The world’s first ‘inline skate’ for children has been born.
It was developed by a mother-and-daughter team at the University of California, San Francisco, and its creator, Dr Sarah Darnell, says it’s the perfect addition to her daughter’s growing collection of roller skaters.
Dr Darnel is a pediatrician and mother-of-two who was also the lead designer of the original, more affordable ‘rolling ballerina’ skates.
She hopes her latest creation will help to make it easier for kids to get up and down the steps without the assistance of a roller.
‘The roller is very sensitive to bumps and scratches, so you can put the foot in, put the heel in, and you can use the toes to pick up a ball,’ Dr Dornell said.
‘You’re also very careful about it because if you’re trying to roll up a steep slope, you can accidentally roll the toe into a slope.’
Dr Dennell is currently working on her second prototype, which she hopes will be ready to ship in 2019.
‘I love it because it’s really easy to put the roller on, but you can still get down and go in the same direction as you’re going,’ she said.
The ‘roller’ she’s referring to is a pair of roller pads, one on each side of a child’s feet, that are designed to glide along the ground and pick up the ball when they hit a bump or a sharp corner.
They are made of a durable plastic that is resistant to the impacts of the hard surface they’re on, and will not bend.
‘It’s super flexible, it’s super strong, and it’s very quiet.
It feels like it could be in a pocket on your wrist,’ Dr. Darnett said.
So what’s the downside?
While the roller skate is a fantastic addition to a childs growing collection, its potential downside is that it can’t be used by parents to help their child to get down the stairs.
Dr. Robert L. Dyer, a child neurologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, agrees.
‘For my daughter, it makes it difficult for her to get to the steps.
She’s 6 or 7 years old and she’s been playing with it and it doesn’t do that,’ he said.
In order to help her, Dr Dyer says parents should simply pick up their child and then gently push the roller into the foot.
‘Just make sure it’s not touching her foot,’ Dr Lyer said.
It is also important to note that these ‘roller skates’ will not be worn on the feet or legs of children under six years old.
They will be worn in a protective suit.
Dr Lyers daughter also needs to wear the skates on her back, because the ‘roller can easily roll up under her.’
So, is the new skate for you?
‘It really is a lot more fun than it looks like,’ Dr David K. Davis, an associate professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, said.
He believes it is the first time parents will be able to get their child up and moving at the same time, and that it’s a better alternative to other traditional methods of getting down stairs.
‘Children are a little nervous, they’re a little scared of heights, and they’re very excited about this,’ he added.
‘They’re happy to be in the environment with this.’