Kids love riding bikes. Is this a big surprise? Back to school time gets more kids out on the streets riding bikes. It is the drivers responsibility to watch out for these kids. As parents, we should be spending the time teaching our children the rules of the road and how bicycles fit into the circulation of vehicles. Unfortunately, drivers of motor vehicles hold most of the cards in their hands by the sheer size of the vehicle they drive. We want your kids to be safe, and wear a helmet…a PROPERLY fit helmet!
So I always have to go by the bike department at Target when I go with the family. The kids go to the dollar bin, I go by the bike department, it’s just my “thing”. I get so frustrated about how poorly the bikes are built, but I will leave that for another time. Today I must focus on kids helmets!
I always see parents struggling with sizing the helmet to their child. Some kids go along with it, and others scream bloody murder. That’s just part of being a parent. Of course, there are no “helmet specialists” who work at Target, so the parents do their best with “what they feel is best for their child”. I respect that! I still see far too many kids out on bikes without helmets. But with that said, it is one of our many jobs as parents to make sure our children have properly fitting helmets for maximum safety. It is just as important to purchase a properly fitted helmet as to be concerned with the quality of the helmet.
One of the great benefits of buying a helmet from us for your son or daughter is that we can adjust it to your child’s head while you watch. This serves two important purposes: the helmet gets adjusted for optimum safety and you learn the key adjustments and how to make them. This knowledge comes in very handy because kids occasionally like to play with the straps and buckles, altering the fit. So, it’s important to regularly check the helmet’s fit and correct adjustment problems to keep your child safe and comfortable.
When making adjustments, don’t cinch the chin strap too tightly. While this might feel okay at first, it will probably feel tighter and cause chafing and discomfort on a ride. Watch where the side straps align, too. They should pass next to, not over, the ears. The buckles should rest just below the ear lobes.
Always check that the helmet rests squarely on the head so that the helmet’s brow juts forward to protect the forehead and face during a fall. Some helmets include bumped-out brows or visors for this purpose. The front edge of the helmet should rest at or near the top of the eyebrows. One of the first mistakes a child often makes when putting on his own helmet is to tilt it back, exposing his forehead to the dangers of a fall. So always double-check this before rides.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the helmet is a protective device that requires proper care to do its job. Teach your child to treat his helmet with respect because if he abuses it, it may not be able to offer protection in an accident. For example, repeatedly dropping a helmet on a hard surface or leaving it in a parked car on hot summer days are mistakes that can seriously reduce a helmet’s protective qualities.
For more information about helmets for adults and children, visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.