Enjoying the Ride
As the days start getting a little cooler and the beach and water activity slows down, it's a great time to turn to bike riding. It's not only fun and relaxing but it povides teachable moments to review bike etiquette, rules and safety before the kids head off on their own with their bike as a means of transportation to school.
A "mechanical" tune up and a review of road rules are good things to consider as we work our way to the beginning of the school year. Equally important to consider is your child's bike helmet. A bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head injury by 85 percent.
BUYING A BIKE HELMET:
1. Buy one that has been tested and “approved” for protection. You can tell this by looking for an ASTM, ANSI or Snell sticker on the inside of the helmet.
2. There are many different brands and sizes. Select one that fits well prior to any adjustments. Many offer adjustable sizing pads to help ensure a better fit. Buy the one that’s most comfortable and attractive to you. You’ll be more likely to wear it.
3. Any helmet that has been involved in a crash has done its job. Replace it!
4. Buy one to fit the rider now, not for one to grow into.
But it's not enough to simply buy and wear one - you need to make sure it fits properly. More likely than not, your child has grown since school let out in Spring so it time to review and adjust. There are 3 essential factors when fitting a bike helmet to your child's head.
POSITION: Put the helmet on your child's head so it sits evenly between the ears and rests low on the forehead - it should only be about 1-2 finger widths above the eyebrow.
PADS: Put foam pads inside the helmet so it feels comfortable but really snug. Usually, the helmet includes more than one size of foam pads that can be velcroed inside the helmet for a better fit.
STRAPS: Tighten the chin strap as snugly as possible. Adjust the junction of front and back straps just under the ears and secure back strap without putting pressure on the front strap.
If all of this sounds confusing, follow the simple 5-Step Fit Test Developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.