such as running shoes not flip flops.
  • Know and follow road safety rules. 
  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians.
  • Never double ride on equipment that is designed for one person.
  • Gloves and knee and elbow pads can provide additional protection. 
Here are a few additional important tips to consider when:

Here are a few additional important tips to consider when:

Cycling

  • Make sure the bicycle/tricycle is the appropriate size for your child and in proper working order. A proper fit is when your child is able to straddle the bike with both feet on the ground.
  • Check the brakes and tire pressure regularly.
  • Make sure to have reflectors on the bicycle (on the front, back and on each wheel) to ensure visibility to motorists, especially in the evening.
  • Make sure to have a white front head light and a rear red light for nightime riding.
  • Children less than 10 years old should not cycle without adult supervision. Because of their age and stage of development, younger children often have difficulty integrating the many actions that are going on around them.  
  • Ride with the flow of traffic in a single file. 
  • If using a bicycle trailer or carrier for your young child (must be over 1 year old), ride on designated bicycle paths only. Make sure that your child is properly restrained and wearing a helmet. Wear a helmet yourself.
 
 
Wheeled activities for babies and toddlers

Wheeled activities for babies and toddlers

  • Your child must be over 1 year old to use a bicycle carrier or a bicycle trailer.
  • Make sure that your child’s head and neck control is well developed in order to put on a helmet. 
  • Make sure that your child is properly restrained and wearing a helmet. Wear a helmet yourself. 
  • Ride on designated bicycle paths only: Bicycle trailers have little suspension therefore you should ride on a smooth surface.
  • Make sure your toddler wears a properly fitting helmet once he/she is ready to ride a tricycle. Knee and elbow pads can provide additional protection.
  • Mount a flag to the back of the bicycle trailer so that it is more visible to drivers, other cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Parents and caregivers should not carry young children in a baby carrier while they inline skate or skateboard.
Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: May 2020

Trauma

Fax : 514-412-4254

Emergency Department (for patient transfer) : 514-412-4399 (fax)