While your children may not be able to participate in their standard summer activities such as camp, athletic programs or day trips to local amusement parks or water parks, there are still ways they can get outside for fresh air and exercise. Bike riding is an excellent source of cardio and can take place right in the neighborhood where you can keep an eye on your child. Before your child goes out for a ride, it is important to perform a few safety checks to ensure the bike is in full working order and can be ridden without incident. Many of these checks are simple and can be taught to your child as well!

How to check if the helmet fits properly

A bicycle helmet should be worn each time the bike gets taken out for a ride to protect the head and face in the event of a fall. The helmet itself should cover your children’s forehead and be able to stay in place without tipping front to back or moving from side to side when fastened. The straps should be secure without pinching the skin. Somewhere on the helmet should be a label marking it as approved and meeting the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), indicating that it meets federal requirements for helmet safety. Additional equipment that may suited for children who are not confident riders include wrist guards, gloves and knee pads to protect from scrapes during falls. 

How to check if the bike is the correct size for your child

If your child hasn’t taken their bike out for a ride yet this summer, you may not know if they have outgrown it. Children are constantly growing, and even a few additional inches of height can affect their ability to ride their bike. To measure your child to see if they have outgrown their bicycle, have them stand with one leg on either side of the bike with their feet flat on the ground. There should be between one and three inches of space between where your child is standing and the top bar of the bicycle. If your child has too much space between themselves and the top bar, they may not be able to ride comfortably and may be more prone to accidents due to limited control. If your child is using a hand-me-down bike and does not have at least one to three inches between themselves and the top bar, the bike is too big for them and they may not be able to reach the pedals at all angles. If you need help determining the best size of bike for your child, visit your local sporting goods store or bike shop to have your child measured by a professional.

How to perform a safety check before riding your bicycle

Before your child takes their bike out for a ride, make sure you perform the following safety checks to ensure the safety of your child and the functionality of the bike itself:

  • Make sure the seat, handlebars and tires are secure and adequately tightened so they do not come loose during the ride
  • Examine the tread of the tires and check the air pressure of both tires for control and adequate traction on the road
  • Check the chain and brakes for resistance and apply oil if necessary
  • Check what your child is wearing. If they are wearing loose clothing or their shoes are untied, make sure they change and tie their shoes. Loose fabric and shoelaces can get caught in the chain, leading to accidents. 

Injury Treatment in Hamilton & Trenton, NJ

If your child is injured while riding their bike, visit Urgent Care of Mercer County. We will be able to x-ray and treat injuries including fractures, sprains, cuts and scrapes. We are open seven days a week and always accept walk-in patients, so appointments are not necessary. For questions, please call 609-890-4100.