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6 Rules for Wheel Safety

When your kid was just a tyke on a trike, keeping him safe was a snap: He was never out of your sight and he probably liked his little helmet with the frogs on it. Now that he's older -- maybe even old enough to take a solo spin around the neighborhood -- you may have to upgrade the rules. Some important ones to enforce, whether your kid's ride of choice is a bike, scooter, or skateboard:

Cushion His Joints Elbow, knee, and wrist pads are a must for skateboarders; scooter riders should strap on everything except wrist guards (they make it tough to turn the handles).

Don't Skirt the Issue Long, loose clothing, including dresses and wide-legged pants, can get caught in bike chains or wheel spokes.

Cover His Feet Bare tootsies and flip-flops are fine for the pool, but sturdy shoes or sneakers are better for gripping bike pedals and scooter platforms, and they'll protect toes in case of a wipeout.

Ditch Distractions That means headphones, floppy hats, scarves, dangly jewelry, and anything else that might keep your kid from seeing and hearing everything that's going on around him.

Wear a Helmet No discussion: The baseball cap comes off and the helmet goes on. It should sit flat, cover your child's forehead (with two finger-widths of space above the eyebrows), and have a snug chinstrap.

Head Home Before Dark Drivers may have trouble seeing a kid at dusk, so when the sun starts going down, it's time to call it a day.

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