Bicycle riding is one of our great childhood pastimes. The first bike; the day the training wheels come off; the first ride on a two-wheeler. Each an exciting milestone. Bicycle safety ensures that we enjoy all the fun that comes with riding. Let’s review.
Is This My Bicycle?
Until the age of 4 years, children can ride appropriately sized tricycles or bikes with training wheels. For most children, by the time they reach 4-8 years of age, they have developed the skills necessary to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. However, we don’t want to push our children until they are ready. Take into account your child’s coordination and their desire to learn to ride a two-wheeler.
Bring your child with you when shopping for a bike. Let them sit on the bike to try it out and make sure it is the correct fit. Sitting on the seat with both hands on the handlebars, your child should be able to touch the ground with the balls of the feet. Do not buy your child an oversized bike. These greatly increase the risk of falls and injury.
The first bike should have Coaster brakes. These are brakes that are controlled by the pedals. Handbrakes may be used by older children who are able to comfortably grasp them and are strong enough to pull them and stop the bike.
Where’s My Helmet?
Helmets prevent serious injury. They should always be worn no matter how long or short the trip. Most bicycle injuries happen close to home, even in our own driveways. Let’s get our children in the habit of wearing helmets early. Let’s set the proper example for our children by wearing helmets ourselves. Remember to wear them on every single ride.
Bicycle helmets are designed to protect us from the most common types of bike falls. Helmets from other sports, such as hockey or football, are not designed quite the same way. Make sure to purchase a helmet specifically for bike riding. It should have a label inside certifying that it meets CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) safety standards.
The helmet should sit squarely on top of the head. It should not be tipped frontward or backward. The strap should be fastened and fit snugly with 2 fingers able to slip between the chin and the strap. Let your child try the helmet on to make sure it is comfortable.
Are We Ready?
Before letting our children ride, we should review some rules. Younger children should ride only with adults and never on the street. Groups should stick together.
The decision to allow older children to ride in the street, or without adult supervision, is an individual one. The child’s riding proficiency and maturity, and the traffic patterns, should all be taken into consideration. Once the decision has been made, instruct your child appropriately.
Stop and look both ways before entering the street. Always ride with traffic, not against it. Stop and look all ways at every intersection. Do not ride at night.
Now Are We Ready?
Once we have firmly established all of our safety measures, we are ready to ride. Let’s not forget why we love to ride. We ride to have fun, to spend time with family and friends, and to exercise. Enjoy!!
Comments? Questions? Contact us at Kid Care Pediatrics