Roller Shoes Safety - Wearing a Helmet

Roller shoes, also referred to as Heelys or Street Gliders, are a type of sneaker that has a detachable or convertible wheel in the heel. The wearer can lean back and glide on the wheels as well as walk.

According to a study in Pediatrics, 67 children suffered broken wrists, broken bones in the arm, elbow dislocation, foot and ankle injuries, and broken leg bones in Dublin, Ireland, during the summer of 2006.

The study also found that children were most frequently injured falling backward or forward while they were shifting body weight and balancing on the wheels. Most of the injuries happened outside.

Besides putting children at risk of injury, some studies suggest that walking in roller shoes with the wheel can alter how your kids walk. According to the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, analysis of roller shoes demonstrates increased forefoot and rear-foot pressure while walking with the wheel. Roller shoes also cause a diminished heel strike and more rapid forefoot loading. 

Researchers found that 20 percent of the injuries occurred the first time the child tried to use the roller shoes and 36 percent occurred while they were learning to use them.

Safety Tips

  • Make sure that when your children are wearing roller shoes, they wear protective gear, including:
  • Supervise your children while they are wearing roller shoes, especially while they are learning to use the shoes.
  • Children should practice basic skills—like how to stop—before wearing the shoes in public.
  • Be sure your children use the shoes only on flat surfaces, not on rocky areas, over curbs or down hills.
  • Don’t let your children wear the shoes in crowded spaces or in traffic.
  • Staggering your feet when in roller shoes - one foot in front of the other - helps with balance. Keeping your feet together increases the likelihood of falling.
  • Leaving the wheel in your child's roller shoes all the time not only can potentially affect how your child walks, but could tempt your child to use the shoes in skate mode more frequently and in situations where your child is less likely to be wearing protective gear.
  • Wearing roller shoes, in skate mode, inside the home could result in a fall or injury or potentially injure family members.