Humpty Dumpty's Magazine
According to experts, he probably is. If your child can climb on
and off a bike well, then he is probably coordinated enough to handle
a two-wheeler. Here are some tips for buying that first bike.
The right fit
When purchasing a bike, make sure it is the correct size for your
child. Don't buy a bike that is too big hoping your child will grow
into it. A bike that is too large will be hard for your child to handle
and could cause injuries.
A bike is the correct size for your child if he can sit on the
seat with his knees slightly bent and his feet flat on the ground.
The handlebars should be no higher than his shoulders when seated
or steering will be difficult. The bike should be equipped with coaster,
or foot, brakes, which enable your child to stop more easily and
more quickly than hand brakes. Also, limit the number of accessories,
such as bells or streamers, for beginners.
Helmets save lives
A bicycle helmet can save your child's life. In the United States,
75 percent of deaths from bicycle accidents are the result of a head
injury. Bicycle helmets reduce that risk by 85 percent. So make a
sure your child wears a helmet every time he rides his bike.
When buying a bicycle helmet, look for one that has been approved
by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or Snell Memorial
Foundation. You should find a sticker on the box or helmet. Make sure
your child tries on the helmet before you buy it. The helmet should
fit comfortably but be snug enough so that it does not move. Most
come with foam pads that can be placed inside for a better fit and
then removed as your child grows. Consider buying a brightly colored
helmet; it will be easier for motorists to see.
Once your child is equipped with the cycling gear he'll need, take
family bike rides. Bicycling is a great form of exercise and a fun
activity the family can enjoy together.
RELATED ARTICLE: Teach your young cyclist these safety tips
* Ride only in the daytime. Most accidents occur at dusk or after
* Ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic.
* Obey traffic laws. Stop at all stop signs and stoplights.
* Always stop before entering a street.
* At a busy intersection, get off the bike and walk it across the
* Always keep your hands on the handlebars while you are riding.
* When riding in a group, ride single file.
* Always wear a helmet.
* Wear light-colored clothes when you ride.
* Use proper hand signals when turning.
* Slow down for walkers. When riding on a path, trail, or sidewalk,
keep your speed down.
* Don't ride too close to parked cars. The driver might suddenly
open the door.
* Never hitch a ride on a moving vehicle or do stunts or wheelies.
* Do not take passengers on your bike.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Benjamin Franklin Literary and Medical Society Inc.
Is your child ready for a two-wheeler? (bicycle; includes safety tips)., Vol. 45, Humpty Dumpty's Magazine, 04-14-1997, pp 34(2).