Skip to Content

Published on December 02, 2014

A Bicycle For Christmas? Don’t Forget the Gift of Safety!

December 02, 2014

little girl peeking a Christmas presentWhat child wouldn't be delighted with a bicycle as a Christmas or Hanukkah gift? But unless a visit to the emergency room is part of your holiday plans (bicycling injuries send more kids ages 5 to 14 to emergency rooms than any other sport), you’ll want to make sure your present is accompanied by the gift of safety.

Buying the Bike

A good fit is the first thing you should look for when buying a bike. This means that your child should be able to sit on the seat with his or her feet flat on the ground and the handlebar should be no higher than your child’s shoulders. Don’t be tempted to buy a bicycle that your child will grow in to, as an oversized bicycle could cause your child to lose control and lead to injury. If your child is a beginning bike rider, choose a bike with foot brakes rather than complicated hand brakes.

Don’t Forget the Helmet!

According to www.kidshealth.org, three out of four bike accidents involve injury to the head. Protect your children by insisting they always wear helmets while riding. When buying a helmet, look for one that has a "CPSC" or "Snell" sticker on the inside. A CPSC sticker means the helmet meets Consumer Product Safety Commission standards, and a "Snell" sticker means the helmet is approved by The Snell Memorial Foundation, which sets stringent standards for helmet safety.

Rules of the Road

Teach your child the following important safety rules:

  1. Ride on the right side of the street.
  2. Use bike lanes or designated bike routes whenever possible.
  3. Watch traffic closely for turning cars or cars leaving driveways.
  4. Adhere to stop signs and traffic lights.
  5. Walk bikes across busy intersections.
  6. When riding with friends, ride single file rather than side by side.
  7. Always use hand signals for turns and stops.
  8. Never try to fit two people on a bike.
  9. Never wear headphones while biking.
  10. Never hitch a ride on a moving vehicle.

The KishHealth System Emergency Department is available to care for you in an emergency. 

Fitting the Helmet

Helmets are important not only for bicycle riders, but also for kids who are in-line skating or using scooters. A helmet should:

  • sit level and firmly but comfortably on your child’s head. It shouldn’t be tilted forward or backward.
  • be worn directly on your child’s head (not over a baseball cap).
  • have strong, wide straps that fasten snugly under the chin.
  • be tight enough that no sudden pulling or twisting can move the helmet around.
  • be replaced if your child ever has a significant fall where he or she hits the helmet hard on any surface.
  • always be worn when your child is riding.
Footer Curve