Learning to ride a bicycle is one of those critical childhood experiences that the child and parents will always remember. Children generally learn how to ride a bike between the ages of 3 and 8, making bicycles popular gift items for birthdays and during the holiday season. Receiving a bike and learning to ride it is exciting but can cause parents some anxiety.
To keep your child safe, make sure your family follows these tips for bike safety:
Know the Rules
Before your child rides their bicycle in any public setting, they should know and understand local bicycle safety laws. Generally, your child should understand safety requirements, traffic signals, bicycle signals and bicycle operation rules and requirements. Parents should enforce the importance of safe riding with their child as well.
Check the Bike
After you have confirmed that your child understands the rules and regulations of bicycle riding, make sure they have the right-sized bike before letting them go off on a ride. While adult bicycles are sized according to frame size, children’s bicycles are rated by wheel size. After understanding the right wheel size for your child, select a bike that provides the best stand-over height and seat height as well.
Choose the Right Gear
Providing your child with bike safety gear can help reduce the chances of injury if a bicycle accident occurs. Make sure your child wears the proper shoes, clothing and helmet every time they ride a bike.
- Shoes — Sneakers are ideal. Flip flops, sandals and shoes with heels or cleats should be avoided.
- Clothing — Avoid loose clothing that will interfere with the bike chain.
- Helmet — Florida, like most states, requires the use of a helmet in certain situations. You should select a helmet that fits your child properly and meets the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Choose the Right Path
If your child operates their bike in safe environments, it can decrease their chances of a being involved in a serious crash. Encourage your child to ride in restricted/protected bike lanes or on bike paths when possible. If your neighborhood does not have bike lanes, instruct your child to ride in the same direction as traffic and stay as far to the right as possible to avoid collisions with automobiles.
If your child is involved in a bicycle accident, take them to your pediatrician to make sure that there aren’t any physical issues that may not be visible to the human eye. Your medical providers can help determine if there are any additional issues and potential treatment of those issues. The physicians at Pediatric Associates of Tampa Bay can help you make sure your child is safe and healthy. Call 855-KIDZ-DOC to schedule an appointment.
*Presented by Pediatric Associates of Tampa Bay | Originally published in April 2022