Every hour, nearly 50 children will visit the ER with an injury related to bikes, scooter, skates, or skateboards. 11% of those are for serious head injuries.
And if you’re thinking that those stats don’t apply to you and yours because you aren’t hard core—no mountain bike trails or skate parks for you—think again. Rachael’s daughter got a concussion on a big wheel. You read that right. A big wheel—those low to the ground, 3-wheeled rigs that every preschooler on our block owns.
It’s easy to get a false sense of security because you think your neighborhood is kid-friendly, or you’re planning on sticking to playing on the sidewalk, or because your kid is the picture of grace and coordination. It’s also too easy to let something like wearing proper safety gear creep into that place where we worry about being a “helicopter” mom.
Do you feel like you’re overbearing when you put your infant in a car seat, or make your kiddo wear a lifejacket when they go boating?
That’s why the safety-focused folks with Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program have made a buffet of family safety information available via Makesafehappen.comand the free Make Safe Happen app. These resources include safety tips and checklists that help you keep your family safe with new information on nursery and home safety, safety on wheels, water and fire safety, PLUS the app breaks it down room-by-room, age-by-age information. The app even includes a fire drill setting so you can practice with your family!
So here are those summer rules for wheeled fun that might have slipped your mind while the weather was cold and you were knee-deep in hot cocoa requests.
KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD
Little ones on bikes, scooters, and skates do not belong on the road. The sidewalk and trails are your friend when you’re not commuting by bicycle. Once it’s time to hit the actual road, make sure your family knows the rules of the road—wear reflective gear, use hand signals, obey traffic signals, and ride with traffic.
WALK THE WALK
Do you wear your sunscreen? How about that helmet of yours gathering dust in the garage? Children whose parents wear helmets are more likely to have kids that wear helmets—86% of kids versus just 38% of kids from families where the parents are riding willy nilly with an unprotected noggin. In addition to the notion of setting a good example—I’m just going to come right out and admit that as I age, I’ve become far less coordinated. I wear a helmet because I am pretty sure it’s only a matter of time before I take a trip over my handlebars.
TO PROTECT YOU, IT MUST FIT YOU
A loose helmet does you no good when it comes time to protect you. And a helmet that gets taken off and tossed aside because it’s too hot, too tight, or too uncool is completely useless. (OBVIOUSLY.) Kids are less likely to complain and remove the helmet when it’s properly fitted. There are so many fun helmet designs on store shelves. Make it fun/edgy/adorable. This Hello Kitty number is a crowd favorite and my neighbor’s daughter has a unicorn helmet that, so help me, if it came in my size I’d happily wear it.
There are so many fun helmet designs on store shelves. Make it fun/edgy/adorable. This Hello Kitty number is a crowd favorite and my neighbor’s daughter has a unicorn helmet that, so help me, if it came in my size I’d happily wear it.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY SCOOT YOUR WAY TO HEAD INJURY
I’ll raise my hand and sheepishly admit that I’ve looked at a scooter and thought, “What’s the worst that could happen on that silly little thing?” And then I watched my 5 year old aim it straight down our driveway and whip the handlebar to the side and bail out in the grass mowing strip. So, yeah, now I get it. The kid wears a helmet even on that silly little scooter. 19% of hospital admissions for scooter injuries to children in 2015 were for HEAD INJURIES—which means that scooter accidents are up 40% and most parents aren’t making their kids wear helmets on them. Let’s all work on that.
SAFETY IS SO MUCH MORE THAN HELMETS
Yes, encasing your kiddo’s noggin in a helmet is very important but did you know that knee and elbow pads are also recommended for scooters, skaters, and skateboarders? Wrist guards are also recommended for skaters and skateboarders. Rollerblades are having a heyday again, my daughter is begging for a pair. I remember getting my first pair *cough* 25 years ago *cough* and of course I was hot-dogging and took a really nasty spill. Lucky for me, I had wrist guards. Not so lucky for me, I did not have elbow guards and I left a significant portion of my arm and elbow flesh behind. Ugh. Thinking about it makes me lightheaded.
TEENAGERS ARE NOT EXEMPT
The littlest kiddos are practically swathed in bubble wrap when they emerge to play, but those older kids are every bit as tender and valuable as those little ones, am I right?! Plus, they’re more likely to ride farther, and do more daring and exciting moves on those bikes and skateboards.
WALK AROUND YOUR VEHICLE
Bikes, scooters, skateboards, big wheels, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops…they all end up behind a vehicle at some point. And if your neighborhood is the glorious, kid-friendly-fiesta that mine is, you’ll also end up with someone else’s hula hoop, bicycle, or CHILD behind your car. Walk around your car. Double check. Double. Check.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nationwide. The opinions and text are all mine.