With temperatures finally cooling down, it’s important to brush up on bike safety rules so your kids can ride safely and enjoy the cooler weather. For both adults and children, the most important way to stay safe on a bike is to always wear a helmet. No matter how skilled a roadster your child may be, it’s important they wear a helmet any time they ride a bike, go roller skating or hop on a skateboard.
A shocking 544,000 people are injured in bike-related crashes each year, while 820 people die from them. If your kids fight you about wearing a helmet, it’s important to remind them that, while cuts and scrapes will heal, the impact of a head injury can last forever. Wearing a helmet can greatly reduce the impact of crashes on a bike rider’s head and prevent possible brain damage.
Before you buy a helmet for yourself or your kids, there are a few things you should know. Most standard helmets are priced at around $20 and can be purchased at any bicycle shop or athletic supply store. When choosing a helmet, you should pick one that is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the Snell Memorial Foundation. If you currently have an older helmet, you may want to make sure it meets the same standards, as they have recently been raised.
It’s important that your helmet fits properly. This means the helmet will feel snug and will not slide from side to side or front to back. Your helmet should not tilt in any direction, but should sit squarely on your head, slightly covering the top of your forehead. Do not wear a hat underneath your helmet, as this can cause the helmet to move around while you’re wearing it. The chinstrap underneath the helmet is what keeps it in place, so it should be replaced immediately if any of the parts of the buckle begin to malfunction.
Many states have laws enforcing the use of helmets while riding a bike, but it’s a good idea to wear one regardless of your state’s law. Children are especially susceptible to bike crashes, with the highest injury rate of all bicycle riders occurring in children ages 5-14. Remind your children to wear a helmet even when you’re not there to enforce it. Children are more likely to wear a helmet when they like the way it looks, so it’s a good idea to bring your child with you to pick one out.