After a long off-season of rainy weather, my boys were restless to get riding again. My oldest took off his training wheels
last summer and was eager to get back on the bike
and practice his new skills. My husband is riding again too, and we're all excited for an active summer.
As the parents, it's our responsibility to make sure that our children are safe. Gone are the days where kids set up ramps on the dead-end road and fly over them without a thought to the dangers, and without a helmet. Now, many states and provinces, including my own, have laws requiring helmet use. First and foremost, the best way to encourage bike safety is to practice it yourself.
Are you sure you know how to best use a helmet, minimizing the potential for injury should something happen?
Follow me through the break for an important checklist, so that you and your family stay safe while riding.
The helmet cannot do its job unless you are wearing it properly. Give your older ones a crash course in helmet safety so that they can do it independently. You'll need to help younger ones with the straps, making sure that there is a proper fit each time.
These helmet guidelines from Kids Health
will get you prepared for the new riding season:
- Sits level on the head without being tilted forward or backward
- Has strong wide straps secured tightly under the chin
- Doesn't move out of place with pulling and twisting
- Manufactured after 1999
- Has never been in an accident or under significant impact (avoid second hand purchases because it can be hard to know the history)
- Do not wear any hat or headpiece under the helmet
School age children may be a bit reluctant to wear their helmets, especially if their friends are riding without. Letting them choose their own helmet will help win them over. Manufacturers are slowly catching on, and youth helmets now come in cool designs with trendy branding that they didn't have 10 years ago. You might cringe that your 11-year-old is putting skull and flame stickers on his helmet, but giving him that authority over style might be just the thing that keeps him from taking it off as soon as he's out of sight.
Give your bike a tune-up
, review what to do in case you need emergency repairs
, refresh yourself and your family on the rules of the road for riders
, strap on those helmets, and enjoy the ride.