I've been a big bike fan ever since I saw BMX Bandits with Nicole Kidman back in 1983. Actually, I was already a big BMX fan before I saw BMX Bandits, but I couldn't find a 1980 reference.
Back then, as many of you know, parents didn't put too much thought into bikes. And safety wasn't that much of a concern. As long as you weren't riding on the freeway, you were OK.
Times of changed, that's for sure. So for this post, I wanted to highlight a few tips to keep your kids safe this summer.
Wearing a helmet ought to be a priority
Although many parents don't believe in wearing helmets (because they didn't wear one when they were kids and nothing happened to them), here at the practice we see at least 2 or 3 concussions every summer due to children falling from their bikes.
A helmet protects your child from serious injury, and should always be worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps children develop the helmet habit.
Remember that a helmet should be work so that it is level on the head and not tipped forward or backwards. Also, the straps ought to be snugged and fastened. If needed, you can always use helmet sizing pads to improve fit.
The Right Size
Buy a bike that is the right size for your child. I know, I know, it is tempting to buy a bike and let the child "grow into" it, but the reality is that oversized bikes are especially dangerous. Especially if the child is just learning how to ride a bike.
The Right Bike
Nothing worse than buying a bike for your child and then your child not riding because she didn't like it. Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he or she can try it out.
The value of a properly fitting bike far outweighs the value of surprising your child with a new one.
Don't Push It
I'll be honest. I wanted my kids to ride a bike as soon as they were two years old. But I had to hold my horses so to speak. It is best not to push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready. Usually this happens at around 5 to 6 years of age. Of course, just like anything else, some kids are ready earlier, while others take their sweet time.
The important thing is to have in mind yours chid's coordination and desire to lear to ride.
Written by Brandon Betancourt, BMX extraordinaire
Photo Credit: TredzTalk