Being on a bicycle gives your child a chance to exercise and develop self confidence but it's important that they know the importance of safety.
- Each year more than half of all bicyclist deaths occur to school age kids (ages 5-15)
- Most bicyclist deaths occur from bicycle-motor vehicle collisions. Children under the age of 8 may think that cars can stop instantly - they have difficulty judging how fast traffic is moving.
- Head injuries are the most serious type and the most common cause of death among bicyclists.
What Parents Can Do
- Buy your child an approved CPSC bike helmet.
- Let your child pick out the helmet and be sure it's worn every time your child rides his or her bike.
- Set the example by wearing your helmet.
- Make sure the bike fits your child. Your child should be able to straddle the bike with both feet flat on the ground while stopped, and the feet should rest flat on the pedals when your child sits on the seat.
- Teach your child to stop and look left-right-left before entering the road.
- If your child rides in the road, teach him or her the rules of the road.
- Never allow your child to ride at night or with headphones on.
- Let your child know the safe places that he or she can ride, places such as parks, schools, bike trails and sidewalks.
- Have him or her ride in places with little traffic and with adult supervision.
Fitting a Bike Helmet
Traumatic brain injuries are not curable. Protect the ones you love with a helmet
Put the helmet on the head so it sits evenly between the ears and rests low on the forehead - it should only be about 1-2 finger widths above the eyebrows.
Put foam pads inside the helmet so it feels comfortable but really snug. Usually the helmet includes more than one size of foam pads that can be Velcroed inside the helmet for a better fit.
Tighten the chin strap as snugly as possible. Adjust the junction of front and back straps just under the ears and secure back strap without putting pressure on the front strap.
Allow as much as a half hour to get a proper helmet fit. If fitting your child, don't try to rush it as they are trying to go outside to ride. Do it while he or she is watching TV or is relaxed and you have plenty of time. Then secure the adjustments so the helmet is ready for the next ride.
Remember that helmets need to be worn with other sports also: rollerblading, skateboarding and snow skiing.