Do your kids wear helmets when riding bikes, trikes, and scooters? According to the CDC almost half, only 48%, of children ages 5-14 wear bike helmets. And annually 26,000 of the bike related injuries to adolescents and children are traumatic brain injuries.1 That’s too many!
A number of years ago Scott, my husband, came home from work later than usual due to an accident. He was not involved but was the first one on the scene. A few blocks from our home he came upon a woman sprawled out on the side of the road, her bicycle twisted beside her and a child standing next to her crying. He immediately pulled over and called the paramedics. He helped calm the little girl as the three of them waited for the ambulance to arrive. The mom was okay, but had a nasty bump to her head and was skinned up from the tumble off her bike to the pavement. The child was wearing a helmet, the mom was not.
Mom and Dad, “Do as I say, not as I do” rarely works.
The Danielson Helmet Rule became a non-negotiable for our two boys. They heard it so often as youngsters they could recite it in their sleep, “No helmet, no wheels.” This included bikes, skateboards, in-line skates, scooters, and anything else that could roll. Friends were included too, often sporting my helmet or Scott’s.
Make helmets part of getting ready to ride. A mom in a parenting class once told me, “My preschooler is so close to the ground on her tricycle, she really can’t get hurt.” Oh, yes she can! Even little ones need the protection of a helmet while riding a trike or any other toy vehicle. Once children are accustomed to having a helmet on and buckled under the chin, it will feel strange to go without it.
Yes, it’s a rule but you can make it fun. Go on a special shopping trip. Let your child choose from the helmets that fit correctly. Allow for funky stickers to make it personal. Find a good spot in your home to hang everyone’s helmet. We use hooks in the mudroom to air out biking equipment and to keep everything handy. It’s easier to remember when the helmet is hanging within reach.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a terrific Bicycle Safety Activity Kit. You’ll find everything from how to comfortably fit a helmet to the rules of the road. Download activity sheets for the kids!
As with any lesson you want to instill in your kids, practice what you preach. Strap a helmet on your head before hitting the road or bike trail. When mom and dad wear helmets, kids are more likely to do the same. Modeling matters!
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
By Becky Danielson
Wife to Scott, mom of two sons
Licensed Parent & Family Educator
Co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting
Co-author of Raising Little Kids with Big Love
and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love
both with Study Guides
Contact Becky for your next event!
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:Head Injuries and Bicycle Safety