Cycling safety

By • Published: September 1st, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When most children receive a shiny new bicycle, they often hit the road with nothing more than their first taste of freedom and the exhilaration of feeling the wind in their face.

But they are often unprepared for the dangers posed by the new and exciting mode of transportation, because one thing they forget to bring along is a helmet. The consequences can be devastating. Bike accidents don’t just result scrapes and broken bones. A significant number are associated with traumatic brain injury.

Safe Kids USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing accidental childhood injuries, reports that nearly three-hundred-thousand children are treated in emergency rooms every year for bicycle-related injuries. That’s more than any other sport, and almost half are traumatic brain injuries. Meanwhile, less than one-quarter of cyclists fourteen and under wear a helmet while riding.

As parents, you probably aren’t surprised to hear that wearing bicycle helmets will make your child safer. But there is a right way to wear one. So how can you make sure your child will be able to pick themselves up and ride on after a tumble?

First, place the helmet flat on your child’s head… not at an angle. Second, buy a helmet that fits snugly and doesn’t obstruct your child’s vision. Last, secure the chin strap so it’s tight and the buckle will stay fastened.

Experts say taking these simple steps can prevent as many as three out of four fatal head injuries among children, keeping your child safe when the rubber hits the road.