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Bicycles, Tricycles and Helmets for Toddlers

August 8, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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toddler on tricycle wearing her helmet

 

Bicycles and tricycles are a great way for a young child to see the world.  

As long as you take some basic precautions, it's a safe way to travel, too.


Helmets

Always make sure your toddler wears a helmet:

  • Choose one made especially for young children.
  • Choose bright colours so your toddler can be seen.
  • Store helmets on handlebars, ready for the next ride.
  • Store helmets out of the sunand not in the back window of cars.
  • Replace old helmets. Their lifespan is only five years, because the foam lining breaks down.
  • Do not use a helmet that has been in a crash, dropped, or damaged.
  • Second hand helmets aren't recommended. You won't know how old it is or if it's been in a crash.
  • Choose round helmets rather than "aero" shaped ones. The tail of an aero shaped helmet forces your toddler's head forward when it rests against the back of the seat. This is not good for her neck.
  • Placing decorative stickers on helmets can prevent the shell from protecting your child properly.
  • Children learn by example - make sure you always wear a helmet during bike rides, too. 

Bicycle Child Trailers

Only skilled cyclists should carry young children on bicycles or in trailers. Bike rides should take place in safe areas, such as parks, bike paths, or quiet streets. Practice turning, stopping, and hill climbing with some weight (such as a bag of flour) before putting your toddler in a carrier. This will help you learn how to manage the extra weight.

Trailers have a lower centre of gravity and are more stable than child seats mounted on a bike. They can be used for one or two children weighing up to 45 kg (100 lb.)

Here are some bicycle child trailer safety tips:

  • Ensure that you both wear government certified helmets
  • Securely fasten the safety harness around your child.
  • Check that your toddler's harness is well designed and secure.
  • Use a bike flag to increase visibility.
  • Make sure the trailer has a tail light and reflector.
  • Choose quiet, protected areas in which to ride.
  • Do not ride with your toddler during bad weather or when road conditions are unsafe.
  • Your toddler should not be able to reach the wheels while in motion.
  • Make sure the trailer is stable. Check to see if the hitching bar and connection that joins the trailer to the bike are both strong.
  • Your toddler should be well protected from sand and grit thrown up by the bike tires.

Bicycle Mounted Child Seats

These seats can be used until your toddler reaches 18 kg (40 lb.) in weight.

  • Buckle the harness snugly around your toddler.
  • Check that your toddler's feet, hands, and clothing are well away from the spokes or other moving parts of the bike.
  • Be prepared to be thrown off balance if your toddler moves suddenly.
  • Never leave your toddler alone in a bicycle mounted child seat.

Tricycles

When your toddler uses a ride-on toy or tricycle, with or without pedals, supervise carefully, check the surrounding area for safety, and make sure your toddler always wears a properly fitting helmet.

Here are some more tips for keeping your child safe on a tricycle:

  • Enforce the rule: no helmet, no bike ride. Get your toddler used to this rule early on.
  • Always supervise your toddler closely while he is learning to ride.
  • Don’t offer a tricycle until your toddler can control it and ride it safely.
  • Make sure the tricycle is solidly built.
  • Make sure the tricycle is the right size. Your toddler should be able to pedal while sitting squarely on the seat.
  • Avoid all areas close to cars, swimming pools, or other dangers.

4 S’s

When checking your toddler’s helmet for safety, remember the 4 S’s:

  • Size
  • Strap
  • Sticker
  • Straight

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Child Safety: Bicycles and Tricycles

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Topic

  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
    1. Pregnancy & Birth
    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
    4. Preschool (3-5 years)
    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
  4. Food & Nutrition

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