Children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and biking is a great way to meet that goal!
There are some risks associated with biking, however. After football, biking is the second most frequent sport and recreational activity leading to emergency department visits in children. In the United States, about 100 children die each year from injuries sustained in bike injuries.
Bike injuries can involve a wide range of body parts, including your child’s head, brain, face, abdomen, groin, bones and skin.
How can I keep my child safe on a bike?
There are a number of ways you can reduce the risk of bike injuries, allowing your family to focus on having fun and enjoying biking!
Helmets dramatically reduce the risk of injuries.
Children of all ages should always wear a bike helmet when riding all wheeled toys. One important way to encourage your children to wear helmets is to be a role model! Your child is less likely to wear a helmet if you do not wear a helmet.
Helmets must fit properly.
- Eyes: No more than 2 fingers above the eyebrows.
- Ears: Straps form a “V” under the ears.
- Mouth: No more than 1-2 fingers between the chin and buckled strap.
You should replace a helmet, if the helmet has any cracks, the straps are broken, or if your child has been in a crash while wearing the helmet.
Be aware of the increased risks associated with your child’s developmental stage
- Babies (0-12 months)
- Little kids (1-4 years)
- Big kids (5-9 years)
- Pre-teens (10-14 years)
- Teens (15-19 years)
- Kids with special needs
Other ways to stay safe.
- Do not ride a bike at night.
- Ride with traffic.
- Use hand signals.
- Obey traffic signs.
- Use designated bike lanes.
- Bicycle safety myths and facts (AAP)
- What every parent should know about bicycle helmets (AAP)
Rules Every Child Should Know Before Riding a Bike, Scooter or Skateboard (Michigan Medicine Health Blog)
Written/reviewed by Danielle Akers, MD and Aviva Alpert, MD
Updated March 2017