Mom to Mom: Dealing with Wheeling
I did something I think a lot of parents in Phoenix are guilty of doing: I allowed my son to ride his bike while wearing flip flops. Honestly, it’s something I frequently do. Flip flops to my kids are like a second skin. This time, I paid the price. My 9-year-old somehow scraped his foot against the stucco on our house and suffered an injury that required four stitches.
This is the perfect time of year to be active outside and enjoy the nice temperatures. While we might be strict about making sure our kids wear their helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and other protective wear when riding their bikes sometimes basic safety rules get forgotten.
We bought a bike for my daughter over the weekend. After years of hand-me-downs, she graduated to a brand new, sparkly blue seven-speed. She is very proud of her new bike and anxious to ride it. Now each of our kids has a bike and we are starting to plan family rides. But before we do (and especially after Josh’s injury), we decided it was time to discuss some basic safety rules with our children.
I consulted with Cardon Children’s Injury Prevention Coordinator Tracey Fejt, R.N., and she shared the following tips:
- Choose a helmet that meets safety standards.
- Make sure the helmet fits your child and they are wearing it correctly every time they are on their bike. Even riding in the driveway or down the block. Adults also need to wear helmets.
- Make sure the bicycle fits your child so it is easily controlled.
- Teach your children to “Stop and Look Left-Right-Left” before crossing the street, when leaving your driveway or an alley. People in cars don't always see cyclists.
- Always ride on the right side of the street in the same direction as the traffic. Never ride against traffic
- If you're cycling with friends, ride single file.
- Kids 10 and younger should ride on the sidewalks whenever possible.
- Never let your child ride at night or with head phones.
- Let your child know the safe places they can ride: parks, bike trails and sidewalks.
- Never let your child give someone a ride on their bike, like on the handlebars or standing on the back wheel.
- Don’t wear loose clothing that could get caught in the bike and cause your child to lose control.
Tracey also shared some startling statistics with me. For instance, children are nearly 60 percent more likely to die from bicycle crashes at non-intersection locations. She reminds to us make sure to teach younger children to walk their bikes across the street at intersections.
Other sad statistics: bicycles result in more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile. Head injuries account for more than 60 percent of bicycle-related deaths, more than two-thirds of bicycle-related hospital admissions, and about one-third of hospital emergency room visits for bicycling injuries.
With the above rules fresh on their minds, hopefully your family can go out and safely enjoy hours of biking fun.
Mom to Mom is a column written by Mary Parra, an Ahwatukee mother of four and a local journalist.