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Health & Parenting

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Bicycle Safety: Getting Kids to Wear Helmets

Parents, Friends Set Examples, Study Shows

In Denial?

Parents tend to overestimate their kids' use of bike helmets, state Parkin and colleagues, citing past studies.

These tips are based on their report:

  • Make sure kids have bike helmets (if you don't have one, you can't wear it).
  • Set rules requiring helmets to be worn when bicycling.
  • Buy your own bike helmet, and use it every time you ride.
  • Know that a biking child is more likely to wear a helmet if his or her friends do, too.
  • Encourage kids to have a good attitude about wearing helmets while biking.

Choosing a Helmet

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers this advice on choosing a bike helmet:

  • Select a helmet that fits snugly and sits flat on the head.
  • For children, use the extra padding that comes with the helmet to ensure proper fit.
  • The extra padding can be removed from the helmet as the child's head grows.

The CPSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend that bicyclists wear helmets that comply with CPSC standards.

More Bike Safety Tips

Besides wearing a helmet every time you ride, the CPSC's bike safety tips include:

  • Make sure your bike is ready to ride and properly adjusted.
  • Make sure your wheels are securely fastened.
  • Always check brakes before riding.
  • Make yourself visible (see and be seen).
  • Always be aware of traffic around you.
  • Avoid biking at night.
  • Stay alert; watch for obstacles in your path.
  • Go with the flow of traffic.
  • Learn the rules of the road and obey traffic laws.

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