Riding a bicycle is an excellent way for kids to spend time outdoors getting exercise. It's also an Earth friendly way to get around. Falls from bicycles cause serious head and facial injuries, though, so make sure your child wears a helmet for every ride.
Here are tips on how to help your child get into the habit.
Establish the helmet habit early
Have your children
wear helmets as soon as they start to ride scooters or tricycles and if they are a passenger on the back of an adult's bike. If they learn to wear helmets whenever they ride something with wheels, it becomes a habit for a lifetime. It's never too late, however, to get your children into helmets.
Wear a helmet yourself
Children learn best by watching you. Whenever you ride your bike, put on your helmet. Plan bicycle outings during which all family members wear their helmets to further reinforce the message. The most important factor influencing children to wear helmets is riding with an adult who wears a helmet.
Talk to your children about why you want them to protect their heads
There are many things you can tell your children to convince them of the importance of helmet use. Bikes are vehicles, not toys. You love and value them and their intelligence, and need to protect them. They can permanently hurt their brains or even die of head injuries. Most professional athletes use helmets when participating in sports. Bicycle racers are required to use them when racing in the United States and in the Olympics.
Let your kids choose & decorate their helmet
Let your child to choose their own helmet. If they like the design, they are more likely to wear it. Just check the label to make sure the helmet meets the
Consumer Product Safety Commission bicycle safety standards and that it
fits correctly. Encourage them to decorate their helmet to express their individuality. Adding reflective stickers and LED lights can also make it easier for drivers to see your child.
Reward your kids for wearing helmets
Praise them; give them special treats or privileges when they wear their helmets without having to be told.
Don't let children ride their bikes unless they wear their helmets
Be consistent. If you allow your children to ride occasionally without their helmets, they won't believe that helmet use really is important. Tell your children they have to find another way to get where they are going if they don't want to use their helmets.
Encourage your children's friends to wear helmets
Peer pressure can be used in a positive way if several families in the neighborhood make helmet use a regular habit at the same time.
Head injuries can occur on sidewalks, on driveways, on bike paths, and in parks as well as on streets. You cannot predict when a fall from a bike will occur. It's important to wear a helmet on every ride.