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Preventing biking injuries: Encouraging safety

Biking safety education is one way to help keep your child safe. Children often ride bikes, many more often than adults. As a result, they're at a higher risk of getting into a crash, especially if they ride near roadways.

Biking-related injuries are the injuries most often seen in emergency rooms around the country for anyone between the ages of 5 and 14. Only around 45 percent of children 14 and under wear a helmet, which increases the likelihood of a serious head injury.

What can you do to make sure your child stays safer when riding? Start with wearing the right gear. Children should always wear helmets. If they fall and hit their heads, replace the damaged helmets immediately. Even if a helmet looks like no damage occurred, it's likely that the foam inside compressed and is now useless in future accidents.

Teach your child to ride as close to the side of the road as possible. This helps keep him or her out of the way of traffic. If he or she rides at dawn, dusk or night, make sure that he or she has on reflective materials and that you include a light on the bike itself. Making your child visible reduces the risk of a serious accident.

Finally, remember that children don't have as much knowledge as adults about safety. Ride with them or monitor them until they're old enough to know their way around the roads and road safety. In the case that they do get hit by a driver, remember that the driver was responsible for making sure that he or she was going slow enough to avoid children in the area.

Source: Safe Kids Connecticut, "Bike Safety," accessed Jan. 03, 2018

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