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Summer Safety: every year, 2.2 million children in U.S. visit ED for bike injuries
Bicycle trips account for only 1 percent of all trips in the United States. However, bicyclists face a higher risk of crash related injury and deaths than occupants in motor vehicles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A 10-year study released by the Center for Injury Research in 2018 found that 2.2 million American children a year visit the Emergency Department for a bike-related injury. While most injuries are broken bones, the most serious injuries are ones that affect the head and brain.
“Individuals – especially children – should always wear a helmet when riding a bike, and use bike paths when available,” says Ronda Lusk, Community Health and Safe Kids Wichita Area coordinator, Ascension Via Christi. “To make sure you are fully protected, your helmet should be well-fitted, tight on the chin, and close to the eyebrows.”
Ascension Via Christi and Safe Kids also shared additional bike safety tips for allowing children to have a fun, safe bike ride:
• Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay to as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals. Stop at all stop signs and stoplights.
• Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers to make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
• When your kids are riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, make sure they use lights – and make sure their bikes have reflectors as well. It's also smart to have them wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve visibility to motorists.
“It’s also important that parents actively supervise their children until they are comfortable that they are responsible to ride on their own,” says Lusk.