Your child’s first bike is a major event in her life, and many parents get so excited to buy their children their first bike that they forget all of the necessary supplies! Your child needs basic safety equipment, as well as tools that will make bike riding easier and more fun. Before you give your child her first bike, here are the things you must buy:
A helmet is the single most important thing your child should have to go along with her bicycle. While biking is safe with adult supervision and proper teaching, even a minor fall can result in a serious head injury.
Your child doesn’t have to be riding a rugged mountain bike to sustain an injury, because even a small fall from the wrong angle can prove disastrous. A helmet protects your child’s developing brain from potentially disastrous injuries, and in many areas, the law requires that all bikers wear helmets. Ensure that the helmet fits properly, and that your child knows that riding with a helmet is not negotiable.
Your child should never ride unsupervised, and never at night. However, even with adult supervision, children can be hard to see at dusk and early in the morning. Purchase reflective strips to put on your child’s bike. This ensures that all motorists see your child, and will also help other bikers to steer clear of a child learning to ride.
Children’s Bike Basket
While a bicycle basket isn’t an absolute safety necessity, it can be an excellent bike accessory. It also encourages your child to cycle with two hands because she has a place to put items such as newspapers and cell phones. The basket should be securely attached to the front of the bike and should have no jagged or metal parts that could injure your child if she falls.
Children are notoriously bad at keeping their shoelaces tied, so it’s wise to get your child shoes with very short laces or athletic shoes that do not require lacing. Shoelaces can get caught in the spokes of your child’s bike, resulting in cuts, scrapes, falls and serious injuries. Make sure your child knows that she must always wear securely-fastened shoes and that it’s never ok to cycle with loose laces.
Especially for beginning bikers, padding is a must-have. Get your child knee and elbow pads, which will protect her from serious bruises and a broken bone if she falls. Never give her shin pads, which can interfere with her ability to pedal.
Pads also serve an additional benefit: by preventing minor injuries, they can make your child less afraid to bike, and decrease the likelihood that she will have a fall that scares her out of biking forever. Especially for children who are anxious about getting on a bike for the first time pads are a must-have.
Remember that, no matter how much safety gear your child has, nothing guarantees her safety better than an attentive parent. Never allow her to cycle alone, even if she pleads to go out by herself.
Christobel Edwards became a grandmother two and a half years ago for the first time. Although keeping quiet is difficult for this marketing maven, she’s learning to let her child and grandchild make their own decisions. She loves buying things for her grandchild and can’t wait to buy her her first mountain bike.