Riding a bicycle is an important part of childhood development. Yet all too often, children are seriously injured or even killed when they fail to follow safety rules.
Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes as well as the leading cause of permanent disability. The single most effective way to reduce head injuries from bicycle crashes is by simply wearing a helmet. All riders need to wear a helmet, regardless of age, how short of a distance traveling or how close to home. Many accidents happen in driveways, sidewalks or on bike paths – not just on the street.
Fitting a Helmet
Using a tape measure, start above the eyebrow and wrap around the child's head. Write down the number of inches and bring it with you when buying a helmet.
- The helmet should fit snugly and should not move forward or back when worn.
- Have the child shake his or her head "no" as hard as possible. The helmet should not move side to side.
- Have the child place two fingers between the chin and chin strap. This indicates how much space there should be.
Wearing a helmet is not the only way to assure safety while riding. Children should be taught safety rules and adults should follow the same rules.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Never ride with head phones.
- Wear brightly colored clothing.
- Use appropriate hand signals when turning or braking to communicate with drivers.
- Do not wear open toe shoes and make sure shoe strings are tied.
- Do not weave between parked cars.
- If you need to ride at night, wear reflective clothing and use a white headlight and a rear reflector.
- Use both hands on the handle bars to control the bike.
These rules should be followed when riding scooters, skate boards and roller skates/blades. Serious injury and death can occur on anything with wheels. Our brain is something that needs protecting. Ride responsible, have fun and be safe.
For more information on bicycle safety or other safety programs, contact the Trauma Services Department at CoxHealth at 417/269-0919 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.