Playing on pogo sticks is safe for kids as long as they wear appropriate safety gear like knee and elbow pads, helmets, fitted footwear etc., and stay away from unsafe surfaces. Hence, it is imperative for parents to educate their children about the danger of pogo sticking instead of forbidding this fun-filled activity.
Albeit dangerous, no one can deny that pogo sticks are a lot of fun!
I remember having a gala time while jumping around the neighborhood on a pogo stick, despite being scolded by my parents multiple times. But what I also remember is that I often fell off the pogo stick and ended up with bruised knees and elbows.
Hence, now that I know better, I’ve curated this informative guide to pogo stick safety.
How Many People Get Hurt On Pogo Sticks?
Compared to other extreme sports and outdoor activities, pogo sticks are relatively safer options for kids. This is because playing on a pogo stick does not involve great heights and high speeds. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the number of people that reach the emergency room by riding a bike is 326x more than pogo-sticking individuals.
As such, pogo stick injuries are less frequent, but that does not make the infamous toy any less dangerous. With head injuries being the most common result of accidents on pogo sticks, parents must remain cautious and make their children wear safety gear.
To avoid any risk, I do not recommend encouraging your kids to use your old and dusty pogo stick. Chances are the toy has already corroded and may be more prone to accidents, especially on slippery surfaces.
Dangers Of Using Pogo Sticks
Kids jumping up and down anyway are bound to fall down and injure themselves. Now, if they jump and balance on a pogo stick, the chances of injuries increase substantially. Besides head impacts, some common injuries caused by pogo-sticking are as follows:
- Twisted ankles
Parents can prevent these dangers of pogo sticking by making their children wear appropriate safety gear, like full-sleeves and long-legged clothing, CPSC-certified helmets, fitted shoes, etc. Extreme pogo sticking, on the other hand, can be compared to other extreme sports like BMX, skateboarding, etc., in terms of risk.
Safety Gear Your Kid Must Wear While Pogo Sticking
1. Knee And Elbow Pads
If your child has just started using a pogo stick, these are a must to avoid injuries. Of course, once they get the hang of pogo sticking, they may not require these pads.
2. Fitted Footwear
I recommend wearing skate shoes or fitted sneakers (not sandals) with covered toes. If the shoes have laces, ensure they are fastened tightly to avoid twists and slips.
3. Long-legged/Armed Clothing
While they cannot prevent many injuries, kids just starting off with pogo sticks can avoid many scrapes and grazes wearing these.
4. CSPC Certified Helmet (Essential)
This helmet is essential for children trying any type of ride-on toy. However, while getting such headgear, always prioritize CSPC certification over style. Also, ensure that the helmet fits your child snugly. It should not slip or twist out of its position or tilt back. Overall, the helmet should offer ample head and forehead protection to your kid.
Are Modern Pogo Sticks Safer?
Although pogo sticks back then were no less fun, the risks of jumping on them were higher due to the following reasons:
- Older pogo sticks were made of hard metal that could hit the groin or chin if your child slipped off
- Most parts, like the rubber tip, were not replaceable
- The spring mechanism of older pogo sticks had no protection, so the user’s shoelaces or clothes were bound to get snagged
- Due to smaller footrests, the user’s feet were more likely to slip off
As time went by, safety standards became more stringent. Consequently, designers began making “safer” pogo sticks by changing the following features:
- Although a pogo stick is still made of metal for durability, it is covered with thick foam for extra protection
- Parts like hand grips, footrests, and rubber tips are now easily replaceable, thereby increasing the longevity of the toy
- The spring mechanism in pogo sticks nowadays is fully enclosed
- Footrests are larger and equipped with a rubber base to prevent slips
Safe Surfaces For Pogo Sticks
Besides wearing safety gear, it is important for kids to identify surfaces that are safe for pogo sticking. Hence, as parents, it is your duty to educate your child about the same. Encourage them to use their pogo sticks on hard, even surfaces with plenty of space to jump around. As such, “safe” surfaces for pogo sticking are cement, concrete, asphalt, etc.
That said, here are some surfaces that must be avoided for this outdoor activity:
- Staircase: It is common sense that such an uneven surface is dangerous for any outdoor activity and not just pogo sticking unless you are a pro
- Grass And Sand: Pogo sticks are likely to get stuck or sink in such surfaces, and your child may fall on the ground
- Wooden Floors: Besides causing an injury, playing with a pogo stick on wooden floors can damage the flooring
- Gravel And Any Uneven Ground: Using pogo sticks here may cause wobbling and sticking, and your child may get hurt
Pogo Stick Safety Conclusion
As the age-old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” So, forbidding your children from going outside and playing is not the solution. These are the days when they can go out and about, giggling and chit-chatting with friends without a care in the world!
However, I understand if you’re concerned about their safety, especially if they indulge in pogo-sticking. Hence, my advice for you is to ensure that they wear safety gear. Also, check if the pogo stick is in good shape. You can also talk to them about the dangers of pogo sticking and make them aware of the do’s and don’ts that I discussed above.
For more information on pogo sticks, I recommend checking my latest guide on “Best Pogo Stick Athletes.”