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My kids are growing up so fast and are active in sports. They love to go bike riding or ride with their scooters.
When we are on the road, however, I get so frightened by all the cars parked at their houses that can pull out at any time, or the cars racing down the road at full speed.
As much as I want them outdoors, I kind of hate the safety part of it a bit I admit. I however understand the importance of teaching them how to be safe on the road from the beginning so that when they do get older and don’t want grown-ups to be present with them on their bike rides, I can feel a bit better knowing that I have taught them some simple rules to work with.
According to the National Safety Council, the number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents increased by 16% in 2020 and has increased by 44% in the last 10 years, from 873 in 2011 to 1,260 in 2020.
There is no doubt seeing these statistics that it is important to help teach our kids how to be safe on the road, starting from a young age.
So we attended a program sponsored by Baycare Kids in association with St. Joseph Children’s Hospital and learned a lot of things that even I as a parent didn’t know about.
Here are a few of the tips that I have learned that are quite beneficial for your family to also learn.
Have you also started teaching your kids about road safety? Please feel free to share your own ideas, or ask your questions or concerns below. I will be happy to help you.
“Teaching your kids about road safety from an early age is beneficial for their growth.”
Conversations about safety
The more you start with these conversations about safety in the beginning, the better it is for you and your family in the long run.
Start the process, as soon as they are able to understand simple things, like looking before crossing the street or wearing safety helmets at all times when riding a bike, or a scooter.
Have that talk as you go for walks or bike riding or whatever family activity you choose to do outside.
Programs that talk about safety
We have had the opportunity to do several safety programs that are held in our communities on a regular basis. There have been not only road safety programs but swimming safety and car safety programs as well.
Baycare Kids in association with St. Joseph Children’s Hospital have often held a road safety class that helps kids learn how to stay safe on the road starting at the age of 5.
They showed them safety videos, demonstrations, and active play learning on how to stay safe on the road.
Do a Google search of available programs in your area to see what may be available for learning.
Staying safe on the road
Just like anything else in life that is deemed important, safety on the road should also be taken into consideration, especially for kids.
What we have learned is that:
- Helmets are important when riding a bike. The bike helmet keeps your child’s head and brain safe should your child fall.
- Your child’s bicycle should also be fitted correctly by ensuring that the child can put both feet flat on the ground when she sits on the bike seat.
- A child should always be sitting down when riding a bike.
- Young children should also not be allowed to ride at night due to limited visibility.
- A child should also wear brightly colored clothing so that drivers can see them.
- A child should always ride in the direction of traffic.
- Always look left, then right, then left again before crossing a street.
- Before crossing the street at a crosswalk, make sure to alert the driver with a hand wave that you are about to cross the street. Once the driver has responded to your signal, then it is safe to go across the street.
- Always obey the signs on the streets that are there to help to protect you.
I never really thought about the actual safety aspect of wearing a helmet when biking because I probably didn’t wear one growing up, to be honest.
But I watched a video presentation and demonstartion with my child about what can happen when kids don’t wear their helmets, and I changed my thought process on the entire ordeal.
I completely understand why a children’s hospital would help to educate kids about the safety of wearing helmets when they actually have seen cases so often there.
So as a parent, I also want to take the initiative to help others to understand as well by writing this informative blog that may not have been told to me as a kid riding her bike without a helmet when she was little.
Here are some helmet safety tips that I also learned and found to be extremely helpful.
How to fit a bike helmet correctly
Before fitting a bike helmet, make sure that you research the right size for your child. You don’t want to have the wrong size. That can also be dangerous! You want your child to have a well-fitted helmet and they do vary in size.
Also, make sure the helmet that they initially had at 3 years of age is now a bit larger at 6 or 7 years of age. The correct size for the age group is important and should be checked periodically.
Here are the steps that I have learned from the Baycare kids and St. Joseph Children’s Hospital road safety class for kids.
To ensure the helmet is fitted correctly:
- The helmet should sit level on your child’s head.
- It must be worn low on the forehead, two fingers above the eyebrows.
- The plastic slider on both sides of the helmet must be adjusted by forming a “V” shape under their ears.
- The next step is to tighten the straps under the chin and adjust the pads inside so that the helmet doesn’t move.
- The helmet should fit snugly and must always be buckled, EACH time your child rides.
I am super glad that I was able to attend this class with my child and watch as he also learned how to practice road safety tips at home.
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Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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