Kids Health Matters: Bike safety

Bike safety is important as school kids around the area get ready for summer break.

Bikes often give children their first taste of independence.

But they need to know how to use them safely. Bikes are second only to cars in the number of injuries to kids.

Gina Duchossois, a Children's Hospital safety expert, says one basic is to make sure the bike is sized right.

"Have him sit on the seat of the bike, and his feet should rest flat on the ground," said Gina.

The handlebars should be a comfortable reach, not a stretch.

And kids should do an 'ABC' check-up on the bike.

"A" is for adequate air in the tires.

"B" is for working brakes.

And "C" is for a secure chain.

Don't forget reflectors on the front, back and on the wheels. The bigger, the better.

Gina adds, "It's really for others to see them riding."

Helmets are a must, but they have to fit properly.

"It should sit flat, it should cover the child's forehead," said Gina.

And have a space 1 to 2 fingers wide between the eyebrows and helmet.

These days, there's a choice between traditional bike helmets, or multi-sport helmets - that are also good for skating and skateboarding.

Look for the Consumer Product Safety Commission label, to make sure it meets federal standards.

And Gina says helmet-wearing should start young, when kids are riding tricycles, or a passenger on your bike.

"It just becomes a habit, they know they're going to put it on every time," said Gina.

But proper gear isn't enough.

Gina says kids shouldn't ride until they prove to you they know the rules of the road.

Children's Hospital has many of these pointers online, in a brochure you can print out and keep in a handy spot.

Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.