Tips To Keep Kids Safe While Riding Bikes This Summer

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Bicycle riding is a favorite pastime of children. Unfortunately, more children go to hospital emergency departments for bicycle related crashes than for any other sport.

"As children start their summers, it's important for parents and children to go over safety tips for riding their bikes," says Susan Laurence, injury prevention coordinator, Trauma Services at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.  "This will help ensure a safe, enjoyable summer for everyone."

Each year more than 500,000 people in the US are treated in emergency departments, and more than 700 people die as a result of bicycle-related injuries.

Laurence and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer these safety tips for parents of children riding bicycles this summer.

>>Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home.

>>Parents should set an example for their children by wearing a bike helmet when they ride their bikes.

>>When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standard.

>>A helmet protects your child from serious brain injury and should always be worn.

>>A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head, about two fingers above the eyebrows, not tipped forward or backward. The strap should be securely fastened, and you should not be able to move the helmet in any direction.

>>Teach children to follow the rules of the road.

>>Children should ride on the same side of the road and in the same direction as vehicles travel.   

>>Children should walk their bicycles across busy streets or roads. 

>>Do not allow children to ride on the road without direct adult supervision until age 10. 

>>Plan a safe cycling route with children and ride it with them.

>>Do not let children ride at night.

>>Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready, at about age 5 or 6.

>>Take your child with you when you shop for the bike so that he or she can try it out. For more information on finding the proper fit, go to healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Choosing-the-Right-Size-Bicycle.aspx

>>Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to "grow into."