Children are still out of school, and many have no doubt spent the past few days playing with the myriad toys that they received for the holiday. In the state of California, where we can expect warm weather all throughout the year, many of those kids may have spent the intervening days riding their shiny new bikes around the neighborhood.
If a bicycle was one of your child’s gifts under the Christmas tree, it’s up to you to make sure that the product isn’t going to pose any kind of hazard. Thankfully, Cape Coral, Florida’s Fire Department has released an important series of tips focused on making sure that bike is as safe as it could possibly be.
First, make sure that you’ve put the bike together properly, and even think about adding a few accessories that didn’t necessarily come as standard equipment on the particular bike that your child received. That means the installation of lights that can leave no question as to the presence of a child on a bike to drivers, and reflectors that further ensure headlights will have something to catch.
The most important piece of equipment, though, is something that doesn’t actually go on the bicycle itself. We’re talking about a helmet, which can go a long way toward preventing a concussion or other serious injuries should your child take a fall or be involved in some type of a bicycle accident. If you haven’t already bought this helmet, take your child with you to make the purchase so that they can pick one out and you can be sure it encases their head properly.
Of course, all of this equipment could be for nought if the child doesn’t know the proper manner in which to ride. If this is their first bike, they obviously are going to need instructions from you as to how to ride safely. Children should know to respect the presence of motor vehicles and to only cross at intersections where doing so is to be expected by drivers. Have them keep their heads forward with their eyes constantly scanning the environment, especially in residential areas where a vehicle might suddenly speed out of a driveway. You might even teach your children the appropriate hand signals to use so that they’ll always be able to let nearby traffic know their intentions.
After a couple weeks go by, revisit the bike to make sure that it still suits your child’s frame. Your child should be able to bring their feet to the ground without straining, otherwise they could easily lose balance and suffer a fall. Finally, make sure the various components of the bike are all properly aligned and free of damage, and see to any necessary repairs at once.