Steady, steady, don’t fall…Ouch! Falling out of a bike for the first time can be considered a rite of passage. And if you remember, one needs to fall dozens of times before one can learn to ride properly.
But when you’re a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to fall. Luckily, there are many bikes for kids which feature training wheels as a great way to teach little ones not to give up even when it’s hard. With a little practice, your child will tell other kids the same words of encouragement – “Get back up!”
Most children favour the colours pink or blue. Yes, the colour of a bike should be what your child likes, but the features are most important. You must consider the weight, height, age and abilities of your child. Now let’s look at some tips on picking the right bike for your child and keeping them safe.
Trikes or Training Wheels?
Trikes or bikes for kids with training wheels are great for beginners on their way to big wheels. Trikes and bicycles with training wheels allow children to get comfortable on a bike while learning balance and coordination skills. These are recommended for kids starting as low as 3-4.
Two-wheeled bikes are usually the next step up from this. By the time your child is on two wheels, you will be confident in their ability to manage the bike alone. Two-wheeled bikes are usually recommended for kids from 5-7 years old.
Whether to choose a trike or two-wheeled bike is up to your child. If they have an interest in bikes and can walk, pedal, and have good coordination then start with a two-wheeled bike with training wheels. Most models you buy today come with removable training wheels for when your child is ready for the real deal.
A bike for kids with a front-hand brake and back pedal brake will allow the little cyclist to easily stop it when needed. Front and back brakes are highly recommended for bikes for kids.
A good saddle is also important. You want to look for a seat where your child doesn’t slip forward. Always adjust the saddle height so your child can place both feet on the floor.
Due to varying heights and as they grow, adjustable seats and handlebars are a great feature because you want your child to have a comfortable ride. To have a hunched-back is bad for later years in life. So, find the fit and adjust it to your child.
Additionally, you may want to opt for a lightweight bicycle as opposed to a heavy one. The average 5-year-old is 18.2 kg, and if their bicycle weighs 20 kg, it would be almost impossible for them to control it. An 8.2 kg bicycle is very easy to find and is usually less than half of the kids’ weight making it easy for them to maneuver.
A bell is a great addition not only because it sounds cute but because it will allow your child to warn pedestrians they are approaching.
Don’t Overlook Safety
Ok, you did the research and found a suitable bicycle. Perfect, but now let’s put it to use.
Scratches and bruises are common among children. That’s just a part of growing up. But you need to make sure that your child is protected from any serious accidents. Here are some great tips for safely teaching your child to avoid bruises, broken arms and trips to the hospital.
- While a helmet is mandatory for riding a bike, knee and elbow pads are not. But these are certainly recommended to help protect your little one if they are to fall. A properly fitting helmet keeps your child’s head safe from any sudden contact with the ground, trees or hard surface from a fall.
- Teach good habits to your child to check their bike tyres and brakes before they hop onto the bicycle.
- Remind them to see and be seen. Just because they can see a driver doesn’t mean the driver can see them. Wearing fluorescent and bright colours on the road is the best way to go.
- Being overconfident is dangerous. Advise them to never ride the bike without their hands, no matter how cool it looks
- Teach them to avoid potholes and glass, these can ruin their tires and send them flying off the bike.
- Children younger than 10, are best to stay off the roads riding and should stick to the sidewalk.
- Teach them to obey traffic laws when they ride in the street. Just because their “vehicle” is different doesn’t mean they can do as they wish. Safety and predictability are important.
Try as we may, we can’t prevent our children from accidents. With good preparation and education on road safety, you can minimize serious injuries Some if not all of these safety tips can be applied if your kid is into skateboard riding.
To Sum Up
It’s like riding a bike, this statement is so true you never forget it. Teaching your child to ride a bike while young is a great way to boost self-esteem for later years in life.
Children always look up to their parents, so be sure your child is watching your every step. If you are a motorbike enthusiast, your child will likely follow. From a trike to two-wheeled bikes, skipping the four wheels to a motorbike. You want to be sure your child learns early on the best ways to stay safe on a bike.