Bike safety starts with a helmet!
Helmets each and every time you and your child ride a bike, skate or skateboard! Helmets are a non-negotiable rule…show your kids that this rule is cool!
When the weather is nice, and you are looking for family fun, bike rides are the perfect answer. Before everyone jumps on their bike, the most important factor to consider is safety.
- All children age 1 and older should wear a bike helmet when carried on a bike in a seat, behind a bike in a trolley, or on their own bike. Studies show that serious head injuries in bike, roller blading or skateboarding accidents decrease by 85% when helmets are worn. www.bhsi.org/little1s.htm
- Make sure your child wears a helmet EVERY time they ride a bike, roller blade or skateboard, even short rides on the sidewalk. Most accidents happen close to home and wearing a helmet has to become a habit.
- Helmets were a rule at our house. We had an extra helmet for friends that came over to play!
- When purchasing a helmet be sure that it meets CPSC (consumer product safety commission) standards. There will be a sticker that says this on the helmet.
- Let your child pick out the color of the helmet and even decorate it with stickers, this may encourage its use!
- A helmet should sit level on your child’s head. It should not slide forward or backward. Movement more than an inch front to back or side to side means the helmet is too loose. Help your child learn to fasten and unfasten the buckle of the chin strap, the strap must always be fastened.
- Use the sizing pads that come with the helmet to get a tight fit. A bike store will often fit the helmet for you.
- Helmets should always be replaced after a bike crash. There could be obvious damage to the helmet, or damage to the inner foam that you cannot see.
- Bike helmets today are not heavy or hot. The average helmet weighs about 7 to 14 ounces and has good ventilation to allow heat to escape.
- Bike helmets are relatively inexpensive. Discount stores carry them and sporting stores and bike shops do also. Many local children’s hospitals have safety stores that sell safety equipment for families. Indiana residents can look for the Riley Safety Store which sells bike helmets at cost. www.rileysafetystore.org
- Tell older children that professional bikers wear helmets. It is not just cool but the rules of the sport.
- Make bike helmets a nonnegotiable rule in your house. No bike helmet no bike, skates, or skateboard. Stand firm with the rule.
- Parents wear your helmet; no excuses…set a good example. After all, your head is as important as your child’s!
- Children will be able to ride a tricycle at about age 3. Keep your child on the sidewalk or drive and supervised. Your child should wear a helmet…good habits start at this point!
- Children are not usually ready to ride a 2 wheel bike until age 5 or 6. Coaster brakes are the best choice until the child is older.
- Training wheels should allow the bike to “wobble”; this helps your child learn to balance!
- Do not buy a bike for your child to grow into. Information about safe bicycle fit is found at www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Choosing-the-Right-Size-Bicycle.aspx
- A child under the age of 6 should not ride a bike in the street unattended.
- Children can ride in a bike trailer wearing a helmet at age 1. “Before you put your baby in a bike trailer, she must be able to sit up steadily, and she needs to have a helmet that fits properly,” says Howard Reinstein, a pediatrician in Encino, California, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
- Prior to a year, children do not have enough head and neck control to sit in the trolley without slumping. Helmets are not made for children under a year because they are too heavy for a child to hold their head up right with the helmet.
- The bike trailer should have a 5 point harness for your child.
- Be careful where you ride. Don’t ride with your child in a trailer on busy roads. Recreational paths are best.
- Bike trailers are safer than bike seats mounted on the back of bikes, but trailers are also quite a bit more expensive.
- Do your homework. Read information and ask questions regarding the safest bike trailers on the market. Check out the incidence of roll-overs and the protection your child has from the trailer in case there is a roll-over.
Rear Mounted Bike Seats
- Children under age 1 should not ride in a bike seat mounted on an adult bike.
- If your child has good head and neck control and can sit well unsupported, is older than a year, and has a helmet then it is OK for him to ride in a rear mounted bike seat.
- The seat should be attached securely, have spoke guards, have a secure shoulder harness, lap belt, and a high back. If your child falls asleep, he should be well supported.
- Rear mounted bike seats make a bike unstable. Most injuries occur when parents turn sharply or when they put the child in the seat and are preparing to mount the bike. The unstable bike falls with the child in the seat.
Biking is a great family activity, pedal together but make sure your child is as safe as possible. The best way to protect your child is with a properly fitted helmet that is worn each and every time your child rides…and a helmet that your wear each and every time your child sees you ride!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.
- Posted in: Childhood safety ♦ Enjoying parenting ♦ Growth and Development ♦ Health
- Tagged: bicycle helmet, bicycle rear mounted seat, bicycle safety, bicycle trolley, childhood safety, enjoying parenting, family bonding, growth and development milestones, infant, preschooler, school age, teen years, toddler