Further Reading

Bicycle Safety

Bicycle Safetyby Amy R. Beach, FNP-BC, CLC

Hopefully warmer weather is around the corner and with that will come outdoor activities!  Personally, I am excited to be outdoors in fresh air. One of the outdoor activities I enjoy alot is bicycling. Bicycling is a great activity for kids.  Physically it is great for the heart and slowly builds endurance.  It is also low impact meaning it does not place alot of stress on the joints, however it strengthens the legs as well as the trunk or core of the body.

Bicycling also has other benefits.  It encourages independence of the child, giving them a sense of freedom.  It builds self-confidence and fosters relationships with parents and other children when done together. Children who cycle become more comfortable in their neighborhood.  They breathe more fresh air.  I remember my first bike with the white basket with plastic flowers.  I would ride to and from the library with that basket overflowing with books, working to win the weekly prize from the summer reading program.

Here are a few tips to make your child’s cycling experience safe.  First, make sure your child has a properly fitting bike helmet.  New York state requires helmets for all children under the age of 14 whether the child is a passenger or an operator.  The helmet should fit squarely on top of the head in a level position.  It should cover the top of the forehead and extend to 1″ above the eyebrows.  It should not slide at all.  If the helmet has been in a crash, even if there is no visible damage, it should be replaced.

Making sure your child has the right sized bike for their body size is also important.  There are charts available based on age and height but some general principles are as follows: the child should be able to reach the handlebars, gears and pedals easily.  When straddling the bike, feet should be able to be firmly planted on the ground and when pedaling, knees should not hit the handlebars.

Knowledge of traffic safety can make both you and your child more confident in their bike riding skills. Safety programs are often available locally.  More information regarding this can be found at safeny.ny.gov/kid.

So when the weather changes and spring is here, get the bikes out, clean them off, make sure everything is working properly and you have proper equipment, and have a great time exploring the outdoors safely!