In 2012, more than 270,000 children were seen in emergency rooms for injuries from riding bicycles. More bicycle accidents occur between July and September than any other time of the year and approximately 20 percent of all bicycle injuries are accounted for by children 16 and under, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Follow these tips to protect your kids while they pedal:
- Wear a helmet. A child who rides with a companion, including parents, wearing a helmet is more likely to wear a helmet.
- Helmets should only be worn for biking or other activities specified on the package. Helmets should not be worn on a playground or to climb a tree – there is a risk of strangulation from the chin-strap during these types of activities.
- Replace the helmet if your child hits any surface hard while wearing it. Helmets lose their capacity to absorb shock after taking serious hits and must be replaced to retain their proper function.
- Discuss the rules of the road for bike riding with your children. Young children should only ride in supervised areas and never near roadways. Older kids should ride on the right side of the road with traffic, not against it. They also should use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic laws, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
- If riding a bike at dawn or dusk, light colored or reflective clothing should be worn so that motorists are able to see the bicycle rider.