For the most part, children are fearless. This means that they’ll jump off of furniture without any regard for their well-being, skid down the highest slide with their socks, or use an adult skateboard to attempt the trickiest move at the skatepark.
All of these tricks almost always end badly with you having to pick up the pieces and bandage them back together.
But do they learn? No! So, your kid will continue doing the same stunts over and over, no matter how severe the injury.
You can’t protect them from every danger they decide to step in front of, but you can help them have safer fun at the skatepark.
Today we’re going to be looking at the best way to choose a skateboard for your child.
A quick outline on kid’s skateboards
When we talk about a child’s skateboard, we don’t mean one of those cheap and nasty plastic types that you get from the toy store. Those are dangerous and your child will certainly injure themselves if they try any tricks with it.
What we mean by a child’s skateboard is actually just a smaller version of an adult’s one. You should look for one between 7 and 8 inches wide with a length of 27 to 31 inches. You can find these at the skate shop or online.
You can either assemble a skateboard yourself or purchase a complete one ready-made for your child. Some adult skaters will tell you that assembling your own is the best move, but this does not always apply to children.
Kids don’t need the specific parts on their skateboard changed as they’re not going to be doing most of the tricks and flips that adults can do, at least for a few years.
If you have little knowledge on how to assemble a skateboard from scratch, you could be creating a more dangerous situation rather than a safer one.
Complete skateboards are also often less expensive and therefore excellent when your child is going to grow out of their skateboard in a few years.
With that being said, you should still give the complete skateboard a once over before allowing your kid to use it. Make sure that the trucks are the correct size for the width of the skateboard while having enough space between the board to steer properly.
Opting for a complete skateboard with the ability to replace the parts will save you money in the long run, as you’ll be able to opt for one new part rather than an entire new skateboard.
The anatomy of a skateboard
Before we get into choosing the best skateboard for your child, we thought it would be best to educate you on the parts that make up a skateboard.
This way you can teach your child all about their board and have a better understanding of it should something go wrong.
If you’re already clued up on the anatomy of a skateboard, you can feel free to skip this section and move onto the next.
First, the board. Boards can be made of lots of different materials, but the most common is wood that has been compressed within a mold. The wood will have been thin sheets of wood, commonly written as 7-ply wooden decks.
The more ply, the better durability. However, this can also affect the flexibility of the deck as well as the feel of the board and price.
Grip tape is placed onto the board to stop shoes from slipping off of the deck while riding.
T-shaped trucks are placed at either end of the board and keep the wheels attached to the board. The hanger keeps the truck held together, the baseplate solidifies it to the board, and the bushings allow the trucks to steer. Trucks are secured to the deck with bolts.
Wheels are often made of plastic material, with the option to choose soft or harder wheels. Bearings are attached to the wheels to allow them to spin as fast as possible. Spacers are used to protect the metal bearings from damage.
Some skateboards come with riser pads to add more height between the wheels and deck to prevent damage from high jumps and tricks.
When can children begin skateboarding?
Professional pediatricians advise you not to allow your child to skate below the age of five. This is due to the fact that it’s dangerous and they won’t be able to control the board enough to remain safe.
Some people disagree with this and allow their children to skate at a younger age, and we cannot stop you if you believe that the benefits outweigh the risk. We are simply informing you of what doctors advise.
No matter what age you’re going to be letting your child skate, make sure that you keep a close eye on them so that you can see if they injure themselves.
If you’d like to learn skateboarding yourself along with your child, you should pick yourself up a cruiser board. These types of boards offer great stability and don’t reach the highest speeds, so they’re great for adults just learning the sport.
Learning yourself will also give your child more courage and it’s an excellent way to bond. You can also teach your young child to skate on this board with your help.
Of course, the deck will be way too big for them, but you can hold onto them as they learn the basics.
Three years old
At three years old, your child’s muscles won’t have developed enough to be able to skate safely.
The neck muscles, which are particularly important, are too weak and your child will be at a higher risk for hitting their head if they fall.
Skating at three years old is not recommended as the legs are too short and you’ll need to replace the skateboard very quickly.
However, if you are allowing this to happen you should stay close to your child at all times so that you can catch them when they fall.
Four years old
Again, four years old is not a recommended age to learn skateboarding, although it is better than three.
You can teach them how to stand on a skateboard even if they’re not going anywhere.
There are quite a few four-year-olds on the internet that can skate professionally, which might be making you think that you can teach your child to do this as well.
However, these children have most likely had help from professional skateboarding instructors and put multiple hours into their craft.
Five years old
Five years old is the youngest recommended age that children should be learning how to skate.
They have better-developed motor skills and their muscles are stronger so they’ll have better control over their bodies and the board.
However, this is still a very young age and therefore they should always be supervised. Make sure that they are wearing all of their protective gear.
Choose a board with a width of 7 to 8 inches, which can either be a smaller board or a regular-sized one. The width is the same no matter the length.
The length of the board is not too big of a concern at this stage, although your child might find it easier to ride a board of different lengths.
Six years old and up
In our opinion, six years and older are the best ages to teach your child how to skateboard.
They’ll have stronger muscles, more coordination, and a higher tolerance when something goes wrong.
Instead of walking away from the sport altogether, they will be able to keep calm and put the work in to learn.
Larger skateboards will provide more stability to your child at the beginning of their journey, so you might want to opt for a longer board, to begin with.
Some parents like to begin their child on an adult-sized board before moving to a child-sized board.
The larger board will be able to teach them about balancing and moving the board, while the smaller board can be introduced once it’s time to learn how to steer.
Children’s skateboard size chart
Below we have found a children’s skateboard size chart that will enable you to see what size of board you should be getting your child.
Child’s Shoe Size
3 foot 4 or shorter
6.5 to 6.75 inches
6 to 8
3 foot 5 to 4 foot 4
2 to 5
9 to 12
4 foot 5 to 5 foot 2
6 to 8
7.25 to 7.375 inches
13 and over
5 foot 3 or taller
9 and over
7.5 or wider
Some parents believe that this is too finicky and the width isn’t that important, so it’s all up to you and what you believe. The best way to find your child’s skateboard width is to go to a skate shop and test decks of different widths out for yourselves.
As you can see from our chart, your child’s height, shoe size, and therefore skateboard width will be changing rapidly as they grow. You might prefer to choose one larger skateboard than having to replace it every year or so.
Using a child-sized skateboard isn’t always needed
You can save money by opting for an adult-sized skateboard for your child rather than a child-sized model. They can grow into the former, while they will grow out of the latter option quickly.
As long as your child can stand on an adult-sized skateboard with their front foot touching the front bolts and their back foot touching the back set of bolts, they should be able to ride this skateboard without an issue.
Children aged five or older should be able to do this without splitting their legs too much. However, children under this age might need a child-sized board to prevent their legs from hurting when trying to reach the bolts on either side.
Child-sized boards are often thinner and shorter than adult-sized boards, which gives them more room to push the board forward. Using an adult-sized board requires your child to move their foot further to meet the floor.
Child-sized boards are best for when your kid starts to learn how to steer their board as the trucks are more responsive and they won’t have to put as much effort into steering the board.
Many children can learn how to skate on an adult-sized board without any issues, but a child-friendly board might be worth investing in when it comes time to learn how to steer.
But what are the benefits of a child-sized skateboard?
As you can probably tell from our article so far, we are advocates for both adult-sized and child-sized skateboards.
Whichever is best for your child, we say. But there is the issue of having to replace the child-sized board once your kid grows out of it.
So, what are the benefits of choosing a skateboard made specifically for children? These boards are made for kids under the age of 10 and can prevent them from straining their legs while trying to keep their feet on the bolts on either end of the skateboard.
Children can learn how to ride on a larger skateboard, but they will crouch down quite low to compensate for the loss of their center of gravity.
They will get used to this stance, and they will slowly begin to stand up straighter as they grow into the board. However, children-sized boards will allow them to stand up straight right from the get-go.
Penny boards are often a popular option for children as the parents believe that they are as small as a child’s board and therefore work in the same way. This is not correct and penny boards are actually smaller than many child-sized boards.
This makes it difficult for your child to balance on the board and stay on it long enough to successfully ride it. Manipulating the trucks and bushings doesn’t do much either.
So, if you want to opt for a smaller board for your child, make sure that you go for a board specifically made for children rather than micro or penny boards as these can just make the process of learning how to skate even more difficult.
Does the shoe size affect the deck size needed?
Many people consider shoe size to be important when choosing a board, as you don’t want your feet hanging off of the edges of the deck. However, kids rarely have this issue as their feet are still smaller than most skateboard widths out there.
So, the shoe size might begin to matter as they get a little older, but we don’t think that it’s the most important thing to look for when choosing a skateboard for your 5-year-old child.
A wider width of deck might even provide your child with more stability as they’re riding. On the other hand; however, it could make it more difficult to reach the floor to push forward and steering is not as easy for children.
Whether you decide to choose a skateboard depending on your child’s shoe size or not depends on your personal opinion. We would always recommend visiting a skate shop to test some different widths and lengths out for yourselves.
Which is best - a complete skateboard or a self-assembled skateboard?
Some advocate for a complete skateboard to save you time and effort, while others think that creating your own skateboard from differently sourced materials is best.
A complete skateboard is definitely the best option for people who don’t have any experience with creating a skateboard from scratch.
If you want to learn more about the process, we recommend it as you’ll be able to adjust and replace the parts easier in the future, but we wouldn’t advise you to create your child’s skateboard as your first attempt.
Assembling a skateboard can be more difficult than you first might think. All of the parts have to fit together and require a lot of planning beforehand. The wheels have to be the correct size to protect your child from falling over. You also need to consider the hardness of the wheels.
Hard wheels are best for flat surfaces while softer wheels are better for rough terrains such as asphalt and bumpy concrete. This is because the soft plastic adapts to the floor and leaves your child with a smoother ride.
There are so many different pieces that you can find online which makes it difficult to know what you need. For this reason, we think that complete skateboards are best for children. They’re often cheaper and have been expertly put together to prevent accidents.
You can also choose to visit a skate shop with your child and ask them to create a skateboard for your kid’s measurements and age. Make sure that your local shop offers this service before going down there.
A few great skateboards for your child
Below are a few of the best complete skateboards on the market right now for you and your child to try out.
They vary in price range so you choose a model in accordance with your budget. However, as with anything, you get what you pay for and the higher-end models are often best.
All of these wheels have softer wheels to protect your child from flying off the board as soon as they hit a stone or stick on the ground.
Top 4 Best Skateboard Brands
OUR TOP PICK
The graphics on Enjoi skateboards are always appealing to kids, particularly the burger stack.
Enjoi is a well-known and reputable brand that lots of skaters will recommend if you ask around the skatepark.
Soft bushings are used to allow your child to steer easily without losing balance. The soft wheels also make this a great skateboard for rough terrain.
Not to be confused with a mini-deck, the Mini Cruiser is another hit with kids.
The large wheels are excellent for stability and the softness allows for harsh terrain.
The board is smaller so your kid might grow out of it, but it’s a great choice for now.
These skateboards come at impressively low prices, proving that you don’t need to spend a bomb on your child’s skateboard.
Both adults and kids can use them, and it offers a nice smooth ride around the park.
The width is bigger than the other skateboards on the list and this might make it a little tricky for your child to get used to, but it will also offer them more stability when they do.
This shorter skateboard is another that is great for kids and just look at those graphics.
Santa Cruz is another excellent reputable brand that many would recommend.
The wheels are very helpful and stylish, being soft enough to ride rough terrain without any issues.
This skateboard is best for street skateboarding rather than tricks, which is ideal for most kids.
The wheels also reduce vibrations offering your child a more stable base.
Benefits of skateboarding for your child
There are plenty of benefits that your child can get from skateboarding, such as lots of exercises that don’t actually feel like exercising.
Your child will get to have fun while looking after their health, working on their motor skills, and strengthening their muscles.
Skateboarding is also an excellent way to meet new friends and strengthen the bond between parent and child. Rather than sitting around the house playing on electronics or watching the television, your child can interact with others while getting some much-needed vitamin D.
There have also been lots of studies on how learning a technical skill can set your child up for their future. Being able to stick with something for a long period of time shows resilience and gives them a determined attitude.
Plus, skateboarding is relatively cheap in regards to other hobbies. True, you’ll have to buy the skateboard and the protective gear, but you won’t have to pay any monthly costs for the skatepark or instructors.
You might be worried that skateboarding is dangerous, and this is an understandable concern that a lot of parents have. However, skating is relatively safe when done correctly.
As long as your child has their protective gear on and you’re watching them closely, they shouldn’t be in any more danger than if they were riding a bike.
If your child is intimidated by the older kids at the skatepark, try to go early in the morning when it’s quieter. However, if your child is interested in the older skaters you could go up to them and introduce them to your kid.
Many advanced skaters like to give tips to young children at the skatepark, so this can be a great way for your child to advance in their journey. Just make sure that you respect skatepark etiquette so that you’re not annoying everyone else there.
How much are children’s skateboards?
There is no way to say how much your child’s skateboard is going to cost without knowing what you’re looking for. Skateboards all differ in price range and abilities, so it’s all about what you’re looking for.
However, most kids prefer to skate around rather than focus on tricks that can be too tricky for their age. So, you can opt for a cheaper model with lower quality materials for this.
Once your child gets a little older you can introduce them to a more expensive board so that they can begin to learn beginner-friendly tricks.
So, while the exact price is unknown for now, you will be looking at around $70 to $90 for your child’s first skateboard. It’s important not to go much lower than this as you don’t want the quality to be so poor that the entire thing falls apart during the first use.
Moreover, your child might decide that skateboarding is not for them and they never want to look at the board again. Before you know it you’re out a considerable amount of money and forced to sell it for a loss.
Once your child gets the hang of skateboarding and wants to pursue it further, you can purchase more expensive parts and swap them for the current pieces on the skateboard to make it more durable.
Opting for a second-hand skateboard
There is always the option of choosing a second-hand skateboard rather than a new one. Many have had success with this, but there are a few things that you need to be wary of.
For starters, the board could have more wear than the previous owner is letting on, meaning that you might have to repair it quite quickly.
If you’re meeting in person to purchase the second-hand skateboard, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that the board is not too damaged for your child to use. These are as follows:
- Spin the wheels once to see how long they will continue to spin. Any shorter than four seconds will indicate that the bearings are rusted or clogged full of debris.
- Look the bearings over for dust and rust, as these could be an indication that the bearings need to be replaced. Replacing them isn’t expensive, but you can bargain with the seller.
- Check the deck over to see if it’s waterlogged or becoming unlaminated. Delamination is not the end of the world, but it will indicate how old the board is.
- Don’t purchase a chipped board as you cannot repair this.
- Choose a board without a razor tail as these can cause deep injuries. This is certainly not what you want near your child who is just learning the craft.
- Make sure that the grip tape is still in good condition and not peeling away.
- Ask the seller to stand on the board and lean back and forwards a couple of times. If the board makes unappealing sounds, you’ll need to replace the bushings. Again, you can bargain with this information.
Second-hand skateboards are an excellent option when looking for a board for your child because they’re inexpensive and you don’t have to worry about your child breaking a brand new board.
Just make sure that you follow our advice above to prevent getting a poor quality board.
Taking care of the skateboard
Skateboards don’t need much maintenance compared to other modes of transportation such as bikes and cars, but looking after the skateboard will ensure a longer lifespan.
Your board should not be getting wet and it should be placed down carefully to prevent chipping the wood.
Don’t leave the board out where the weather can damage it, as rain is one of the most common causes of a waterlogged board. Poor weather conditions will also cause the metal components to rust prematurely.
Delamination can also occur when a board gets too wet. Delamination is when the layers of the wood begin to separate due to the glue holding them together weakening. The wheels will also begin to make funny noises due to leaving it out in the rain.
To maintain your skateboard, clean it every three to four months. Use nail polish remover on the bearings and replace the lubrication cream. To make your wheels last longer, swap the left rear wheel with the right front wheel and the left front wheel with the right rear wheel.
Replacing parts on the board
Depending on how often your child uses their skateboard, the different parts will need to be replaced sooner or later. Every single part of the board can be replaced, so keep an eye out for the telltale signs of wear and tear.
The majority of skateboards are made from maple wood which is a durable material, but it will still wear down after constant use. The wood at the tail end of the skateboard is particularly susceptible to this, which can chip and become sharp.
This is called razor tail and is very dangerous as it has been known to cause deep wounds in skaters. You definitely don’t want this near your child, so once you see the beginning of razor tail it is time to replace the deck.
Replacing the deck doesn’t have to be expensive, either. Blank decks can cost as little as $15, but they don’t come with the fancy colors and patterns that your kid might enjoy.
Bearings, bushings, wheels, and trucks will all also need to be replaced at some point in the skateboard’s lifecycle. These, again, are not expensive and you can replace them yourself pretty easily.
Never use a toy store skateboard
Toy skateboards might seem like a logical option because your child can play with their skateboard, but this is never the way to go. Toy skateboards are made from cheap materials and are susceptible to breaking very easily.
Yes, they’re inexpensive. But that also means that they’re severely lacking in quality, meaning that you’ll need to replace them within a matter of months or even weeks. A proper skateboard (not even a super expensive one) will outlast a toy skateboard tenfold.
What’s more, toy skateboards can be dangerous to children who want to skate seriously. Toy skateboards are heavy, with poorly spinning wheels that make a lot of noise and have thicker decks that are not as flexible as real skateboards.
Do not opt for a toy skateboard unless it is for an under-five-year-old who is only going to be skating indoors. These boards are not even worth looking at, and we strongly advise against them.
Don’t go for a mini deck
Another type of skateboard to be wary of is the mini-deck board. These are often sold in toy stores and are the smallest skateboards available.
They are targeted to children as they are small, but they are not usable and do nothing more than waste your money.
These boards provide little stability to your kid and therefore put them in a dangerous position while using them. Mini decks are incredibly short in length and width. They look as though a normal skateboard has been zapped with a shrinking machine.
While a mini-deck might look cute and be good for a photo, they are not designed to be ridden properly. Avoid them at all costs and opt for either a child-sized or adult-sized skateboard for your kid.
Don’t forget the protective gear!
It goes without saying that you need to choose the correct protective gear for your child when buying them a skateboard. If you go to a skatepark, you’ll see plenty of kids not wearing any protective gear.
Don’t be this type of parent. Skateboarding is only as safe as you make it for your child, so choose to be responsible. Kids don’t necessarily see the danger in riding without a helmet or knee pads, so you need to make sure that they’re always protected.
At the very least, your child should be wearing a helmet. Elbow and knee pads are also recommended as well as wrist guards. Make sure that all of this gear is the correct size so that it cannot slip and fail to protect your child.
The helmet should also be comfortable enough that your child does not mind wearing it for the entire duration of their skate. It might be worth taking your child to the store to pick out their own helmet so that they feel comfortable wearing it rather than embarrassed.
The correct shoes for your child to wear
Finally, let’s talk about the footwear that your child should be wearing when they’re skating. You don’t necessarily have to purchase new shoes for your child to wear while they skate, but we would recommend it.
The shoes should be flexible so that your kid can feel the skateboard underneath their feet. Sneakers are fine for when they’re just starting out with skateboarding, but you might want to consider a pair of real skate shoes as they get older and more advanced.
Vans and Lakai offer some great skate shoes, which have a good grip and wide soles to help the skater keep their footing on the board. Skate shoes are also often padded to keep the feet as comfortable as possible without hindering your performance.
Stay away from the fashion brands, even if they offer skate shoes, such as Nike and Adidas. There are many complaints online from skaters saying that these shoes are designed to look nice rather than aid their skating performance.
We hope that you’ve learned something valuable about how to choose your child a skateboard from our article.
Almost every skateboard comes with the basic anatomy - deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, grip tape, and bushings. These are the parts that you’re looking out for when trawling the market for your child’s skateboard.
Kids can begin skateboarding at the age of 5 and upwards. It’s not recommended that children lower than the age of 5 skateboard because their muscles are still quite weak and they don’t have the ability to control the board yet.
Your child’s skateboard doesn’t always need to be kid-sized, as adult-sized skateboards come in 7 to 8 inches width too. As long as your child can stand with both feet on the bolts on either side of the skateboard without straining, they can ride it.
Many parents prefer an adult-sized board because it offers more stability and space for your child to balance on. Once your child begins learning how to steer; however, a child-sized board will be best.
Complete skateboards save you time and money, but self-assembling your own board could offer you and your child a great bonding experience.
Plus, you’ll be able to create their dream board. Soft wheels are always best for kids as it prevents them from falling off the board every time they go over bumpy terrain.
There are so many benefits that come from skateboarding - exercise, fun, socialization, and bonding with their parents. If your child is interested in skateboarding, we highly recommend getting them started. It’s also a relatively inexpensive sport.
Kids skateboards don’t have to be as expensive as the top-of-the-range offerings on the market. You could also opt for a second-hand skateboard, but remember to look for the warning signs that we mentioned earlier.
Teach your child how to take care of their skateboard and get them involved when you need to replace new pieces on the board.
Never buy a skateboard from a toy store! They’re dangerous and a waste of money. Mini decks are also unrideable and a waste of money, so don’t be drawn in by the cute size.
Get your child into the habit of wearing their protective gear and the correct shoes for skateboarding. Encourage them to pick out their own protective gear so that they’re more inclined to wear it. Remember, skateboarding isn’t dangerous as long as it’s done properly.