Bike and Wheeled Safety

Be sure to check your city’s laws on bike safety and helmet laws. It may be against the law for your child or you to ride without a helmet. Be a good role model as a parent.  Make sure to always put your helmet on each time you get on your bike and head out for a ride.  

Parents should teach children the rules of the road:

  • Stop at every stop sign. Look left, right, and left again before proceeding.
  • Stop at the end of the driveway. Look left, right, and left before entering the street.
  • Use proper hand signals.
  • Obey traffic signs and signals.
  • Ride bikes, scooters and other wheeled toys on smooth, paved surfaces without traffic.
  • Avoid streets and surfaces with water, sand, gravel or dirt.
  • Do not ride at night. 

When buying a bicycle for your child, it is important that you purchase one that currently fits him or her, instead of one to grow into. A bike that fits is a safe choice; same goes for the helmet.

  • Children should be able to place their feet on the ground when sitting on the bike with their hands on the handlebars.

Wear safety gear when riding a scooter.In November 2000, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued an updated safety standard recommending that all children who ride scooters wear proper safety gear.

  • Wearing proper safety gear, including a helmet and knee and elbow pads, will help prevent injuries.
  • Wrist guards are no longer advised as part of kids’ scooter safety gear. Wrist guards can make it hard for a child to grip the handle and steer the scooter.
  • A person should wear a helmet to help protect the head when doing these activities:
    • Riding a bicycle, skateboard or scooter
    • Rollerblading or skating

Most injuries from scooter-related accidents have resulted when a rider falls off of a scooter. According to the CPSC, fractures and dislocations of the arms and hands account for 29 percent of most scooter injuries. 

  • Protect your child’s head. Make sure children always wear their helmet before heading out for a bike ride. Wearing a helmet is the best protection for preventing head injuries. It can even save your child’s life!
  • Babies younger than 1 year old have weak neck structures and shouldn’t wear a helmet or travel on a bike. Children should not wear a helmet until they at least 1. Children less than 1 year old should not ride on the back of a parent’s bike or ride in a trailer behind a bike.
  • A helmet is considered safe if it is certified by CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). Check the inside of the helmet for the CPSC sticker. Check the outside of the helmet box to see if it is certified by CPSC.
  • Never buy or use a second-hand helmet. It may be too old to protect your child’s head or it may have been involved in a crash.
  • The best way to find a helmet for your child is to first measure his or her head circumference. Run a tape measure across your child’s forehead, around the back of the head and stop where the two ends meet. The number of inches shown on the tape measure is your child’s head circumference. Take this number with you when buying a helmet.  It will help you get the right size for your child.
  • A helmet fits properly if the straps that go around the ears look like the letter “V” under the child’s ear.
  • You should be able to fasten the chin strap securely under the child’s chin without causing discomfort.
  • The helmet should sit on the child’s head tight enough that once the buckle is secure, the helmet cannot be rocked from side to side or front to back.
  • The front rim of the helmet should be two fingers width (about an inch) above the child’s eyebrows.
  • If the helmet has a rear stabilizer, make sure it is snug below the bulge at the back of the head.
  • Ask your child to shake his or her head “yes” and “no.”  If the helmet does not move, the fit is good. If there is movement, try adjusting the straps again or try a different helmet.
  • Place your palm on the front of the helmet and push up and back.  If the helmet moves more than one inch, try adjusting the straps or try a different helmet.

For more information about scooter safety, please contact the Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati Trauma Services Department (trauma@cchmc.org), 513-636-7865. 


Last Updated 09/2012