Parents often ask at what age they can begin to take their children on bike rides with them. SafeKids Worldwide states that infants under 12 months should not ride in a bicycle seat, trailer, or carrier. Infants (at 9 months of age) are just becoming strong enough to hold up their heads and neck and sit unsupported with their backs straight. They should not be placed in slumped positions for a long amount of time. In addition, children should always wear a helmet when placed in a bike trailer, and helmets are not made to properly fit children under the age of 12 months.
Once your child is over one year of age and you want to include them in a family bike ride, make sure the trailer you are using has a five-point harness, reflectors, and safety flags. Also, be sure your child is always wearing a properly fitting helmet. Riding in a trailer or in a seat behind you will be a much rougher ride for the infant, so keep the bike ride short or take breaks along the way if going for a longer ride.
For older children, the number one rule is to always have them wear a properly fitted helmet when on a bike, skateboard, roller skates, rollerblades, or scooter. It is the most effective way to reduce head injuries from bicycle and other wheeled-sports accidents.
Not sure how to properly fit a bike helmet? Let the experts at the Hannah Geneser Learning Center & Safety Store help! Located inside the main entrance of Iowa Methodist Medical Center, the Safety Store provides helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist braces at below retail cost. Their staff can also show you how to get the perfect fit for a helmet of any size!
Parents should model proper bike safety for their children by always wearing a helmet whenever they are on a bicycle. Make sure the bicycle you have for your child is the right size and everything is working correctly on it before the child uses it each time. Until children feel more comfortable on their bikes, it is important to limit their bike riding to only sidewalks or bike paths. When you go on a family bike ride that includes riding on the street, be sure to follow traffic safety rules and teach your children bike safety hand signals to use while on the ride.
Find more information on bike safety here.