Learning to ride a bicycle is a major milestone in a child's life. It offers them freedom, fun and it's a great way for them to stay active. However, every year about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a few days in the hospital. Some of these injuries are so serious that children die, usually from head injuries.
Millions of Americans ride bicycles, however less than half wear bicycle helmets. A national survey conducted found that only 48% of children ages 5-14 years wore bicycle helmets when riding. Further, older children were even less likely to wear helmets than younger children (cdc.org). A properly fitting helmet is the most effective way of preventing a head injury caused by a bicycle crash. In fact, helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by at least 45 percent (safekids.org)!
Make sure your child's helmet fits correctly so it can do its job, protect your child. The helmet should sit level on your child's head and not be able to rock side to side or front and back. Safekids.org recommends doing the eyes, ears mouth check:
If you're shopping for a helmet, let your child pick out his/her own. There are so many options now, they can pick out their favorite color or character, or you can let your child decorate it with stickers to make it more personal. This will help them be more excited about wearing their helmet.
Along with wearing a helmet, here are some other tips to help keep your child safe while riding a bike.
Of course these tips don't just apply when riding a bicycle, but should be followed in all wheeled sport activities including: ATVs, scooters, roller skates, skateboards and more. A helmet should be worn every time your child does one of these activities. Even if you are going on a "short ride" or "just going slow" there is always a chance something can happen and a helmet is a great way to stay safe while having fun!