Summer break will be here soon and your children will be jumping on their bikes and going outside to play. While getting them outside after this long winter may not be difficult, getting them to wear a bike helmet can be troublesome. Even more troublesome are the startling statistics that stem from children not wearing helmets.
In 2013, Dayton Children’s Hospital saw 511 injuries related to bicycle accidents. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 75 percent of bike-related fatalities would be prevented with a helmet. Helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and severe brain injury by 88 percent.
May is National Bike Month and the perfect time to talk to your children about wearing a bike helmet and why it is so important to protect their head. Protecting your child from head injury can be as easy as a few encouraging words.
Here are 5 simple tips to encourage your child to wear a helmet:
1. Establish the helmet habit early. When children receive their first bike, make sure to get a helmet as well. Learning to wear a helmet every time they ride will develop into a lifelong habit. If possible, start them off with helmets while they are still on tricycles to establish the link between wheeled vehicles, pavement and helmets. It’s never too late, however, to get your children into helmets.
2. Let them pick out their own helmet. If they make the decision of which helmet to buy, they are more likely to buy into the idea of wearing a helmet.
3. Wear one yourself. Be a role model for your kids. After all, they learn best by observing you. Put on your helmet every time you ride and wear it properly. The helmet should not sit on the back of your head. If you look up and cannot see the rim of the helmet, move it until you can see the rim. Fasten the strap beneath your chin. When you open your mouth the helmet should hug your head. If it does not, tighten the strap.
4. Reward them for wearing a helmet. Praise them every time they wear their helmet. If they do so without being told, give them a special treat or privilege.
5. Talk to them about the importance of protecting their head. Let them know that their bikes are not toys, but rather their first vehicles. Educate them on how not wearing a helmet can hurt their head and cause serious injury.
When pulling the bikes out of the garage, remember to grab the helmets too. Encouraging your children to wear their helmet could prevent serious injury or even death. Equipping your child with the right helmet this month could help save their life.