Cycling is a lot of fun for you and your kid(s). Keeping them safe for that first ride can be a challenge. Here are some tips to keep them safe:
- Always make them wear a correctly fitted bike helmet. Children should not ride a bike in a helmet designed for any other activity as helmets are designed to protect the most likely impact sites. Make sure the helmet fits and does not rock when the child moves (having the child jump up and down helps). Let your kid pick out their own helmet so they like the color and are more likely to wear it. If riding with your child, wear a helmet yourself so you set a good example.
- Make sure your child is riding the right size of bike. Age group is not always a good gauge. Avoid the temptation to buy a bike for them to grow into. It's usually easy to buy and sell children's bikes second hand. Make sure the child can touch the ground with both feet when sitting on the seat and that they can reach the pedals.
- Put bright or fluorescent colors on your child so they can easily be seen. Gloves are also recommended. Do not let your child ride in pants that are loose at the bottom or in long skirts, which can get caught in the chain.
- Always carry water or have your child carry water. Even for that first short ride, it is a good habit to get into.
- Inspect the bike before you let the child ride, and have the child go through the inspection with you. This will help build the habit of checking the bike, especially the brakes and tires, before riding.
Keep the first ride short and within the child's physical capability and attention span. Following safety practices from the start will help your child build good habits for the future.