Dangerous “Heelys” and “Street Gliders:” Physicians Groups Report Increased Injuries to Children | DC Metro

A recent article in the journal Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights the orthopedic dangers of “Heelys” — popular kids’ shoes that feature a partially-embedded, removable wheel in the heel.  Authors of the study recommend that protective gear be worn at all times while using the products, and that children learning to use the shoes be closely supervised.

“Heelers” — those using the devices — can alternate between walking and rolling by shifting their weight to various parts of their feet while wearing the popular shoes.  “Street Gliders,” another type of product, operate similarly, but are designed to temporarily attach to regular sneakers.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has also reported an increased incidence of injuries related to the sneakers.  Those injuries predominately affect the wrists, hands and elbows, but the group also notes a potential for head injury among users.  They recommend the following guidelines for those who may decide to use the new products:

  • “Learn the basic skills of the sport; particularly how to stop properly, before venturing out.
  • Wear a helmet, wrist protectors and knee and elbow pads.
  • Avoid rolling in crowded walkways.
  • Avoid rolling in traffic. If you come to a cross walk, obey traffic signals, stay to the right side of the sidewalk and don’t weave in and out of crowds.
  • Heel on smooth surfaces, away from traffic.
  • Do not let a young child heel unsupervised.”

We urge parents to exercise good judgment in buying safe and age-appropriate toys and sporting goods for their children, and always encourage the use of protective equipment.  If you have any questions at all about the products you or your children are using this summer, please feel free to contact us.

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