Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life
 

Safety On Wheels

April 2003 Issue

Safety On Wheels

Digital Photography

Quick Sweet
Summer Treats

A Cure for the
Backseat Blues

Developing “Little
People” Skills

Did You Know?

Mail Bag

Gerber Life
Family Times Archive

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Warm weather and time off from school mean it’s a perfect time for kids to hop on a bike, skateboard or roller blades and make the most of a summer’s day. That warm weather also brings clothing that exposes arms and legs, which means unprotected areas that could become cut or scraped should a fall occur. Don’t kid yourself—falls do happen. Here are a few tips and precautions that can help reduce the risk of serious injury to your children while riding and having fun this summer.1

First and foremost, a helmet is a must for any type of wheeled activity or riding. Many states and municipalities now require a helmet by law.

Make sure your child wears knee and elbow pads to protect those areas in the event of a fall. Thin leather protective gloves may also help reduce the severity of cuts on the hands should a fall occur. Mouth guards are also available and may help reduce the likelihood of injury to the teeth.

Limit riding to daylight hours. This makes it easier to see obstacles in the roadway and also makes it easier for drivers to see a child on a bike, skateboard or roller blades.

Both you and your child should do an equipment check periodically to make sure all equipment is in useable condition. Wheels and tires should be checked for wear, and bearings and chains should be checked for wear and adequate lubrication. A yearly maintenance check by a bicycle shop or skateboard shop is also a good idea.

Only allow your child to ride, skate or roller blade in approved areas. Many pedestrian areas are off-limits to bicycles and skateboards; make sure your child knows to obey such postings.

Monitor your child’s riding until he or she is confident on the bike, skateboard or roller blades.

Make sure your child’s equipment and/or clothing has a reflective element to make them as visible as possible to traffic and pedestrians.

Teach your child to ride in areas free of debris (rocks, glass, branches, etc.) This will help minimize the likelihood that a foreign object will play a part in causing a fall.

When possible, have your child ride with a friend. In the event of a fall, someone would be available to summon help.

Teach your child to ride responsibly, which includes traveling at a safe rate of speed, riding without passengers, and refraining from being a “show off.”

Falls will happen less and less as a child becomes more coordinated and more accustomed to riding. Although a helmet and pads are not the most fun things to wear while riding, they sure come in handy and help prevent the soreness, bandages, scars or more serious injuries that can result from riding unprotected.

1National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website; June 25, 2004; http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/kids/biketour/.

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