USA Today recently published a short article outlining the dangers of Heelys, the wheeled sneakers that allow obnoxious children to be mobile as well. Not only are those adorable monsters going to be knocking you over in the mall, but they're apparently going to pluck your heartstrings as well when they tumble over and hurt themselves. That's right, as cool as they look (don't lie to me, you know you wish you could wear them), Heelys and their ilk might soon be required to be worn with helmets and safety pads, much like current bicycle laws. USA Today reports that while "doctors from Ireland to Singapore" have been reporting injuries caused by Heelys, and even one death, the sneakers that have inspired an "international craze" still have a lower injury rate than skateboarding, inline skates, and swimming.
My take? As with all recreation, children should be supervised. Just because they're sneakers half the time doesn't mean that a child shouldn't be carefully looked after when they are in fact wearing wheels on the bottom on their feet. They should probably not be worn to school, formal occasions, or professional events. We all know children tend to be a wee bit clumsy and a little hyper (hem), but considering the fact that they can probably sprain a wrist playing hopscotch just as easily as wearing Heelys, I think helmets are a tad unecessary (unless kids are legally required to wear helmets at all times, which... awesome). Just watch your kids, teach them to be safe, and be aware of the elevated risk of injury when you buy them sneakers with wheels on the bottom. Kind of obvious, isn't it?
*cross-posted to Style Bard