You bought a gleaming pair of roller skates, rollerblades, a skateboard, hoverboard, kick scooter, or electric scooter for your kiddo. Now what? Get them well-fitting, child-focused protective gear for this thrilling outdoor pursuit. Get them a dual certified helmet as this will keep their noggins nice and safe no matter where their kiddo adventures take them.
Related: Best Bike Helmets for Kids
But don’t stop there. Get them a pair of the best kids knee pads and elbow pads out there. The best may not be the cheapest or most affordable options, but they do a great job of covering young knee caps and saving them from cuts, bruises, and scrapes.
And if your child is still crawling and you’d like to give them a helping hand, get them the best crawling knee pads for babies and toddlers.
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Want to know who came out on top?
The OutdoorMaster 6-in-1 Protective Kids’ Pads did. This pick is a steal, and it includes every pad type your kid needs to practice with confidence (knee pads, elbow pads, and wristguards).
Its ergonomic design fits comfortably, and the pads are like sleeves with long straps. Your LO gets their leg or hand in, fastens the velcro straps, and the pads stay there until they take them off at the end of playtime.
The bad? the velcro becomes fuzzy after multiple uses, which is normal. Plus the fabric could be sturdier.
Do Kids Really Need Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wristguards?
Emphatically YES. When kids are out there pushing their limits navigating skate park ramps, rails, and bowls, riding a BMX bike, kicking a scooter, or whatever, they’re at risk of getting knee scrapes, head injuries, elbow bruises, broken wrists, and other injuries.
According to this study published in the National Library of Medicine, safety gear does not fully protect against injuries BUT help to an appreciable extent. In every instance, it’s better to wear wrist guards, knee pads, elbow pads, and a protective helmet than to play unprotected.
Interesting Skating Injury Statistics
While researching for this resource, I did bump into a bunch of interesting inline skating mishaps data and decided to share the stats with you.
Well, kids and adults fall a lot. I know you don’t want to hear this, mom/dad, but I’m gonna say it because it’s the truth. Falls skateboarding or doing stunts with the best pro scooter for kids are inevitable. Since you don’t want your kiddo to stay at home watching mindless TV, make sure their knees, elbows, wrists, and head stay protected throughout riding sessions.
Data Point #1: Wrist Injuries Are the Most Common Kind of Rollerblading Injuries
Few people and even trainers ever talk about the importance of wrist guards. Everyone seems to think that wearing a helmet and a pair of knee pads is enough. But the data I saw shows otherwise. While very few skaters and other riders wear wrist guards, wrist injuries (mostly fractures) are the most common kind of inline skating injuries.
Data Point #2: Wrist Fractures Happen a Lot
Of all fractures that the study above looked at, a staggering 25 percent affected the wrists.
What to do with this information: Keep your kiddo’s wrists protected with a good fitting pair of wristguards.
Data Point #3: Not Wearing Adequate Safety Gear is a BAD Idea
Of the 161 injured inline skaters interviewed in the study, only 7 percent wore ALL types of safety gear for inline skating and a whooping 46 percent wore zero gear.
Lesson: Wearing all of the safety gear for outdoor fun may not protect you 100% of the time. However, not wearing any protective gear at all dramatically increases the odds of getting injured.
What to do about it: Stop allowing that playful tyke to get out the door without ALL of the safety gear needed for skating or biking or hoverboarding or whatever. Make sure they wear a highly protective helmet (always a certified one in my book), wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads.
Data Point #4: Not Using Knee Pads Didn’t Correlate with a Significant Increase in Knee Injury
I must say that I didn’t expect to find data like this. I mean, this post is about the best knee pads and elbow pads for kids. But what’s the data point saying, really? It says that while not wearing knee pads didn’t significantly bump up knee injury risk, it did so to some extent. This ultimately means that your knees are better off with knee pads than without.
Data Point #5: Elbow Injury Risk Increases Significantly When Not Wearing Elbow Pads and Doing Tricks
The study noted a significant association between elbow injury and not wearing elbow pads especially when performing inline skating tricks. I’ve not looked at data specific to biking, scooting, roller skating, and other outdoor sports, but I suspect the data wouldn’t deviate much from the data above.
Conclusion of the Study
I’ve not included every data point the research noted down, but it’s enough data to have you do the right thing: insist on wearing all of the gear your kiddo owns before they hit the skate park, sidewalk, parking lot, tennis court, boardwalk, or wherever they else they ride their two-wheeled contraption.
The results from the research indicated that wrist guards and elbow pads are effective safety gear as far as providing protection against injuries. And while not wearing knee pads may not put your kiddo at a significantly greater risk of knee injury, there’s a certain amount of association that parents shouldn’t ignore.
Wearing a Protective Gear Boosts Confidence Around Play
Safety gear not only protects young knees, elbows, wrists, and heads, but it also boosts the child’s confidence around the sport in question. A child with adequate protective gear knows they’ll fall, but they also know that the gear will lessen or even prevent pain. Having this comforting thought at the back of a kid’s mind may encourage them to get out and exercise and to get back up if they fall, which they will.
We all keep seeing expert skaters and other outdoors people teaching beginner lessons on YT without safety gear. And it’s easy to think that skating or scooting or biking without safety gear is cool.
But we forget that these are experts; that’s why they teach. And they definitely know how to bail and “fall better” every time a crash shows up.
But wearing protective won’t help much if your kid doesn’t know how to ride a bike. Here’s a resource that describes a training method that’ll enable you to teach them to bike in 2 hours tops. Inexperienced motorists cause accidents, and inexperienced bicyclists hurt others and get broken limbs.
How to Choose the Best Kids’ Protective Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wrist Guards
Below is a detailed buying guide to help you pick a well-fitting pad set for your LO. If it’s not comfortable and doesn’t fit properly, using safety gear for roller skating or rollerblading or whatever isn’t one bit different than not using any gear at all.
Size Matters: How to Size Kids’ Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wrist Guards
So how do you know your kid’s knee pad size? Knee pad and elbow pad sizes vary greatly. A size Small from one skate brand for instance may work for your kiddo while the same size from a different brand may have a poor fit. This is where reading user reviews helps.
Manufacturers indicate protective pad sizes the same way they indicate sizing for other riding gear such as helmets: Small (S), XS (Extra Small), L (Large), and XL (Extra Large).
How to Size Kids’ Knee Pads: For most brands, simply measure the circumference of your child’s knee using a tape measure 4 inches/10cm below and above the knee cap and pick the closest knee pad size per the provided knee pad size chart. Take a look at this resource to see how different outdoor brands do knee pad sizing.
How to Size Kids’ Elbow Pads: With some brands such as 187, all you need to do is get the elbow circumference and match this number with the provided elbow sizing chart from that brand.
Some brands need you to measure the circumference at a certain distance above and below the elbow (usually 10-15cm/4″-6″ and match the readings with the given size chart.
Here’s a general elbow sizing guide for you. Other brands such as G-Form want you to measure at the widest portion of the bicep as well as 5″-6″ below the elbow. I told you protective pads sizing is all over the place!
How to Size Wrist Guards for Kids: Some brands such as 187 say to measure palm circumference and match the reading with the provided size chart.
Others such as Smith Safety Gear need you to measure the wrist circumference while skate brands like TSG and Triple Eight want parents to measure their kid’s knuckle circumference. ProTec wants you to take the circumference measurement 7.5cm/3″ above the wrist. Here’s a wrist guard sizing guide for a bunch of skate brands.
In the end, the best way to size knee pads, elbow pads, and wristguards is to follow the exact measuring steps given by the manufacture and compare the figure you obtain with the size chart numbers. Reminder: be sure to pore through user reviews to learn how specific models fit before purchasing.
Your kiddo needs knee pads that fit nice and snug. It should fit snug enough that it stays in place rather than sliding all over the place during use. [Kiddofreedom.com]
Type of Material Used and Comfort
Some pads are made of a tough stretchy fabric and are super comfortable to wear and simple to use. MTB knee pads are made of this kind of material. Of course, there should be ample padding around the knee cap and elbow for protection.
The protective part of the pad is often made of tough, impact-dampening foam or polyurethane, and the padding is designed to bend with the knee. Being highly flexible makes sleeve pads more comfortable than hard-shell ones. This quality also promotes blood circulation instead of cutting it off.
Others are made of a really hard plastic shell (hard-shell style pads) and a tough material such as polyester with tightening/fit adjustment straps.
These ones may not always fit well, but when they do, they protect amazing well. They also tend to be more affordable compared to sleeve-style options. However, hard-shell knee pads tend to be a tad stiff and less comfortable than sleeve-style ones.
The main material needs to be reasonably breathable since riding a kick scooter, a skateboard, or anything else causes sweating.
Durability and Ease of Care
Good knee pads should also be durable and easy to wash. Some pads can be machine-washed while others can’t be. Be sure to read the care instructions and do per the manufacturer’s care advice.
Others such as those with a hard plastic outer shell aren’t machine-washable. To clean dirty non-machine washable protective pads, mix hot water with white vinegar and soak the pads for about 30 minutes. Then, kneed the padding to get the dirt out while killing bacteria and mold if there’s any. Finally, rinse with cold water and air dry.
Price and Brand: Which Are the Best Protective Pads Brands?
JBM, 187, Triple Eight, ProTec, TSG, G-Form, Simply Kids, Troy Lee, and a bunch of other brands are all good ones. They have good reviews online as far as protection, fit, and comfort.
Be sure to read reviews of the particular pad set your kiddo wants before buying. It’s the only way to know how well or poorly it might fit and protect your little one.
As for price, budget protective pads for kids cost as low as $20. If shopping for a crawling pad set, you can get $8 deals at Amazon and other online stores. But the best of the best kids’ knee and elbow protective gear cost well over $50. Remember, fit and comfort are more important considerations than price and brand.
5 Best Kids’ Protective Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wrist Guards
Here’s what you came here for: a nice little list of kids’ protective pads for knees, elbows, and wrists. Let’s dive right in and see what’s on the list.
1. Simply Kids Innovative Soft Kids Knee & Elbow Pads: Least Movement-hindering
These versatile knee pads/elbow pads look just like children’s knee pads — nice colors paired with cute prints. And they fit well if you choose the right size band for your kiddo.
Testing by CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) found them to be a safe choice for active kids. The stitching is even and sturdy, and the pads are tough and durable. Well, they won’t last forever, but they certainly won’t tear in a week.
Simply Kid’s so-called 3-layer construction design brings together one layer of 0.3″ EVA foam and two layers of neoprene with a combined thickness of 0.48″. This results in a reasonably dense protective padding (almost a full inch of protection) placed where protection matters most — knee caps and elbows.
These pads are available in 3 different sizes: Ages 2-4, 4-8, and 8-11. The package also includes cycling gloves no matter the size you buy, but they run small.
We bought the Medium size for our 5-year-old nephew for biking. This size band should fit kids in the 4-8 age range, but from as far as we can see, they might be too tight for kids older than 6.
The knee pads and elbow pads fit him fine, and the elbow pads run long for better arm protection. Sturdy, adjustable Velcro straps adjust for a snug fit, and they stay in place once secured. The neoprene/EVA foam protective pads are quite firm yet flexible and in no way hinder movement.
But we couldn’t get the bike gloves to fit. We pulled the gloves up trying to help him put them on, and he meanwhile pushed in his hands. But nothing helped.
No, we didn’t return the purchase because the knee pads and elbow pads fit fine. Besides, the little rider owns several pairs of good cycling gloves.
- Tough, flexible, protective pads for biking and skating
- Sold in all kinds of cute prints
- Great parent reviews online
- A pair o fingerless cycling gloves included
- Price point reasonable
- Gloves run small (at least size medium for 4-8 yos)
- Pads may not fit kids older than 6
2. Simply Kids Hard-Shell Knee&Elbow Pads & Wristguards: Best for Young Skaters
The beautiful thing about hard-shell knee pads and elbow pads is that they’re highly protective. Pretty much every skateboarder, inline skater, and roller skater I know favors pads with a hard outer shell over other choices.
Even though I own sleeve-style protective pads and hard-shell ones, I’ve found the latter more protective especially for harder falls.
You go down in a crash. And what does the hard pavement find when it finally connects with your knee? It gets a hard, protective cover with tons of thick, invisible-but-there padding.
If your kid falls while skateboarding or roller skating and they have these CPSIA & EN1420-certfied pads on, they’ll simply slide off the surface. They’ll then get back up without a cut or bruise. Unless the pad’s protective portion moved out of position, which it didn’t for our little tester.
I measured the little dude’s palmar circumference at 7″, knee circumference at 9″, and elbow circumference at 8″. He fell within size Small, and that’s what we ordered. Below is the size chart for the Simply Kids Hardsoft Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wristguards.
Note: Different companies have different instructions on how to measure for elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads so be sure to follow the company’s directions.
When these protective pad sets arrived from Amazon, I found in the box: 1 pair of hard-shell knee pads, 1 pair of hard-shell elbow pads, and a pair of wristguards. We helped him wear them, and they fit nicely.
They didn’t fit awkwardly as do some hard-shell options. And while they felt a tad stiff at first, our young tester soon got used to how they worked.
He’s taken a tumble off his mountain bike since then. And the pads did a great job protecting his knee caps and elbow joints. He likely wouldn’t have gotten away without bruises if he’d not padded up.
The straps maintain a nice and snug fit. And the protective parts of the pads don’t move around. We’ve not seen him adjust them once after putting them on. As for the wristguards, they’re solid and stay in place.
- CPSIA & EN14120 certified
- A hard-shell design with great protection
- Velcro-based closure that makes the pads to stay on
- Great price point for the fit and quality
- Helpful and responsive Simply Kids employees (especially Aaron)
- Pads might feel stiff initially, but that’s natural with this pad type
3. G-Form Pro-X Youth Knee Pads: Most Comfortable&Breathable
The G-Form Youth Knee pads look and work differently than the Simple Kids’ pads.They’re essentially sleeves with foamy padding attached where needed via stitching.
Before a fall, this sleeve’s protective polyurethane/rubber material around the knee cap and elbow feels soft and flexible. Because the foam’s molecules keep moving rather than sticking together.
But upon impact, these molecules instantly cluster, stiffening the pads up. The now stiffer, compact pads absorb impact energy and redistribute it away from the impact point, saving the knee.
Finally, the clustered molecules in the rubbery protective material resume their original state. Fascinating knee and elbow protection technology (SmartFlex Technology). To be clear though, G-Form isn’t the only brand utilizing this sort of tech.
Here’s the thing — your kid needs to wear this super breathable, lightweight, protective gear set every time they’re out riding recreationally.
These aren’t for any kind of hardcore riding such as Downhill or dirt jumping. They’re for lighter abuse Like when you’re turning around a bend at speed. Or when biking around the neighborhood. Or soccer. Or skateboarding.
These pads don’t always stay up. They ride up and down as you pedal. One reviewer suggested bringing the top and bottom hems closer together. Doing this causes the padded area to rest somewhat loosely over the knee. This way, the pads creep down on the rider less.
My son wears these because they’re super comfortable and breathable for riding a skateboard and street-style BMX. He likes that he can wear them under jeans because they’re form-fitting.
And that he can ride for hours without the pads becoming uncomfortable. But he needs to pull them up frequently, which isn’t fun.
Kid’s versions are available in 2 sizes XS and S. To measure your kid for G-Form Youth Knee Pads, pass the tape around the widest portion of the biceps. To get the forearm measurement, measure about 5″-6″ below the elbow. For thigh measurement, measure at inch 6 above the kneecap, and when measuring calf circumference, pass the tape or thread around the thickest section.
Use this size chart for G-Form knee pads and elbow pads to decide whether your kiddo need size XS or S. Experience shows that these pads work better for older kids and teens and not the youngest riders.
- Looks cool and lets little knees breathe
- Super comfortable and machine washable
- Form-fitting: your kiddo can wear them under jeans
- Protective foam pad firmly sewn onto the sleeve
- Ergonomic design makes for restriction-free range of movement
- Some users have had the stitching give up and the padded area come off
- Not the most protective for hardcore mountain biking and dirt jumping
4.OutdoorMaster Elbow Pads & Knee Pads: Best Value and Top Pick
Many options are basically surface pads + plus Velcro. But these OutdoorMaster protective gear sets have your kiddo pushing their limb in and then fastening the straps that loop around the knee or elbow.
For this reason, these pads stay on no matter how hard your kiddo romps around. Your kiddo can use to learn to ride bikes, scooters, hoverboards, skateboards, and whatnot.
But are these pads durable? Well, the fabric could be more durable. Some users have noticed that the material sometimes comes apart around the seams. Also, the velcro might not stay reliable for long because it tends to get fuzzy over time.
But isn’t that normal for velcro closures? Besides, you can replace fuzzy velcro inexpensively. For the price, I can’t complain too much.
Sizes: Small fits 3-7 year olds while Medium fits 8-12 year olds. Fit issues aren’t common. Simply measure your kid’s elbow, knee, and palmer circumference and calculate the right size. Here’s the size chart of the OutdoorMaster knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist pads.
For a sub-$20 price point, you’re getting well-fitting hard-shell knee pads, elbow pads, and even wristguards. *I noticed that Amazon offers better pricing than OutdoorMaster, so definitely buy at Amazon.
I’ve yet to find another deal that packs as much value as this one! Yea, the Simply Kids Hardsoft Pads offer as much value (a 6-in-1 deal: 2 knee, 2 elbow, &2 wrist pads. But they’re pricier.
But there’s one noticeable design difference: the plastic shell of the OutdoorMaster pads has a more curved look vs. a flatter look for the Simply Kids pads. This more ergonomic design of the OutdoorMaster pads could be why they fit better.
The pointier knee shape seems like it could catch on obstacles in a wipeout. I’ve not seen any supporting evidence for my little theory though.
But I’m not the only one who feels like gear with sticking edges could compromise safety. A whole bunch of riders out there believe a more oval-shaped bike helmet could catch on stuff during a crash. Again, no evidence. Just fears.
- A better-fitting, ergonomic pad design
- A super attractive price point
- Great value for money: 2 knee pads, 2 wristguards, and 2 elbow pads
- Hard-shell design & full limb-covering design with long enough straps
- Velcro straps become fuzzy with time
- Fabric quality could be better
5. Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Knee & Elbow Pads: Best for Toddlerhood Up to Age 4
Back in the day, Nickelodeon dominated kids TV. Not anymore. But if you think kids lost interest in all those Nickelodeon super heroes, you’re mistaken. They’re watching them elsewhere — online.
But I’m pretty sure there’s many little ones who’re tired of watching other heroes when they could practice hard and become heroes themselves. And how could they practice when they’re 100% vulnerable to knee injuries and elbow injuries?
The Nickelodeon Paw Patrol reminding kids that nothing is too hard in this life. That no job is too big if they pad up, get on their bike or roller skates and ride like a little demon.
These kids’ protective pads come in all kinds of patterns, colors, and graphics that make kids want to get out and play really hard.
They’re ultra-lightweight too so that even the youngest rider can enjoy the amazing outdoor life. You get a pair of knee pads, toddler elbow pads, and a pair of gloves.
And if you’re wondering what the fit is like, they’re for kids as young as 2 years (toddlers) and older kids up to age 4. They have velcro for adjusting down to a more comfortable, secure fit. And they should work well for most kids in the 2-4 range as long as you fasten the straps properly.
One quibble I have is padding quality. It’s not solid padding and you shouldn’t expect it to last long if your little one falls a lot.
We bought this one when one of our sons (3 years) was learning to bike. He took a spill, and the “bump” around the knees all but burst. We probably should have bought the hard-shell version of this product, but it costs double the price.
His little knees? Not a bruise or scrape. But I had to buy knew knee pads for him, a different brand this time round.
- kiddo-friendly graphics and colorways
- A pair of gloves included
- Attractive price point
- A hard-shell version available (but at double the price)
- Knee pads not ideal for hard falls
Kids’ Knee Pads, Elbow Pads, and Wristguards FAQs
If I omitted a question you feel I should have answered, tell me about it in the comments section below.
What Are the Best Knee Pads and Elbow Pads for Kids?
The best knee pads and elbow pads are those that fit extremely well while offering great protection to the body part they’re covering. So, get the sizing right and pick something built for abuse.
If you’re looking for recommendations, I believe that the G-Form and Troy Lee Youth Pads are some of the finest options for mountain biking and BMX. For toddlers, the Strider Pad Set works pretty well. OutdoorMaster, JBM, and Triple Eight are also great brands when it comes to kids’ protective knee pads.
Can You Wear Elbow Pads as Knee Pads?
You can wear elbow pads as knee pads AS LONG they fit well. However, elbow pads aren’t ergonomically designed to work as knee pads and vice versa. It’s best to use the correct padding for the correct body part you’re wanting to protect.
Are Elbow Pads and Knee Pads the Same Thing?
No, elbow pads and knee pads are not one and the same thing. They may look similar and fit interchangeably in some cases, but they’re different pieces of safety gear designed to serve different purpose. Be sure to choose appropriate pad sets for your little one.
Why Should My Kid Wear Protective Pads Skating or Biking?
Because riding any kind of contraption leads to falls some of the time, and injuries happen. Kids need protective pads to cushion falls and protect their knee pads, elbows, and wrists against different kinds of impacts. They also need a good helmet, one designed to offer great coverage while not being too heavy and bulky or being prohibitively pricey.
Are Simply Kids Knee Pads Good?
Yes, Simply Kids knee pads and elbow pads are good and offer decent protection. However, they’re not the best options out there. But for the price, you get decent knee pads and elbow pads that do the job for casual riders.
How Much Do Kids Protective Pads Cost?
How much you end up paying for a kid’s protective pads depends on the overall quality, pad design and purpose, and where you’re buying them from. If you buy a pair of high-quality knee and elbow sleeves for mountain biking from G-Form or Toy Lee, expect to pay $45-$60.
But if you buy simple toddler protective pads from Simply Kids, you can end up spending as little as $20-ish. You want to focus on fit and comfort rather than cost or even brand though.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.