Health Tips

Safe Spinning -- Keeping Your Child Safe on Wheels

With warm weather upon us, child safety groups are urging parents to teach their children to take safety measures before taking to the streets on wheels.

Accidents on wheels can cause serious injuries
According to statistics compiled by Safe Kids Worldwide, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million children 14 and under suffer serious, even fatal, injuries each year while using a bikes, skateboards, in-line skates and scooters.

Because more than 70 percent of kids ride bicycles, the majority of injuries are the result of bike accidents. In fact:

Aside from using caution when rolling along, the most effective way to prevent death and injury while participating in biking and other wheel-related sports is to wear a helmet.

Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85 percent and brain injury by 88 percent, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. In addition, experts estimate 75 percent of fatal bike crashes could have been prevented with the use of a helmet. Yet, only about 20 percent of kids wear helmets. Even less - about 11 percent of kids – between the age 11 and 14 use a helmet.

Allowing the child to choose the helmet will increase the likelihood she will use it, and reviewing how to wear it properly will better protect her from injury.

Don't let your children bike until they know the safety rules
Other bike safety rules to discuss with your child include:

As a parent, make sure your child stays safe by keeping her bike well maintained. Check for proper tire pressure, seat and handlebar height and make sure the chain is oiled and the brakes work. In addition, outfit the bike with reflectors and a battery-operated headlight.

Date: April 2009

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