Owning a bike is an important milestone for children and thanks to the convenience of balance bikes they are now able to ride from a younger age than ever before. Children as young as two years old can now ride on their own without having to worry about pedals, brakes, or training wheels while boosting their confidence in the process.
Thanks to the design of balance bikes, kids will have their feet securely on the ground most of the time, but this does not mean that safety precautions should not be taken. As your child increases in confidence and skill, it is inevitable that they will begin to push their boundaries. Take a look at our do’s and don’ts to keep your little ones safe from harm.
Ensure That The Bicycle Is The Right Size
Proper safety begins even before the child begins to ride, by making sure that you buy them a balance bike that is the right size. Carefully check the specifications for the balance bike you or your child are interested in and take note of the maximum weight capacity and seat height.
After selecting a bike it is important to adjust the seat to the correct height for your child. An easy way to determine the correct height is to measure your child’s inseam and then adjust the seat height to be 1.18 inches shorter. This will allow your child to handle the bike easier. It is tempting to buy a larger bike in the hopes that the child will “grow into” it, but this only increases the risk of falling over. Instead, look for a balance bike with a saddle that can be adjusted as the child grows.
Teach Your Child The Importance Of Wearing An Helmet
Wearing a helmet is the most obvious, yet most important safety precaution your child can take. It doesn’t matter how adept your child is at riding their bike or how careful they are, accidents can and will happen. By making the child wear a helmet you can decrease their chances of a head injury significantly. It is a common misconception that because kids cannot ride their balance bikes as fast as a pedal bike that there is no need for a helmet.
However, not only is it safer for them to wear a helmet, but it also teaches them the importance of doing so which will come in handy when they transition to bigger, faster bikes. It is vital that the helmet is worn properly and that the forehead is not left exposed as this means the child is not fully protected against injuries. Ensure that the helmet is level on the child’s head and that the straps are securely properly. Also, remember that you are an important role model for your child, so I if you ride a bicycle make sure that you wear a helmet in order to set a proper example for them.
Supervise your child
Depending on how old your child is, it is important to keep them under constant supervision while they are riding. Younger children are not as adept as older ones at spotting obstacles and avoiding them. Studies have shown that kids younger than nine years old have poorer peripheral vision and they also tend to have a limited focus which means they can’t always concentrate on everything around them.
By encouraging and coaching your child while they ride you can help them to be better riders. While your child is still busy learning how to ride it is important that they do so in a safe and secure area under proper supervision. Most bicycle accidents involving smaller children are due to falls, or collisions with stationary objects. By ensuring that your child learns all the basics in a safe and obstacle-free environment. It is also important to teach your children the rules of the road, even at a young age in order to ensure that they are more responsible.
Wear The Right Clothes
Since a major part of riding balance bikes involves using your feet it is important for kids to wear proper shoes. Try to avoid letting your child ride their balance bike while they are barefoot or wearing flip flops and instead opt for something a bit more stable and safe such as tennis shoes.
This will allow them to start and stop much easier and without any danger of them injuring their toes. Clothing can also play an important role in safety while children are cycling. Bright clothing can ensure that the child is more visible if they ride in public areas while opting for something like jeans instead of shorts can prevent scuffs if they do fall. And using bike gloves could protect their little hands when they topple over.
Inspect The Balance Bike Regularly
Balance bikes have fewer parts than regular bikes – such as chains or sprockets – that can get damaged or cause problems for the child, but it is still important to exercise proper maintenance. Depending on how rough your child handles their bike, some parts can still experience wear and tear or become loose. It is especially important to keep the bolts tightened securely on wooden balance bikes as these have a tendency to loosen from regular use. Also, make sure that the seat is always properly secured as well as the handlebars.