Bike riding is a wonderful family activity that keeps children active and healthy. It is also an opportunity to teach children about bike safety by having children assist you in ensuring that all bicycles and helmets are ready for use. During the summer months, it is important to verify bike readiness by running through this checklist to ensure your children’s safety.
- Make sure their helmet still fits properly. If the helmet is too small or has previously been involved in a crash or has been damaged, replace it.
- Clean off all the dust on the bike and check for loose parts, this includes the seat and handlebars.
- Check and inflate the tires. Also, check for tire wear and dry rot.
- Adjust the seat. Your children have grown since the last time they rode their bikes. When seated on the bike, your child should be able to stand on the balls of both feet.
- Check the handlebars. They should be easy to grasp without leaning forward.
- Make sure the brakes are working properly and there is no wear.
- Buy the appropriate sized bike. Never buy a bike that your child will “grow into.”
Bike Helmet Safety
Many children do not like wearing helmets because they fear they are “uncool.” Because of this, it is important to have your children start wearing a helmet with their first tricycles or play vehicles to get them in the habit. Let your children know you expect them to wear a helmet every time they ride. Be a role model and wear a helmet when you ride your bike; your children are more likely to wear a helmet if they see you demonstrating good safety.
Allowing your children to choose their own helmet will increase the probability that they will want to wear it. Make sure when purchasing a new helmet that it is the correct size. Never buy a helmet that your child will “grow into.”
- The helmet should sit level on your child’s head. It should be low on the forehead, about one or two finger widths above their eyebrows.
- Adjust the straps so they meet in a “V” right under each ear.
- Adjust the chinstrap snugly under the chin so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap. Keep the helmet tight enough so the helmet pulls down when you child opens his or her mouth.
- Always make sure helmet straps are buckled when your child is riding.