CITY, Minn. Learning to ride a bicycle is a part of most
childhoods in the U.S. More than 70 percent of children
between the ages of 5 and 14 ride bicycles, and 55 percent of
those children dont always wear a helmet, according to the
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Today
in-line skating and skateboarding have also become fixtures
for many kids.
motor-vehicle injuries, bicycles injure more children than any
other consumer product, according to the National SAFE KIDS
Campaign. Head injuries are the most common and often most
serious injury sustained on a bike, in-line skates, scooters
or skateboards. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of death
or injury due to a head injury.
weather promotes great outdoor activities, such as biking and
skateboarding," says Dr. Steven Adamson, Emergency
Department director of Mayo Clinic Health System in Lake City.
"However, bicycle and skateboard injuries are far too
common in the emergency department. Wearing a helmet and
appropriate safety gear along with following safety rules can
prevent many injuries. Adults and kids need to take
appropriate safety precautions."
a helmet whenever riding a bicycle, in-line skating or
skateboarding should be an automatic habit for anyone,
regardless of their age. Its important that the helmet be
fitted to each person. If purchasing a helmet for a child, be
sure to take the child along. A child may be more likely to
wear a helmet if they pick it out and its fitted properly.
If a child participates in more than one wheeled sport (bike,
in-line skates, skateboards, scooters or other) be sure to
choose a multi-sport helmet.
addition, its important to wear protective gear when
skateboarding or in-line skating elbow and knee pads,
gloves, helmets and wrist guards.
bicycle crashes and injuries can be prevented by simply
following road safety rules:
before riding into traffic from a driveway, sidewalk, parking
lot or other street.
left, right and left again to check for cars.
the road is clear, enter.
on the far right of the road, with traffic.
so cars can see you, wearing brightly colored clothes
especially at night.
all traffic signals and stop signs.
back and yield to traffic coming from behind before turning
bicycles in single file.
for uneven pavement or other surface problems.
hand signals to signal turns and stops.
experienced skateboarders can fall, so learning how to fall
safely can help reduce the risk of severe injuries. The
following are recommendations from the National Safety Council
about how to fall correctly:
losing your balance, crouch down on the skateboard so your
fall is short.
to land on fleshy parts of your body.
to roll as you fall, which prevents your arms from absorbing
all the force.
to relax rather than remaining stiff.
riding a skateboard, be sure to obey all traffic rules, do not
hitch rides from bicycles, cars or other vehicles, and only
practice tricks in designated skateboarding areas. Wheeled
sports provide great exercise. The use of the right safety
equipment can help ensure the sport is also fun.