With Christmas approaching, many parents are planning to give their child a new bicycle – maybe even their first bicycle. This is an excellent opportunity to teach children about the importance of wearing a helmet to protect their head. According to National Safe Kids, bicycles are associated with more injuries to children than any other product except automobiles, and helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injury by up to 88%. Unfortunately, only 45% of children wear bike helmets. Other studies from the organization found that nearly half of the hospitalizations related to bicycles are traumatic injury to the brain. Helmets should be considered an important part of bike riding.
Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for most kids and a great way to get in some exercise while having fun! In addition to promoting healthy habits, riding bicycles can teach children about becoming independent. With this new independence, children need to learn to follow important safety rules. One of the most important rules is to always wear a helmet.
When selecting a helmet for your child, follow these tips:
- Look for a helmet that has been certified to meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
- Make sure the helmet fits properly. To do this, measure around the rider’s head about an inch above his or her eyebrows, and select an appropriately sized helmet.
- When wearing a helmet, make sure the rim sits level from front to back and is worn low and just above the eyebrows.
- Make sure the helmet fits snugly. Adjust the helmet’s size with extra foam pads, which are provided with most helmets.
- Buckle the chin strap on every ride.
- Replace a helmet if it has been in a crash, even if no damage is visible.
For more information, visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute’s website at http://www.bhsi.org/, Bike Texas at http://www.biketexas.org, Safe Kids Worldwide at http://www.safekids.org/bike and Bike Texas at http://www.biketexas.org.