The weather is getting warmer, and that means kids will be spending more time outside. While the extra exercise is great for kids as they head into summer vacation, parents need to keep their safety a priority – especially when they are out riding their bikes. May is National Bike Month, and whether your child has training wheels or is an experienced rider, as their parent you want to be sure they are riding safely.
“Bike safety is easy to overlook, but statistics have shown that something as simple as wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury by eighty-five percent,” says Lisa Schwing, RN, trauma program manager at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “It is important for parents to teach their children how to be safe bike riders at a young age so they will have less to worry about once they get older.”
As we observe National Bike Month this May, take a look at how you can keep your child safe with these four easy steps.
- Wear a properly fitting helmet. It is the single most effective way to reduce head injury from bicycle accidents. Although you may not have worn one as a kid, you should still teach your children to wear one! The helmet should be the right size and fit comfortably. Helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. The helmet should not come over your child’s eyes which could affect their vision when riding. Your children’s helmet should meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s standards. When it is time to purchase a new helmet, let your children pick out their own so they will be more likely to wear it for every ride.
- Model and teach good behavior. Kids learn from watching their parents, so make sure you are wearing a helmet too. Teach your children to look before crossing a street and to only ride their bikes on a path or sidewalk so they are safely out of the road.
- Keep an eye out. Actively supervise children until you believe that they are responsible enough to ride on their own.
- Use lights. As the days get longer and the kids are out playing later, it is important to have a light on your child’s bike and have them home before dusk. Teach your child the importance of using the bike light and how it can protect them from harm.
By taking some time to go over these simple rules of bike safety, you can focus on enjoying the warm weather and having fun with your kids!