May 31, 2017, 3:37:41 PM CDT Jul 16, 2024, 11:16:23 AM CDT

Bike safety for kids

Learn bike safety tips and smart rider rules to help keep your child safe from serious injuries.

How to properly wear a bike helmet in children. How to properly wear a bike helmet in children.

Teaching your child how to ride a bike is often one of the many joyful moments of being a parent. However, it's important to also teach your child how to be safe while riding. David Aguilar, Injury Prevention Coordinator at Children's Health℠, shares how you can make biking safer for your child with these bike and road safety tips.

Bike helmet tips for kids

"Wearing a helmet can help prevent traumatic brain injury and fatal head injury among kids on bicycles," says Aguilar. "We urge parents to find the right helmet for their child and make wearing a helmet a requirement before getting on anything with wheels – including bicycles, skates or skateboards."

Here are some helmet safety tips for you and your child:

  • Wear a helmet yourself. Being a good role model is arguably the most important parenting tool available. So if you expect and want your child to wear a helmet while riding their bike, it's a good idea for you to wear one too – even if you didn't when you were a kid.
  • Find the perfect fit. Helmets come in different sizes so it's important to make sure you have the right size. To do that, place the helmet on your child's head. The rim should be one to two fingers-width above their eyebrows. Next, check the straps. Make sure the straps of the helmet form a "V" under your child's ears when buckled. The strap should be comfortable, but also tight enough to lie flat against the skin. This video from Safe Kids Worldwide has more details on the perfect helmet fit.
  • Look for a safety sticker. Check the inside of the helmet for a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Department of Transportation (DOT) or Snell sticker, which shows they've passed certain safety tests.
  • Have your child pick out their own helmet. This can help them be more motivated to wear it.
  • Make sure the helmet fits the activity. Certain helmets are made for specific sports. It's best to use the right helmet for that activity. For example, you don't want your child to wear a football helmet to ride a bike.

Bike safety checklist

By asking these questions, you can help make sure the bike your child rides is as safe as possible.

  • Are the tires inflated properly? Check that the tires are not over or under-inflated. They should feel quite hard and meet the pressure range recommendations that are printed on the tires (typically 20 to 40 PSI).
  • Does the bike fit? There should be one to two inches between your child and the top bar when they stand over the bike. They should also be able to place both feet on the ground when sitting.
  • Is the seat in the right position? Adjust the height so your child can touch the ground. Check that their knees are slightly bent when their leg extends when pedaling. And make sure they can easily reach the handlebars and handbrakes. If not, you may be able to move the seat forward.

Bike road safety tips for kids

Whether your child rides their bike around the neighborhood or rides their bike to school, it is important that they know the rules of the road. Teach your child to follow simple, smart cycling rules, including:

  • Stop before you merge onto a road from a driveway, sidewalk, parking lot or another street. Look left, right and left again to check for cars.
  • Obey all traffic signals and stop signs. Have your child practice making eye contact with drivers at 4-way stops.
  • Use hand signals to let drivers know if you plan to turn or stop.
  • Ride in a single file line, in the same direction as traffic. If there is a bike path or bike lane, consider riding there. If you're on a bike path, keep to the right. If you want to pass someone on the left, make sure you warn them first.
  • Wear brightly colored clothes and use reflectors or lights so drivers can see you. It is best to avoid riding at night.
  • Watch for gravel, uneven pavement and potholes.

Get support

See more tips on summer safety to help your child be safe, healthy and happy.

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