Going on a bike ride is a classic way to exercise and enjoy nature with your family members of all ages and fitness levels.
With the proper equipment, your family can enjoy a summer filled with safe cycling trips. Below are some tips for purchasing the best, safest bike equipment for kids.
A lightweight bike helmet should be worn by all child passengers, regardless of age. Infant-sized Styrofoam helmets that meet Consumer Product Safety Commission standards are available.
Never buy a helmet for your child to “grow into,” as this may compromise the effectiveness of the helmet in the event of an accident.
If your child is in a bicycle accident, you need to replace the helmet — even if it looks undamaged. Never buy a used helmet, as you don’t know if it has been in an accident before.
A good starting bike for your child is a balance bike, which doesn’t have pedals or a chain. A balance bike is simply a frame and wheels, which your child controls with his or her feet. He or she can walk or coast and use the feet as a brake if needed.
Balance bikes are very beneficial for children aged 2 to 5 because they help with coordinating steering and balance. The better your child is at using a balance bike, the better he or she will be with a pedal bike.
As your child grows, a bike with training wheels is a natural next step. Training wheels help instill confidence with balance as your child learns to steer without help from his or her feet. As your child gets better at riding, you can remove one training wheel and then both.
A kid’s bike can be a training wheel bike without the training wheels or a separate bike. It’s important to avoid buying a bike for your child to “grow into,” as it may make biking more difficult or lead to a higher number of falls due to poor fit. Your child should be able to get on and off the bike without too much trouble, and both feet should touch the ground when stationary.
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