Bike Safety Tips for This Spring
As the weather warms up in April, parents and children need to be prepped with knowledge and tools for outdoor safety. Dr. Susan Frayer, M.D., a physician at Cameron Family Medicine in Angola, Indiana, shares her safety tips for children during the warmer seasons.
Top Tips for Bike Safety
What to Wear While Riding Your Bike
Children always need to wear a helmet when biking. Some kids feel helmets are uncool, but we can’t look past the importance of protecting the head. Wearing a helmet ensures bikers receive the necessary level of protection. A properly fitted helmet sits level on the head and low on the forehead. It should be between one to two finger widths above the eyebrow. The chin strap should be buckled securely and no more than one or two fingers should fit between the chin and the strap. Helmets should also rest firmly and securely on the head and not rock back or slide forward into the eyes. When your child opens their mouth and yawns, the helmet should pull down on their head.
A common misconception regarding bike safety is that wearing white clothing makes you more visible. Instead, Dr. Frayer suggests wearing neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing to stand out even further. Reflective tape or flashing lights on pieces of clothing and the bike make the rider more visible as well.
Where and When to Ride Your Bike
Most children under 10 aren’t mature enough to make the decisions necessary to safely ride in the street and should instead ride on a sidewalk or driveway. If your child is old enough to independently ride a bike, remind them to always stay alert. Even though they may be able to see a driver, it does not guarantee that the driver can see them. Make sure they understand and obey all traffic laws when riding on the street and avoid letting them ride at night.
Nothing can substitute for adult supervision. Riding bikes as a family is a great, healthy activity and helps keep your kids safe. Visiting local parks and trails is another fun and safe option to consider. This helps keep bikes away from cars and parents can easily keep an eye on their children. Check out local parks and trails in Angola on the city website.
Heat and Sun Precautions
Heat and sun safety are also critical factors to consider when sending your children outside to ride their bikes and play. A heat index above 90 degrees poses a significant health risk. These temperatures can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Remember to hydrate and take frequent water breaks when you are active outdoors in hot weather. Signs of heat exposure can include:
- Feeling faint
- Intense thirst
- Not urinating for several hours
- Nausea or vomiting
- Muscle aches
If your child shows any signs of excessive heat exposure, get out of the heat by finding shade or moving into an air-conditioned environment and drinking water. If symptoms do not improve, seek medical assistance.
The best way to protect your children’s skin from the sun is to cover them up, apply sunscreen, and stay in the shade as much as possible when the sun is at its strongest, generally between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is best for babies under six months to always stay in the shade. Skin cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in the US, with one in five people diagnosed in their lifetime, sometimes as early as in their teens and early 20s.
Are you interested in learning more about bike and sun safety for your children? Call 260-667-5685 to make an appointment to visit Dr. Faur at Cameron Family Medicine in Fremont, Indiana, or to contact any family medicine provider on our website. Cameron’s providers are trained and ready to keep you and your family safe!