Riding is a very important exercise both for adults and children. As much as it may be done for fun, bike riding is also good for health. However, caution should be taken and be noted that accidents do happen. Research indicates that the safest and the best way to use a bike is transportation. It also shows that approximately 300,000 kids in the globe get to the emergency unit every year due to bike injuries out of which more than 10,000 cases of injuries need a few days of hospitalization. Some of them are very serious and may lead to death.
Head injuries are the most common and usually affect the brain. This calls for the importance of insisting your little biker to wear a bike helmet amidst other clothing which is known to be the most effective protective wear capable of reducing head injuries and death emanating from bike crashes. However, wearing a helmet does not mean that the kid becomes a reckless rider but is only meant to guard the head, brain and the face in case of an accident.
Ensure that your kid wears a helmet any time he/she wants to ride skate or scoot even if it is a short ride. It is therefore vital to choose a properly fitting bike helmet (not too big or too small) and make sure that he/she wears it in the right way for maximum protection.
The helmet should be able to cover the forehead and be worn in a level position without being tipped backwards to show the forehead, forward or sideways. Moreover, the straps need to always be buckled though not very tightly. Flying straps may make the helmet to fall off the head unexpectedly. Adjust the straps so that they are snug enough not to twist or pull the helmet around the head.
When buying a helmet for your kid, look for the one that is well ventilated and pick bright or fluorescent colors for visibility to other cyclists and drivers. However, you should make sure that your child does not wear any other hat beneath it.
Elbow and knee pads
As a parent, you should buy and ensure that your kid wears the right elbow and knee pads in the right way. The straps should be properly fastened to protect the biker from injuring his/her knee and elbow in case he/she is involved in an accident.
This category of safety gear helps to prevent stern wrist injuries in case of an accident. Kids should always wear them in the right way before biking.
Apart from the above gadgets, there is additive clothing that should be worn by a kid or any other person when cycling. This is very important for the bikers’ safety and include;
- Wearing bright colored or fluorescent clothes help your little biker become visible when cycling on the road. Dark clothes should be avoided especially during twilight hours or early dusk. Remember also to include a reflective tape to help reflect light.
- The pant legs should not be too flared or loose fitting as it can interfere with the chain in the process of riding.
- Make a choice of shoes that are able to properly grip the pedals. Avoid wearing shoes with heals, cleats or flip-flops which creates more problems when riding. On the other hand, they should never attempt riding on a barefoot.
Road safety tips
Here are some of the road safety tips to teach your little biker especially when riding on the road.
- Ride in one direction with the cars and not against the traffic.
- Always observe road signs and traffic lights and be very careful especially at intersections.
- Avoid riding very close to parked cars since the doors can be opened suddenly.
- Never ride on the handlebars as it may be very easy to suddenly veer off into traffic or loose balance.
- Avoid headphones when biking and turn an ear to everyone at all time on the road.
- Do not make any turn or change lane without checking your behind first and using the correct hand signals (always use the left hand for any signal)
Many kids die each year as a result of accidents emanating from riding. Others get severe injuries which later affect their health conditions. Some of these accidents occur as a result of ignorance by parents. Little bikers should wear the right safety gadgets like the helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist pads amongst other clothing before riding. This reduces the degree of injury in case of an accident.
- Dowshen, S. (2017). Bike Safety. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from KidHealth: m.kidshealth.org
- Frey, L. (2016, July 20). Tips on Bicycle Safety to Protect Your Little Riders. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from Akron Children’s Hospital: www.akronchildrens.org
- SafeKids.org. (2016). Bike Safety Tips. Retrieved August 15, 2017, from SafeKids: www.safekids.org