The sun is shining, school is out, and it is time for fun! If your home is anything like mine, bikes, scooters, roller skates, and skateboards are being dusted off from their winter homes and are ready for daily use. My family loves to ride bikes together, both on the camping trails and around the neighborhood. Summer is a time for creating lasting memories – but hopefully one of them is not a trip to the emergency department! Fortunately, taking some safety precautions can help to lessen the risk of sustaining an injury (particularly head injury) during the course of your biking adventures.
Wear a Helmet Every Time
Helmets should be worn any time your child is on a bike. Yes, even if only riding down the street. Many accidents happen within close proximity to home – in driveways, on sidewalks – so it is important to keep your head protected whenever you ride. Plus, wearing a helmet every time they ride will help children develop the good habit. In fact, everyone in the family should wear a helmet when they are riding – yes, that means mom and dad too!
How Should Your Bike Helmet Fit?
Not all helmets are created equal! A helmet must be the right type and fit properly in order to provide protection in the event of an accident. Helmets are made differently for different activities. For instance, a football helmet is not designed to protect the head during the types of falls typically sustained while bike riding. Helmets should be worn level and cover the forehead. The straps should always be fastened and tightened so that the helmet stays securely in place.
Riding a bike that is the right size for your child can help to keep them safe. Your child should be able to sit on the seat of the bike, with their hands on the handlebars, and place the balls of both feet on the ground. Before setting off on the first ride of the season you should check to make sure your child’s bike is in good working order:
- Make sure the seat, handlebars, and wheels are tightly secured.
- Check and oil the chain regularly.
- Ensure the breaks are working properly (and NOT sticking).
- Check the tires to make sure the tire pressure is correct.
Wear Bright Colors
Wearing bright colors and ensuring that bikes have reflectors helps other people on the road see your children – particularly at dusk or night time!
Bike riding and being active has many benefits for both physical and mental health. Following these safety tips can help ensure that you and your children stay safe while enjoying your time together on the road or the trails!
To learn more about bike safety, or to schedule a free helmet fitting or home safety consultation, contact Safety Stop at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.