Before you dig out the helmets and pump up those tires, brush up on these bicycle-safety pointers, from Carl Sundstrom of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
Do a helmet check. If it has any dings, dents, or cracks from previous spills, get a new one. Like car airbags, bike helmets are meant to do their job once, then be replaced.
Tighten up. “I see a lot of kids with their helmets pushed way back on their foreheads. That’s not going to protect them in a fall,” says Sundstrom. Cinch the straps so there’s only a two-finger-width distance between your child’s eyebrows and the bottom of the helmet — and secure the chin strap snugly.
Stick to the sidewalk. It’s the safest place for kids under 10.
Be on the lookout. Driveways and intersections are two of the most dangerous areas; it’s hard for motorists to see small bikers. Teach your child to slow down by driveways and check that there are no red taillights before zipping by. At intersections, instruct her to get off her bike and walk it across after looking in all directions.
Take a peek. Have your child practice looking back over her shoulder while riding forward in a straight line. “This is an important skill to have — but it takes time for kids to master without swerving off the sidewalk,” says Sundstrom.