Are Heelys Safe Enough For Your Kids?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Some say Heelys may be an answer to our childhood obesity problem in America by providing children with a fun new way to exercise that may be more convenient to use then possibly biking or skateboarding. But are they safe?

By now most parents are familiar with Heelys, a unique type of sneaker that has a removable wheel in the heel that allows kids to quickly transition from walking or running to skating by simply shifting their weight to their "heel." This newer line of sneakers is popular among today's youth. Children as young as 5 are seen wearing these special shoes in malls, schools and on the street. Heelys has sold over 10 million pairs of their popular wheeled footwear since 2000.

According to a recent study conducted by Heiden Associates, a leading authority on product safety and risk assessment, "Heelys is the safest activity among popular wheeled sports . . . significantly safer than bicycling, skateboarding, basketball, soccer and even tennis." The study analyzed more than 2.056 million Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) incident reports and relevant data over the past six years and confirms that Heelys wheeled footwear is safe.


But what about all of these recent reports of childhood injuries associated with this brand of shoes? Heelys sneakers have been attributed to falls, injuries and even one known death. Doctors are seeing children come in with wrist fractures, elbow injuries, lacerations and even severe head trauma.

One of the main causes of these injuries is lack of wearing proper protective gear. Most children do not wear helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads and knee pads while skating. Unfortunately most parents believe that Heelys are just as safe as regular sneakers because they are sold in shoe stores. This is a misconception. Parents need to understand that this type of footwear should be treated like any other wheeled sport activity and proper safety equipment is necessary.

To keep your children safe, here are a few special safety tips parents and children need to know when using Heelys products: