Speed Demons - Not! Your children don't have to be vigilantes on their
bikes and scooters to get injured. Here's how to help them cruise
safely. We found these great statistics and tips on the National SAFE KIDS
According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, bicycles are
associated with more childhood injuries than any consumer product
except the automobile. In 1998 alone, 203 children ages 14 and under
died in bicycle-related crashes and nearly 362,000 were treated in
hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries.
You can greatly reduce your childrenís risk of injury and death simply
by setting some limits. Requiring them to wear a helmet can reduce the
risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent. This can be especially
difficult as kids get older. Even ones that are good riders need to be
required to wear helmets, regardless of what their friends are doing. Do
they have to wear a seat belt in the car? Of course, they do. They need
to wear a helmet too.
∑ Donít negotiate. Itís estimated that 75 percent of bicycle-related
deaths among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet.
∑ Buy a helmet that meets or exceeds current safety standards
developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
∑ Correct fit is essential. Helmets should be comfortable and snug,
but not too tight. They shouldnít rock back and forth or side to side.
∑ Make sure your child wears her helmet correctly - centered on top
of her head and always with the straps buckled. Children who wear their
helmets tipped back have a 52 percent greater risk of head injury than
those who wear their helmets properly.
∑ If your child is reluctant to wear her helmet, try letting her choose
her own. Helmets come in many colors and styles - allowing children to
choose a helmet thatís ďcoolĒ may make them less likely to take it off
when youíre not around.
∑ Talk to other parents and encourage them to have their kids wear
helmets. Let your children see that you wear a helmet, too. Children are
more likely to wear helmets when riding with others who wear them.
Practice bike safety:
Cyclists should be restricted to sidewalks and paths until they reach
the age of 10 and can demonstrate they know the rules of the road.
Supervision is essential until children develop the necessary traffic skills
Teach your children:
A bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. Riding a bike - especially around traffic
- is an important responsibility.
∑ Ride with traffic, not against it. Ride as far to the right as possible.
∑ Use appropriate hand signals.
∑ Respect traffic signals. Stop at all stop signs and red lights.
∑ Stop and look left, right and left again before entering a street.
∑ Look back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning left
∑ Donít ride when itís dark. If riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening is
unavoidable, wear retroreflective material on clothing or bike, and use
lights on the bike.
Finally, proper bike fit and maintenance can help prevent injuries. Your
childís feet should reach the ground while sitting on the bike seat. Make
sure the reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift
smoothly, and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
Scooter Safety - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
states that more than 30,000 scooter-related injuries requiring
emergency room treatment were reported in the year 2000.. Nearly 85
percent of these injuries are to children ages 14 and under.
Although the scooters have handlebars, brakes and are low to the
ground, without the proper safety gear, they can pose a serious safety
threat to children.
SAFE KIDS recommends the following guidelines:
∑ Children should always wear appropriate safety gear, including a
helmet, and elbow and knee pads when riding a scooter.
∑ Be sure protective gear fits properly and does not interfere with the
rider's movement, vision or hearing.
∑ Children ages 8 and under should not use scooters without close
∑ Before using a scooter, the rider or parent should check it
thoroughly for hazards such as loose, broken or cracked parts; sharp
edges on metal boards; slippery top surfaces; and wheels with nicks
and cracks. Ride scooters on smooth, paved surfaces free from traffic.
Avoid riding on streets or surfaces with water, sand, gravel or dirt.
∑ Donít ride scooters at night.
∑ Never hitch a ride from a car, bus, truck, bicycle, etc., and limit
usage of the scooter to one person at a time.
∑ Exercise caution when riding a scooter downhill. If a steep hill is
encountered, step off the scooter and walk to the bottom of the hill.
For more information and statistics on bike and scooter safety visit the
National SAFE KIDS Campaign at http://www.safekids.org.