Story by: Norton Children’s on June 7, 2018
It’s still spring, though it feels like summer. School is out, and kids are out on their bicycles! Your children may be ready, but are their bikes?
Bicycling is a fun activity and good exercise for the whole family, but if safety precautions are not followed it also can be dangerous, especially for children. Young children are five times more likely to be injured in a bicycle crash than riders age 15 and older. Each year, about 100 children are killed in bicycle-related incidents, the majority from head injuries. Another 280,000 riders are treated in emergency rooms.
Children need a safe bicycle. The bike your child rides should not be one that they will “grow into.” It should be appropriate for where he or she is now. Your child should be able to put the balls of both feet on the ground when sitting on the seat.
The bike should have a horn or a bell. A flag also makes it more visible. Keep the bike in good repair by inspecting these parts regularly:
• Wheels – No loose or broken spokes or screws
• Tires – Firm to the touch, with no cuts, cracks or bulges
• Seat – Secure, not wobbly
• Reflectors – Front and rear, fastened tightly, clean and without cracks
• Brakes – Smooth and responsive
• Handlebars – Tight grips on each handle
• Chain – Oiled and tight
Taking time to make sure your child’s helmet still fits correctly is important too. It should meet the following rules of the helmet test:
• Eyes – Put the helmet on your head. Look up. Your child should see the bottom rim of the helmet.
• Ears – Make sure the straps form a “V” under the ears when buckled. The straps should be a little tight but comfortable.
• Mouth – Have your child open their mouth as wide as they can. Does the helmet hug their head? If not, tighten the straps.