Child Safety on Wheels: Navigating Bicycles, Scooters, and Skateboards

brother and sister sitting on skateboard rolling down hill

As we gear up for National Safety Week in the UK, it's the perfect time to address a topic close to our hearts—Child Safety on Wheels.

Whether it's bikes, scooters, or skateboards, here are some tips and advice on keeping your kids safe.

A lot of it is common sense, and you probably know it all anyway, but there are a few nice reminders for keeping your little adventurers riding smoothly this summer!

Helmet Heroes

Let's start with the most essential safety gear you can probably think of - the helmet.

Remember, it's not a fashion statement; it's literally your child's superhero cape.

The primary purpose of a helmet is to safeguard the head from injuries. If your child falls off their bike, scooter or skateboard or is in a collision, helmets act as a buffer, absorbing and distributing the impact forces across a larger area.

In short, reducing the risk of severe head injuries or trauma. They provide a crucial layer of protection for the brain, skull, and face. 

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Helmets From Day One

It’s important to embrace helmets from day one and model the same behaviour when you’re riding a bike or scooter too. And just like bikes, scooters pose risks to our heads as well.

Come off a scooter and hit your head on a curb, and it could be incredibly serious. In fact, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), there were 13,486 scooter accidents involving children aged 0-15 in the UK in 2021-22.

Of these, 2,441 were serious accidents, resulting in injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, and internal injuries. Remember to prioritise safety by wearing helmets whenever you ride, regardless of whether it's on a bike or a scooter!

Traffic Awareness

Teaching your child the significance of following traffic rules and signs is an essential step towards wheels on the road. Help them understand proper lane positioning, signalling intentions using arm movements, and controlled stops.

You can do this yourself when out and about, or you can sign up for more formal lessons.

Our school run Bikeability, and my son has taken part each year. I’m old enough to remember the cycling proficiency tests at school in the 80s! 

Lighting Up the Way

Just like adding glitter to a craft project, adding lights to your child's wheels makes everything more dazzling (and safe). Lights are really there for two reasons; to help you be seen by other road users and to help you see in dim or dark conditions.

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Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of children when riding a bike or scooter. By wearing reflective garments, children become visible to drivers, particularly in low-light conditions or at night, reducing the risk of accidents.

These clothing items are designed with reflective materials that reflect light from headlights, making it easier for motorists to spot young cyclists from a distance.

You don’t have to go all in with the high-vis, but reflective stickers on bikes and scooters, as well as school bags and coats, can make a big difference. Make sure your child is able to seen in the autumn and winter on their way home from school/in the evenings, as it can get dark faster than you'd expect, and you don't want to be caught out. 

Taming the Terrain

The majority of times, my eldest has come off his bike or scooter has been due to the terrain. Cracks and bumps in the pavement, gravel, potholes, curbs and stones all pose risks and can significantly impact the handling and stability of a bike or scooter.

The main thing is to be aware of what’s coming up. By paying attention to the terrain, your kids can adjust their speed and technique to maintain control. 

Kneepads and Elbow Hugs

Safety isn't just about helmets; it's a full-body experience. While helmets are crucial for protecting the head, knee and elbow pads play an equally important role in safeguarding other vulnerable areas during bike rides. We’ve had a few falls off the scooter, whereby I wished we’d had knee and elbow pads on! 

Have Fun!

With all these tips, hopefully, we can ensure a safe and fun summer!

Safety on wheels is all about turning safety into something that comes second nature. Let's hit the road with confidence this summer, knowing that our little ones are prepared as they’ll ever be!

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