Hi, it’s Bonnie, one of 5 Minutes for Mom’s Summer Interns.
During the summer, one favorite kids’ activity is riding bikes. My five-year-old just learned to ride her two-wheeler without help, so I often hear, “Mom, can I ride my bike?” Thankfully I’ve managed to teach her the importance of wearing a helmet and I rarely have to remind her to grab it before she jumps on her bicycle.
What I do have to check is that it is properly adjusted on her head.
Wearing a helmet is a simple choice for safety that most parents are aware of, yet I often see children who are wearing their helmets incorrectly. Here are some bike helmet safety facts and tips for encouraging your children to wear their helmets.
How to Properly Wear a Bike Helmet
- The helmet should sit two fingers’ width above your child’s eyebrows. They should be able to look up and see the helmet on their forehead and the helmet should look level on their head. If it is tipped back, it won’t protect their foreheads in case of a crash.
- The straps should form a V under their ears. This way, they help keep the helmet in the proper position.
- There should be one finger space between the strap and their chin (just enough to ensure they don’t get pinched when you are doing it up).
- The helmet should fit snugly so that it does not slide around on their heads.
- The helmet should not come off unless you undo the straps. If the child can take it off without undoing the buckle, you need to adjust it. And, of course, they should not be riding their bike or scooter unless their helmet straps are buckled up.
Encouraging Children to Wear Bike Helmets
- Start young.
Don’t wait until your child is old enough to ride a bike to require that they wear a helmet; they should start wearing a helmet when riding a tricycle or plastic car or scooter any other outside ride-on toys. Children should also wear helmets when riding behind mom or dad in a bike seat or in a bike trailer.
- Use peer pressure.
Four boys the same age as my daughter live in the townhouses next door to us; they were all riding bikes long before she did, and all of us moms insisted that our kids wear helmets. I think the repeated reminders from all of us, as well as the example of her peers, helped my daughter automatically reach for her helmet before getting on her bike.
- Let your child choose the helmet.
There are a lot of cool designs on helmets these days. Maybe a helmet in your child’s favorite color, or with his or her favorite TV show character, will help your child want to wear it more. They can also try it on to ensure that it fits them properly.
Does your child like wearing his or her helmet? How do you encourage proper helmet use?
Written by Bonnie Way.