Make sure bike helmets fit properly | August 29, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - August 29, 2008

Make sure bike helmets fit properly

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District has issued a list of simple bike safety rules for families to go over now that school is back in session. It especially stresses the importance of helmets, noting that each year more than 130 children die from bicycle-related injuries and about 270,000 are treated in emergency rooms. Of these, nearly half have traumatic brain injuries and almost all involve a collision with a motor vehicle. Properly fitted bike helmets can reduce the risk of injuries by 88 percent.

* Make sure the helmet fits and your child knows how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position, and should not rock forward and back or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Look for a helmet labeled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

* Make sure the bike itself is the right size for your child. There should be at least one inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child's crotch when the child's feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure the bike is in good repair: reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly, and tires are secure and properly inflated.

* Remember bike helmets are for biking. Kids should not wear bike helmets on the playground (where the straps can get caught on equipment and cause injury) or for activities that require specialized helmets, such as skiing, football, skateboarding or inline skating.

* When in doubt, get help. The sales staff at any bicycle shop or outdoor recreation store should be able to provide expert advice on fitting and adjusting bikes and helmets; just ask.

The Fire Protection District encourages all riders to protect themselves by wearing safety gear, not just children.