Warm weather calls for kids to hit the open road on their bikes, but there are a few things you should know about proper helmet fittings and bicycle maintenance before you let them go.
First and most importantly, the helmet fit. Dawne Gardner, CCIC Injury Prevention Specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), says to check your child’s eyes, ears and mouth. “A helmet should sit level on your child’s head, resting on the forehead, one to two finger widths above the eyebrows,” she says. “If the child looks up he should be able to see the rim of the helmet.” Straps should be even and form a V under each ear, as well as lay flat against the head a little tight, she adds. Gardner also says the chin strap should be loose enough to breathe comfortably but snug enough that if your child opens his mouth, the helmet “hugs the head.”
“Helmets come with fit pads to help ensure a proper fit. If necessary, use the pads where there is space at the front, back and/or sides of the helmet to get a snug fit,” Gardner says.
Next, make sure kid bikes (and yours) are in good working order. Gardner says to inflate tires to the proper pressure and check them for any cuts or cracks. Inspect the brakes, and be sure to also check that seats and handlebars are nice and tight.
If your child hit a growth spurt last winter, make sure that he still fits his old bike.
“Children should not be riding a bike scrunched up with their knees hitting the handlebars, nor should they be stretched out to reach the handlebars,” says Gardner. “The child should be able to dismount and comfortably straddle the bike standing on flat feet, clearing the top bar by at least an inch.”
Need a new bike this year? “It’s not recommended that parents buy a bike their child can ‘grow’ into,” says Gardner, cautioning against compromising on safety. “Big bikes are hard to manage for little people,” she adds.
does your bike need a tune-up or repair?
Ride Cincinnati Celebrates 10 Years!
It’s the 10th anniversary for Ride Cincinnati (pictured above), a family-friendly, non-competitive bike ride that raises funds for breast cancer research at The Barrett Cancer Center. In honor of this year’s milestone, the event adds new options for families to enjoy, including a three-mile fun walk for those who don’t want to bike and a new Pink Mile on the last mile of the course (pink ribbons decorate the Purple People Bridge). Families can choose from eight- or 16-mile rides on closed road courses, and avid cyclists can choose routes that cover 26, 45 or 63 miles.
Ride Cincinnati takes place on Sunday, June 12, and begins at Yeatman’s Cove in Sawyer Point. Registration is $15 – $20 ages 12 and younger, $30 adult walkers and $40 – $45 adult bikers. Visit ridecincinnati.org for a complete schedule of ride times and to sign up!