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Preventing Riding-toy Injuries

To keep your child safe:

* Make sure he always wears his helmet and other protective gear on a bike, a scooter, skates, or a skateboard; sporting-goods stores can help you get a good fit.

* He should be able to touch the ground with the balls of his feet when he sits on a bike seat.

* He shouldn't wear loose clothing or scarves, which could get caught in the bike's pedals and choke him; also, no sandals, so his feet stay on the pedals.

* Have your child try on in-line skates with socks. If you can squeeze the plastic around the ankle, it's not supportive enough.

* Teach her to crouch down if she loses her balance on a skateboard, so she doesn't have as far to fall.

* Look for wide wheels on scooters (thin ones will make it go too fast) and handlebars at the right height: For good balance, her elbows should bend at a 90-degree angle.

* Watch out for inclines, bumps, and stairways.

* Your child's foot should comfortably reach the accelerator pedal in a battery-powered ride-on car. Be sure it's on the lowest speed the first time she tries it.

* Always supervise. Until a child is at least 10, he'll need to be with an adult to ride in the street.

* Set a strict driveway safety rule: When a car is about to pull into or out of the driveway, everyone move to the front door or stoop.

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