There is no dispute that bicycle helmets save lives. In fact, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of sustaining a serious and fatal traumatic brain injury by nearly 70%. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the risks of riding a bicycle without a helmet. According to Dr. Michael Macknin of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, a person traveling at 20 mph on a bicycle is moving as fast as they would be if they jumped out of a second story window, and the injuries sustained would be just as traumatic.
While children usually do not ride this fast, they can still sustain serious injury, even at lower speeds. In fact, more than 242,000 children under the age of 19 are seen in emergency rooms each year because of bicycle accidents. As a parent, keeping your kids safe from serious harm is important, and one of the best ways to do so is to practice bicycle safety.
Bicycle Safety for Kids
Riding a bicycle is great exercise for children of all ages, and gives them a sense of independence as they grow. Teaching bicycle safety to your children is a key component to helping them stay safe on the roads. From the time your children are old enough to start riding a tricycle, you should begin teaching them the following safety rules:
- Always wear a helmet when riding – no exceptions
- Wear bright clothing when riding
- Never dart out in between parked cars
- Look both ways before crossing the street
- Never ride in the dark
- Never wear earphones while riding
- Always wear sturdy closed-toe shoes
- Only one person should ride on the bike at a time
- Learn hand signals
- Walk bikes across intersections (this applies to young children)
Choosing the Right Bicycle Helmet for Your Child
One of the best ways to ensure your children’s safety is to encourage helmet use. Always insist that your kids wear their helmets when riding, no exceptions. Also, make sure that helmets fit each of your children properly. Poor fitting helmets do not provide adequate protection from deadly brain injuries.
When choosing bicycle helmets, consider the following tips:
- Helmets should always be the appropriate size and meet the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standard for safety
- It should be level on top of the head, about two finger-widths above the eyebrows
- It should not rock back and forth or side to side
- The strap should be buckled snuggly under the chin
- Children should always be present when purchasing helmets to ensure they fit properly
- Let them help pick out colors and styles since they will be more likely to wear them if you do
- Never use a helmet that’s been in a crash
- Set a good example and always wear your own helmet
Protecting Children and Families Throughout Florida
At Sternberg / Forsythe, our West Palm Beach bicycle accident attorneys know that injured cyclists often face an uphill battle. Our attorneys will help you collect the money you need to pay medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more. With offices conveniently located in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Orlando, we are there wherever you need us. Call us at 561-687-5660 today for a free consultation and review of your case or fill out our confidential contact form and someone will get right back to you.