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Roll Safely

Tips for kids on the move

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Roll Safely

The sun is shining and the kids run outside to play. They joyfully grab their bikes, scooters, skateboards, or in-line skates without a care in the world, and they're off. Kids are so excited about moving that they don't think about staying safe.

The sun is shining and the kids run outside to play. They joyfully grab their bikes, scooters, skateboards, or in-line skates without a care in the world, and they’re off. Kids are so excited about moving that they don’t think about staying safe.

Bicycles and small wheels—in-line skates, skateboards, and scooters—while great sources of fun, can put a child in harm’s way if unprepared. It’s important to educate kids on how to stay safe while still enjoying their favourite activities.

Safety is key

Here are some tips that every child (and adult) should follow.

Biking

  • Wear an approved bike helmet to prevent a head injury in a fall. Helmets are designed to survive only one accident, so if a child’s helmet has been in a crash it must be replaced.
  • Make sure the bicycle fits the child. When sitting on the seat, the child’s toes should touch the ground on both sides.
  • Keep the bicycle well-maintained—brakes working, tires properly inflated, and the chain well-oiled and in place.
  • Make sure the bike has reflectors on it.

Riding a scooter

  • Wear a certified bike helmet. Although no helmet standards have been set for scooter riders, certified bike helmets are recommended as this activity is similar to in-line skating and biking.
  • Wear elbow pads and knee pads.
  • Make sure the scooter’s handlebars are the right height— the child shouldn’t need to lean forward when holding the handlebars.

In-line skating

  • Wear a certified bike helmet for recreational in-line skating. Replace the child’s helmet after one hard fall.
  • Wear wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads.
  • Make sure the skate size is the same as the child’s shoe size—oversized skates aren’t safe.

Skateboarding

  • Wear a special skateboarding helmet—it protects the back of the head and is made of specially designed material to withstand several impacts on the same spot. Look for the ASTM F-1492 or Snell-94 standard. Unless specified on the label, a skateboard helmet shouldn’t be used for bike riding.
  • Wear wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads.
  • Choose a small board with small wheels if the child is a novice skateboarder.

Ready to roll

  • Wear an approved helmet appropriate for each wheel-related activity.
  • Skateboard, in-line skate, bike, and ride a scooter only in designated areas—bicycle paths, sidewalks, and skate parks—during daylight hours.
  • Stay away from rough or slippery surfaces that can cause a loss of control.
  • Walk bicycles and scooters across intersections; the majority of bicycle accidents happen at intersections.
  • Ensure children bike with an adult who teaches them proper safety rules. By age 10, kids need to learn the rules of the road before riding a bike on the road alone.

Bumps and bruises are a normal part of childhood, but serious accidents don’t need to be. With the proper guidance, kids can still have fun and stay safe.

Helmets

Wearing a helmet for in-line skating, skateboarding, and bicycling reduces the risk of brain injury by 85 percent in the event of a crash. Helmets must meet safety standards such as those set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). CPSA, Snell, and ASTM are US-based bike helmet standards similar to those of the CSA. The standards label should be visible inside any helmet you purchase.

2-4-1

Bike helmets must be the right size and properly positioned. Follow the 2-4-1 rule every time the helmet is worn.

  • 2 finger widths above the child’s eyebrows to the bottom of the helmet
  • 4 fingers to make the V shape on the side straps of the helmet, around the bottom of the ears
  • 1 finger between the strap and the child’s chin
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