Learning how to ride a bicycle is a major milestone for many kids and starting off with a balance bike can be a great way to help them learn how to balance. One of the most important reasons that make balance bikes a truly outstanding training tool is that they are safer than their counterparts. However, it doesn’t mean toddlers or preschoolers are totally safe then parents shouldn’t ignore their kids’ safety. Let me emphasize this by showing you some breathtaking facts:
=> Almost 1/4 of the cyclists killed or injured are children
=> Every year, about 300.000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries. Some of these injuries are fatal, with head injuries accounting for almost 75%.
=> About 8,000 children were injured in bicycle accidents in 2011 alone.
=> Bike accidents crash-land more kids in hospital emergency rooms than any other sport.
=> Using helmets can reduce the risk of severe head injuries by up to 88%
Undoubtedly, although balance bikes can be safer than traditional bikes with training wheels, there are still some safety precautions you should take with your kids when they ride balance bike. Never too young to learn the the essentials of bicycle safety, so before letting your child start to ride balance bike, make sure you know these vital safety tips below.
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Make sure to choose the suitable balance bike
As I always say, bike fit is important for riders of all levels, especially for preschool cyclists who have just started riding balance bike. Don’t buy a larger bike and hope that your child will grow into it. Don’t think a balance bike too small is safer and easier to control. Both of them may prevent kids from controlling the bike independently, which causes many serious crash they will be scared for a long time. To ensure that the balance bike is fitted well, you should see if your child can sit comfortably on the seat with his or her feet on the ground. Otherwise, it will be difficult to balance and pose a safety hazard.
Don’t know how to choose the best balance bike, or how to measure perfect balance bike size for your kids? READ NOW:
Make sure to wear a properly fitted helmet
Choosing a well-suited helmet to your needs is as important as purchasing a fit balance bike: you don’t want it too small or too big. Make sure that the helmet fits snugly. You can do it very simply with the Helmet Fit Test recommended here.
* EYES check: Put the helmet on your child’s head and ask him/her if he/she could see the bottom rim of the helmet. Then you should check if the rim would be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
* EARS check: The Y of the side straps should meet just below your kid’s ears. The strap should be snug but comfortable
* MOUTH check: Tell your kids to open their mouth as wide as they can. Adjust the length of the chin strap until it is comfortably snug so that kids will feel the helmet pull down a little bit when their mouth open very wide.
Teach young riders to follow rules of the road
Although balance bikes are meant for sidewalks, parks, empty parking lots but not for busy roads, it’s essential to teach your toddlers or preschoolers to follow special rules of the road in order to ride safely. Some of basic skills should be taught are:
- Obey the stop signs and lane markings
- Stopping and speed control
- Always use eyes and ears to stay alert Riding on the stripe without veering to one side or another
Avoid road hazards by checking out all the equipments
Before riding, carefully check if the tires are full of air, the brakes can be squeezed smoothly, and the wheels work well. Furthermore, be on the lookout for road hazards such as broken glass, gravel, puddles, stones, and dogs. To avoid serious crashes happen, don’t let your child ride at dusk, dawn or in the evening.
Even though your preschoolers can be ready to bicycle, especially with the use of a balance bike, it still could be hard for them to control speed and distance of vehicles until age 10. Therefore, the more you supervise your young riders to maximize the protection, the more peace in mind you will have.
Besides, remember to dress your children appropriately as long or loose clothing can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes. I also highly recommend having your child wear bright colors. This makes it easier for other people to see him/her and helps prevent accidents.