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Avoiding Injury is as Easy as Riding a Bike

The Injury Prevention Center

Arkansas Children's Hospital

Riding a bicycle is a fun and healthy act of freedom for your child. But with riding comes the risk of bumps, bruises and more serious injuries like broken bones and head trauma. The good news is that many of these injuries can be prevented. Following the safety steps below is a good start to making every ride safer.

Wear a Helmet

Talk with your child about safety gear, especially helmets, before they take their first ride. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injury. Follow the 2-4-1 rule (illustration below) to make sure your child's helmet is worn the right way. Choose a helmet that meets or exceeds the safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Look for the CPSC sticker on the helmet packaging.

Choose a Bike that Fits

A bike that's too big for your child will be hard for him or her to control. Take your child along when shopping for a bike to make sure it's the right fit. While sitting on the seat with their hands on the handlebar, your child should be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground.

Follow the Rules of the Road

  • Children younger than 10 should ride on the sidewalk. Check a child's skills on a family bike ride to make sure he or she is ready to ride with traffic.
  • Stop, look and listen at every intersection. Never assume that a driver in a car can see you or will stop for you.
  • Ride with traffic on the right side of the street. Follow all traffic signs and signals.
  • Only ride during the day. Poor lighting at dusk and at night raise the risk of being hit by a car.

Finally, be a good role model for your children. They're more likely to ride safely if they see you wearing a helmet and obeying traffic laws. You can also set a good example while
driving. Watch for bicyclists at intersections and in driveways and alleyways. Limiting distractions while driving - like talking on a cell phone - will also help you stay alert to anyone sharing the road with you.

It only takes a moment to make sure that riding a bicycle is a fun, healthy and safe activity. Teaching your child bicycle safety will help him or her make good decisions while riding now and in the future.

Learn more about bicycle safety at

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Wear it right every time! Know your helmet salute!

2. Two fingers above your eyebrow to the bottom of your helmet.

4. Four fingers to make a V-shape around the bottom of your ears.

1. One finger under the strap beneath your chin.

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