Falling off is part of learning to ride bicycles, so it’s important to know how to keep children safe once they start riding. Your child’s safety starts with protective gear, safety lessons and riding in safe places.

Safety basics:

Here’s a list of safety basics to follow when your child is learning to ride a bicycle.

  • Wear a helmet. Helmets are compulsory when riding bikes.
  • Teach your child to look carefully at the riding environment to decide whether it’s safe to ride.
  • Give your child some practice in a safe area, like your backyard or a park.
  • Always make sure a grown-up is with your child while she’s riding.

Helmets

Helmets are compulsory for riding bikes. Wearing a helmet will help protect your child against serious head injuries.

Here are tips for finding the safest helmet for bikes:

  • Take your child with you when buying a helmet to make sure it’s properly fitted.
  • Do the ‘push test’ to make sure the helmet is a snug fit. If you can push the helmet backwards, forwards or sideways once you’ve done up the clips, it’s too big.
  • Don’t buy a second-hand helmet – there’s no way of knowing if the previous owner has damaged it in an accident.
  • Always replace helmets after an impact or accident.

Learning to ride
Learning to balance and control a bicycle might result in a few falls, but most children get the hang of balance and control fairly quickly. Then it takes a lot of time and practice to develop the skills and understanding to ride safely.

When your child starts learning to ride, it’s best if he:

  • learns away from traffic and in a safe place, like a backyard or park
  • learns somewhere that provides a soft landing like grass for falls
  • learns at his own pace
  • has good adult role models who always wear their helmets

Safe falling
Teach your child how to fall in a safe way. It’s a good idea to give your child some falling practice on a grassy patch before she hits the skate ramp.

Here are some tips for falling safely:

  • Bend your knees and get down low.
  • Try to fall sideways, not backwards or head first.
  • Try to land on your shoulder and roll.
  • Fall onto your pads.

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