Kids should take advantage of the summer months to be active. Riding tricycles and bikes is as much a part of summer as ice cream and running through the sprinkler. It’s our responsibility as parents to protect our children from unnecessary injury.
Biking is lots of fun but it can be risky without a safety helmet, particularly for children under three years of age. Babies are born with soft skulls to facilitate the birth process and allow their brains to grow, but this means their heads are especially susceptible to harm. The “soft spot” usually disappears around 2 years of age but children can still sustain a head injury even from a relatively minor fall if they are not wearing a proper safety helmet. In most states and in Canada, children are required by law to wear safety helmets while riding tricycles and bicycles. Helmet use is also mandatory for children riding in a bike carrier on the back of an adult bike, as well as riding in a “Chariot” pulled by a bike.
Make sure your child’s bike and safety helmet are the right size. A child must be able to straddle the bike with both feet on the ground. The fit of the safety helmet is equally important. When choosing a helmet, your child should try on several helmets carefully. Level the helmet over your child’s forehead and adjust the chinstrap to fit snugly and comfortably. It should protect the forehead without slipping forward or backward and it should not move unless the scalp moves. A trained salesperson will help you ensure the fit is right.
Today, there are several manufacturers producing helmets that are adjustable in size, enabling it to grow with your child and still provide a comfortable and proper fit.
Insist your child always wears a helmet when riding – and that he or she buckles it up. It goes without saying that parents must set an example by always wearing their helmets when cycling. Remember, a helmet only works when you wear it!
Karyn Climans is the owner of Tail Wags Helmet Covers Inc. a Toronto-based company dedicated to encouraging more kids and adults to actually wear their safety helmets.