CPSC on Skaters' Safety Equipment
Summary: Back in 1997, CPSC published an article on skate safety equipment.
Consumer Product Safety Review
In-line Skating and Safety Gear
Using CPSC data, researchers recently showed the effectiveness of safety gear in preventing injuries to in-line skaters
through a national epidemiological study.
In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine,  researchers reported that wearing wrist guards and
elbow pads reduced the risk of injury to those body parts by over 80%. Knee pads reduced the risk of knee injury by about
The study, by researchers from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and CPSC, was based on data gathered
from hospital emergency rooms using CPSC's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).
A sample of 161 injured in-line skaters was selected for in-depth interviews. A typical injury occurred when a beginning
skater fell on outstretched hands. Wrist injuries accounted for about one-third of all injuries.
In this study, the sample of in-line skaters wearing helmets was too small to be conclusive. Studies elsewhere, however,
have found that helmets can reduce the risk of bicycle-related head injury by up to 85% 
About 100,000 in-line skaters were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 1995. These figures reflect a
dramatic increase from the 37,000 such injuries treated in 1993. 
George W. Rutherford, Jr., M.S.,
Directorate for Epidemiology and Health Sciences
Consumer Product Safety Commission
 Schieber RA, Branche-Dorsey CM, Ryan GW, Rutherford GW, et. al. Risk factors for injuries from in-line skating and
the effectiveness of safety gear. N EnglJ Med 1996;335:1630-35.
 Thompson RS, Rivara FP, Thompson DC. A case-control study of the effectiveness of bicycle safety helmets. N Engl J
 CPSC. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS).