Bicycles, scooters and skateboard safety for children

15 September 2023
Posted by: Chelsea

Safety in this area has improved greatly in recent times, even so, far too many children continue to suffer sometimes serious injuries when riding bikes and other wheeled devices.

It’s important to take bicycles, scooters and skateboard safety for children seriously. Apart from growing up, almost all adults can fondly remember their bike, scooter or skateboard etc. Many can also probably remember more than one painful tumble!

However, some accidents of this type are more than just a grazed knee. They can be serious or even fatal.

It’s very healthy for children to grow up with experience of riding bikes or manual scooters. It’s healthy exercise and increases a child’s sense of balance and equilibrium. It helps build their ability to control their own body.

Fortunately, today there is a range of safety equipment that can make the experience not only as enjoyable as it always was but safer as well.

Top safety tips for children and wheels

Here are some top tips for children’s use of wheels:

  • know the law. In Australia, in all states and territories, the use of a helmet when riding a bike is now obligatory. In some states, it may also be so for other wheeled devices;
  • always buy a new helmet, never second-hand. Don’t use helmets that have previously been damaged, even if only slightly;
  • make sure the helmet and any other safety equipment fit the child well and are appropriate for their age. An ill-fitting helmet may be near useless or possibly even dangerous in its own right;
  • accepting that a realistic balance needs to be struck, it is often sensible to consider other safety equipment like knee-pads and so on;
  • Any equipment your child is using should be of the correct size for their age. Resist any demands from your child to ride or use equipment that is designed for older more experienced children;
  • ensure that the bike or board is in good operational condition. While many of us might remember old rusty bikes that we loved dearly, in reality, poorly maintained equipment can be very dangerous;
  • train your child in the correct riding or usage techniques. Emphasize safety awareness. Remember to be patient – not all children are ‘naturals’ when it comes to using wheels;
  • don’t mock or overly motivate your child’s efforts. If they think they’re underperforming against your expectations, they might cut corners and take silly risks to improve their standing in your eyes. That can be dangerous;
  • teach them the correct falling techniques. That essentially means falling sideways and rolling on their shoulders;
  • public roads and young children on wheels are fundamentally incompatible. Where younger children are concerned, this should probably be an outright and non-negotiable ban;
  • Make sure you have basic first-aid training. Hopefully, it won’t be required but if your child does have a spill, those skills may be invaluable;
  • regularly check your child’s equipment. All the usual common-sense things apply.

Of course, in all this, it’s important to remember that these activities should be fun for a child and care must be taken to avoid intimidating them to the extent they become frightened by the activity.

With some judgement, it’s usually possible to find a happy compromise.

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