I see many families in my community enjoying a bike ride together. Children are happily spinning their wheels, ringing their bells and enjoying their outdoor adventure. I smile as I see them proudly don their bike helmet and hope that because they have started this healthy habit early, it will stay with them for a lifetime. Then I see the parent(s) pull up the rear of the cycling pack with their children safely in sight and that’s when I notice it…the parent is not wearing a helmet! As an avid helmet-wearing cyclist with my children, this is one of my pet peeves.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Ontario’s bicycle helmet legislation applies only to those under 18 years of age. However, with head injuries being the number one cause of serious injury and death to kids on bicycles, wearing a properly fitted helmet helps to protect your brain from absorbing the force from a fall at any age. In fact it can reduce the risk of serious head injury by up to 85%. Cycling with your family is a great opportunity for parents to provide a positive role model for their children. Research has shown that if a parent wears a bike helmet when riding with their child, their child is more likely to wear a helmet.
This brings me to my next pet peeve, poorly fitted helmets! Too small; too big; not the right helmet for the activity. When I’m fitting helmets at local bike safety rodeos, I answer a lot of frequently asked questions. So here are some tips to get you started;
- Get the right kind of helmet for the right activity.
- Make sure the helmet meets safety standards.
- Make sure the helmet fits your child’s head.
MTO’s Young Cyclist Guide also has more information on bicycle equipment, riding tips, and the rules of the road to keep you safe while cycling.
Be a good role model! Always wear your helmet when you ride your bike and praise children for wearing helmets, especially if they do so without being asked. Happy riding!
Share your experience:
For more tips and hints about bike safety, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:
- Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
- Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.
About this guest blogger:
Brenda Soper Manning is a full-time Public Health Nurse on the Elementary School Team. She works with school communities supporting them as they strive to be healthy and safe. A busy mom of two boys, 5 and 7, Brenda and her partner in crime (aka Paul or dad) enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing hockey and soccer, and are always up for a Lego Star Wars adventure… may the force be with you!