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Kids' Bike Safety Tips

For kids, bike safety can be an afterthought, so parents need to make rules.


Updated March 14, 2013

School-age child riding bicycle with helmet

Enforce kids' bike safety rules every time your child rides.

Catherine Holecko

As soon as he's tooling around on his first tricycle, your child should know and follow bicycle safety rules. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these guidelines for kids' bike safety:

  • Don't push your child to ride a two-wheeled bike until she is ready, at about age 5 or 6. Consider her coordination and desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster (foot) brakes, instead of hand brakes, until your child is older and more experienced.

  • Take your child with you when you shop for the bike, so that he can try it out. Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to grow into. Oversized bikes are especially dangerous. (To save money, look for a high-quality used bike.)

  • Insist that your child wear a helmet on every single bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many accidents happen on driveways, sidewalks, and bike paths, not just on streets.

  • When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard.

  • Make sure the helmet fits properly and that your child is wearing it correctly. It should be worn so that it is level on the head, not tipped forwards or backwards. The strap should be securely fastened, and you should not be able to move the helmet in any direction.

  • Children learn best by observing you. Whenever you ride, put on your helmet, too.
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