Riding a bike to school boosts kids’ health and independence. Here’s how to make sure they stay safe.
“Bike riding is a great way to get exercise, build self-esteem and feel connected to your neighborhood,” says Abbey Iffrig, senior program coordinator at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “Safety should always be the top priority, but kids should still get out and ride their bikes.”
Iffrig offers these tips to make sure your child arrives safely:
- Always accompany young children. Doing so gives you a chance to teach them basic safety rules, such as always riding on the right side of the road and crossing streets at intersections.
- Find a safe route. If you feel like your child will one day be able to handle a daily bike ride to school, take the first few rides with her to learn which roads are safer for bikers than others.
- Use the buddy system. “Once parents think a child is ready to ride to school without an adult, it’s still best for her to ride with at least one other person,” Iffrig says. “It could be a friend or another parent.”
- Make sure every child wears a helmet. Helmets save lives, Iffrig says. Your child should have a bicycle helmet, not one meant for skateboarding or another sport. When choosing a helmet, look for a Snell Memorial Foundation rating or a Consumer Product Safety Commission label. Always replace helmets when they become cracked or worn.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital Safety Stop locations provide free helmet inspections and fittings. Click here for more information.