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An observational study of protective equipment use among in-line skaters
  1. Lynne Warda1,
  2. Sande Harlos2,
  3. Terry P Klassen3,
  4. Michael E K Moffatt4,
  5. Norma Buchan4,
  6. Virginia L Koop4
  1. 1Pediatric Emergency Medicine, University of Manitoba, 840 Sherbrook Street, Room CE 205, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 1S1, Canada
  2. 2Community Medicine, University of Manitoba
  3. 3Research Institute, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
  4. 4IM-PACT (Injuries Manitoba-Prevention of Adolescent and Childhood Trauma)
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Warda
 (e-mail: lwarda{at}


Objectives—To describe the patterns of protective equipment use by in-line skaters in Winnipeg, Manitoba and nearby rural communities.

Methods—In-line skaters were observed for three months in 1996 at 190 urban and 30 rural sites selected using a formal sampling scheme. Age, gender, protective equipment use, skating companions, correct helmet use, and use of headphones were recorded.

Results—Altogether 123 in-line skaters were observed at 61 sites, including one rural site. No skaters were observed at the remaining sites. There were 37 adults and 86 children; 56% were male. Helmet use was 12.2% (95% confidence interval (CI ) = 6.4% to 18.0%), wrist guard use was 16.3% (95% CI = 9.7% to 22.8%), knee pad use was 9.8% (95% CI = 5.2% to 16.4%), and elbow pad use was 7.3% (95% CI = 3.4% to 13.4%). Children were more likely to wear a helmet than teens 12–19 years of age (relative risk (RR) = 30, 95% CI = 4.01 to 225). Adults were more likely to wear wrist guards than children (RR = 4.32, 95% CI = 1.87 to 9.94). No gender differences were found. Incorrect helmet use was documented in four skaters; three skaters were wearing headphones.

Conclusions—Low rates of protective equipment use were documented in our region, significantly lower than those reported in the literature. Barriers to equipment use are not known, and should be examined by further study. In-line skating safety programs should be developed, promoted, and evaluated. Teens should be targeted for future preventive efforts.

  • in-line skating
  • protective equipment
  • helmet use

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