A child is 14 times more likely to survive a bike crash if he or she is wearing a helmet.
Each day in emergency rooms across the country, more than 700 kids are treated for injuries received while riding bikes, skateboards and scooters. Many of these injuries are life-threatening and disabling. Wearing helmets and other protective gear, and following the rules of the road can help prevent injuries.
Follow these tips to assure your child wears a bike helmet:
- When you buy your child’s first bike, buy a helmet, too.
- Be sure the helmet you buy is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Make sure the helmet fits properly. If the helmet is too loose, it is not protecting your child’s head.
- Enforce the rule to wear a helmet.
- Be a role model. Always wear a helmet when you ride a bike.
- Let your child personalize the helmet by using stickers or paint to decorate it.
- Praise your child and others for wearing their helmets.
- Help your child realize the head is the most important part of the body.
- Help your child’s school establish and support the rule: “If you ride your bike to school, you must wear a helmet.”
Bike riding can be a fun activity for the entire family. Make sure everyone is wearing a helmet.
The rules of the road
Riders younger than 10 should be restricted to sidewalks and paths until they can demonstrate they know the rules of the road. Supervision is essential until children develop the necessary traffic skills and judgment.
- Bicycles are vehicles, not toys. Riding bikes, scooters, skateboards and inline skates – especially around traffic – is an important responsibility.
- When on the road, ride with traffic rather than against it. Ride as far to the right as possible.
- Use appropriate hand signals.
- Respect traffic signals. Stop at all stop signs and red lights.
- Stop and look left, right and left again before crossing an intersection.
- Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left at intersections.
- Don’t ride when it’s dark. If riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening is unavoidable, equip your bike with lights. Also, make sure your bike has reflectors. Wear clothes and accessories that are made of reflective materials.
-Lisa Klindt Simpson, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin