at-play safety tips: riding bikes

Help active kids avoid unnecessary bumps, bruises, and scrapes with these bike riding safety tips

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Preschool is a time when many kids get their first bike experience--some with the aid of training wheels, others on their first two-wheel bike. Here are some tips to help you make sure their first time (and every time) on a bike is safe:
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Don't take the same approach to buying a bike that you do when purchasing clothes for your child: Buying a bike for him to grow into can lead to accidents. Buy a bike that is age-appropriate for him now. Take him to a bike shop where a sales associate can help you pick a bike that is tailored to his current height, strength, and developmental abilities.
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Don't push your child to attempt riding a two-wheel bike before she is developmentally or emotionally ready for the challenge.
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All family members should be properly fitted for helmets before biking because spills and falls can happen anywhere. According the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "Many accidents happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths." Children learn by example, so make sure you always wear your helmet.
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Set boundaries for your kids regarding where they can and can't ride their bikes. Preschoolers should never ride their bike on the street, even if they are with adults.
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Reflectors help increase your child's visibility to cars and other bikers. Make sure their bikes are properly equipped with reflectors on the front and rear, as well as on the pedals, and front and rear wheel spokes. Many accidents between bikes and cars occur at dusk when the light is changing.
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Properly maintain your child's bike. Keep tires sufficiently inflated and the chain well oiled. To prevent your child from taking the bike out without permission, keep it stored in a safe, locked place.
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Kids should wear proper footwear when biking. Sneakers and lace-up shoes are the best option. Make sure shoelaces are well-tied without dangling over the side of the shoe, to prevent accidental tangling in the bike chain. Don't let kids bike in open-toed shoes or with bare feet.
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Teach your kids to dismount and walk their bikes across busy intersections, being certain to always cross with the light in the crosswalk.
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Help your child learn how to properly brake her bike and how to handle riding on bumpy surfaces. Knowing how to moderate her speed, or control her bike when road surfaces are uneven can help her avoid unnecessary accidents or spills.
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For more bicycle-safety tips, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Important Disclaimer: This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a doctor with questions about your or your child's condition. NickJr.com does not recommend or endorse specific tests, products, procedures, opinions, or other information provided by any sponsors or other third parties. Please also see NickJr.com's Terms of Use.
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