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Parents urged to protect skateboarders

PUBLISHED: 01:19 29 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:38 03 March 2010

THE ONUS is firmly on parents to ensure their children are protected against injuries while skateboarding –because they can't sue later.

Many using the already-busy Ipswich Skate Park are putting themselves at risk of head injuries by not wearing protective gear.

THE ONUS is firmly on parents to ensure their children are protected against injuries while skateboarding –because they can't sue later.

Many using the already-busy Ipswich Skate Park are putting themselves at risk of head injuries by not wearing protective gear.

And an extreme consequence could be a serious head injury which leaves a youngster in a vegetative state for life.

Stephen Skinner, partner and head of personal injury department for Pretty's solicitors in Ipswich, said anyone taking part in a dangerous or sporting activity has to accept responsibility for their own actions.

However, he said the council has the duty of care to ensure the skate park is not defective in any way, for example that it hasn't been designed in an unsafe way or fallen into disrepair.

As long as the equipment is safe and properly maintained by owners Ipswich Borough Council – the responsibility rests with those using the site.

Notices are already up at the skate park urging children and teenagers to play safe and wear the right clothing.

"We stress that youngsters' safety is a key issue here and all along we have encouraged them to use the necessary safety equipment," said the council spokesman of the site which opened at the start of this week.

He added newsletters have been sent out to all members and information put on the website urging users to wear the right clothing.

Mid-Suffolk District Council's skate park at the recreation ground in Stowmarket has been a rolling success and is one of the most well used outdoor play facilities.

To date the council has not had any experience of anyone suffering serious injury, such as broken limbs.

"Protective clothing must be worn at all times, glass, dogs, smoking and alcohol is strictly prohibited," said Chris Fry, head of leisure and amenities.

"It has been our experience so far that users have observed these rules perhaps because it is such a valued resource."

Meanwhile concerns about crossing the busy road to get to the Ipswich site are already being addressed by the borough council.

A council spokesman said the safety of youngsters going to and from the site is a top priority.

"The council is already looking at a number of improvements, including new crossings, and in the meantime I hope all the youngsters cross safely at the junctions close by."

The purpose-built park beside Stoke Bridge was erected after a three-year campaign and was supported by many people in the community, including The Evening Star.

It came about after a partnership was formed between the Ipswich Skate Park Appeal and Ipswich Borough Council.


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