Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety—Prevention

Bicycling, Inline Skating, Skateboarding, and
Scooter Safety—Prevention

Buying the right bike

It’s important that the bike your
child rides is the right size. In addition, consider the following advice:

  • The bike shouldn’t be too big
    or complicated.

  • Your child should be able to
    place the balls of their feet on the ground when sitting on the seat.

  • The bike should have a bell
    or horn.

Buying the right helmet

Helmet costs vary and can be
costly. But they can save money by possibly preventing a visit to your child’s
healthcare provider or the emergency room. They also may save lives. When shopping
for a
helmet, take your child with you—a child will be more likely to wear a helmet if they
pick it out. Helmets should meet the following requirements:

  • The helmet should be approved
    by the American Society for Testing and Materials or the U.S. Consumer Product
    Safety Commission (CPSC). Approved helmets meet strict safety standards.

  • Your child should like the
    helmet. Bright-colored helmets with stickers are very popular. This will increase
    the likelihood that your child will wear it consistently.

  • The helmet should fit your
    child’s head so that when the straps are snug, the helmet does not move around on
    the head.

Some helmets are multisport. This
means that they can be used for inline skating, skateboarding, biking, or other wheel
sports. Helmets that specifically are called “bike helmets” are designed only for
that
sport. Helmets come in many sizes and varieties, including many infant sizes.

Correct helmet wear

Helmets come with sponge pads to
adjust the fit on your child’s head. A correctly-fitted helmet should meet these
requirements:

  • The helmet should fit snug,
    not moving on the head.

  • The front edge of the helmet
    should be 2 finger widths above the eyebrows.

  • Front and back straps of the
    helmet should form a V just below the ear.

  • Front straps should be
    vertical and the rear straps should be flat.

  • The chinstrap should be snug
    when your child opens their mouth. When the straps are fastened, 2 fingers should
    fit between the strap and the chin.

Road rules

Most bicycle crashes happen because
the child breaks a traffic rule. So it’s important to teach your child the traffic
and
road rules. Besides wearing a bike helmet, teach your child to:

  • Stop before riding into
    traffic from a driveway, sidewalk, parking lot, or other street.

  • Look left, right, and left
    again to check for cars.

  • If the road is clear,
    enter.

  • Ride on the far right of the
    road, with traffic.

  • Ride so cars can see you.
    Wear brightly colored or reflective clothes, especially at night.

  • Obey all traffic signals and
    stop signs.

  • Look back and yield to
    traffic coming from behind before turning left.

  • Ride bikes in single
    file.

  • Look for uneven pavement or
    other surface problems.

Note:

Try not to let your child ride their bike, inline skates, or skateboard when it’s
dark or during bad weather. If your child does ride at night, make sure their bike
has a
headlight, flashing taillight, and reflective tape or reflectors. Also make sure your
child wears reflective clothing or has reflective tape on their clothes.

Inline skates

Even experienced inline skaters can
crash and suffer injuries. Here is some advice from safety organizations:

  • Always wear protective gear,
    such as elbow and knee pads, gloves, sport-appropriate helmets, and wrist
    guards.

  • Buy durable skates with the
    correct ankle support.

  • Always warm up your muscles
    before skating by skating slowly for 5 minutes or more.

  • Skate with knees slightly
    bent to maintain balance.

  • Practice stopping. This is
    done by bringing the foot with the heel stop forward until the heel stop is level
    with the toes of the other foot. Then bend the front knee and lift the front
    foot’s toes.

  • Always skate on the right
    side of sidewalks and other paths.

  • Pass on the left and warn
    others that you are passing.

  • Don’t skate in the street,
    especially where there is a lot of traffic.

  • Look for uneven pavement or
    other surface problems.

  • Check your skates regularly
    for wear and tear. Make sure the wheels are tightened.

Skateboards

Skateboards should never be used on
surface streets. Even experienced skateboarders can fall. So learning how to fall
safely
can help reduce the risk of severe injuries. Follow this advice on how to fall
correctly:

  • When losing your balance,
    crouch down on the skateboard so your fall is short.

  • Try to land on fleshy parts
    of your body when falling.

  • Try to roll as you fall. This
    prevents your arms from absorbing all the force.

  • Try to relax, rather than
    staying stiff when falling.

When riding a skateboard, children
should obey all traffic rules. Other safety measures to take when skateboarding
include:

  • Wear protective gear, such as
    sport-appropriate helmets, padding, and closed-toe and slip-resistant shoes.

  • Check the skateboard for wear
    and tear.

  • Only allow 1 person per
    skateboard.

  • Don’t hitch rides from bikes,
    cars, or other vehicles.

  • Carefully practice tricks in
    special skateboarding areas.

Scooters

Manual (push) scooters have been around since the 1950s. Today’s
scooters include motorized and electric models often made of lightweight material.
They
have quickly risen in popularity. And they are the cause of more and more emergency
room
visits. Health officials have seen a dramatic rise in scooter-related accidents and
injuries. The most common injuries are breaks (fractures) or dislocations of the arm
or
hand, followed by cuts, bruises, strains, and sprains. Almost half of all injuries
tend
to happen to the arm or hand. About 1 in 4 injuries is to the head. Another 1 in 4
happen to the leg or foot. Deaths directly related to scooter accidents have also
happened.

The National Safe Kids campaign advises the same safety measures for
scooters as for bicycling and inline skating. Many injuries might be prevented or
not be
as severe if protective equipment is worn. Wrist guards help prevent injuries among
inline skaters. But the protection they provide against injury for scooter riders
is
unknown. That’s because wrist guards may make it hard to grip the scooter handle and
steer it.

Based on injury prevention for other related activities, these tips
may help to prevent scooter-related injuries:

  • Wear an approved helmet that meets safety standards. Use knee
    and elbow pads.
  • Ride scooters on smooth, paved surfaces without traffic.
    Don’t ride on streets and surfaces with water, sand, gravel, or dirt.
  • Don’t ride scooters at night.

Riding a scooter requires balance and coordination. Children younger than 8 years
old
shouldn’t ride a scooter. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children
under age 16 shouldn’t ride motorized or electric scooters.