A skate park in Guernsey has responded to safety concerns from parents by increasing the minimum age of compulsory use of safety helmets, from 10 years to anyone under 16 years old.

Since the opening of Guernsey's first proper skate park in June 2013, children under 10 have had to be accompanied by an adult and wear a helmet.

From 19 October the skate park will be checked regularly throughout the day to ensure the helmet rule for under 16s is being complied with. The enforcement follows a "constructive debate" about the risk of head injuries when skating conducted by members of the skate park, concerned parents, an orthopeadic surgeon and brain injury charity Headway.

The Guernsey Extreme Sports Association had been planning and raising funds for 11 years to build the skate park, which can only be used by members of the association. Members have been told that those who do not consistently abide by the compulsory safety rules will lose their membership.

Precautions must be taken to protect people from high impact head injuries

Peter Mulhern from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Safety in skate parks is paramount and all precautions must be taken to protect people from high impact head injuries. At Thompsons we represent hundreds of individuals who have suffered brain injuries as a result of tragic accidents, and we work closely with victim support groups including Headway. We have witnessed firsthand how people’s lives drastically change as a result of a head injury, and the use of safety equipment and clothing in preventing catastrophic injuries is of the utmost importance.

“Unfortunately safety messages often go against a culture – not just among young people – where it is ‘un-cool’ to wear a helmet.

“We welcome the steps taken by Guernsey Extreme Sports Association to address the possible risks of head injuries at the stake park by making safety helmets a compulsory measure, and hope this early intervention might be part of a wider aim to educate children of the need to prevent such risks.”