Bicycle safety

Riding a bike is a great activity to have fun and be active. It is important to always wear a bike helmet. It can help prevent injury or even death.

Make sure your child is wearing a bike helmet the right way:

  • It should be the right size and fit snugly. Make sure it doesn't move from side to side.
  • The helmet should sit level on top of her head. The rim of the helmet should be one or two finger-widths above your child's eyebrows.
  • Make sure the helmet straps form a "V" shape under your child's ears. Adjust the sliders as needed.
  • Buckle the chin strap and tighten it until it is snug. Make sure that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap.
  • Take the bike helmet fit test. Have your child open her mouth as wide as she can. She should feel the helmet hug or pull down on her head.

Other bike riding safety tips:

  • Do not put an infant younger than 12 months in a bicycle child seat, trailer, sidecar or any other carrier.
  • Make sure your child's tricycle or bicycle is in proper working order.
  • Teach your child bicycle safety rules, the "rules of the road," even though she is not old enough to ride on the street.
  • Be sure your child rides a tricycle or bicycle (with or without training wheels) that properly fits him. (Do not let her ride an adult bike.) The bicycle size should grow with your child.
  • Do not allow children to ride double on one bicycle.
  • Be sure you wear a helmet when riding with your child(ren).
  • Visit the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute's website at bhsi.org for more information.

Skate and scooter safety

Make sure your child wears a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards while using in-line skates, roller skates or a scooter.

  • Teach your child how to stop.
  • Supervise your child and only let her skate or ride on smooth, paved surfaces away from traffic.

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) safety

  • Never let children ride on adult ATVs.
  • Never let your child ride a size-appropriate ATV without a helmet and other safety gear.

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."
Reviewed By: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
First Published: 02/01/2010
Last Reviewed: 01/01/2016

A boy who just lost his front took, proudly shows how to wear a bike helmet correctly.

Photo © Allina Health System

Your child's bike helmet should sit level on top of his or her head.

Girl wearing bike helmet

Photo © Allina Health System

Make sure the straps of the bike helmet form a "V" shape under your child's ears.