A parent’s worst fear is seeing his or her child in pain. Teaching a toddler to ride a bike seems to inevitably lead so some sort of crash. A couple of ways to avoid or minimize these crashes is to start your toddler’s learning experience on a balance bike and insist he or she wear a helmet and the proper clothing to avoid injury.
Learning to ride is easy on a Balance or No-Pedal Bike because pedaling is removed from the learning equation. Your child only has to focus on acceleration and balance. Acceleration is a push motion of the feet to the ground after which the child must balance himself on the bike, catching over corrections by touching his feet to the ground. When choosing a bike, the most common mistake is buying a bicycle that is too big, thinking the child will grow into it. A child needs to be able to sit on the seat and have both feet flat to the ground with just a slight bend in the knees. This allows the child to push the bike with his feet to get going and catch himself when he loses his balance, thus avoiding a crash. The right bike is just the first consideration when teaching a child to ride a bike.
The right helmet and clothing are also essential when first learning to ride a bike. It is very important to find the correct size helmet for your child. You need to find a helmet that fits your child so that it does not move around on his or her head. Make sure the helmet has passed all safety standards. All helmets have a circumference listed, so that you can measure to assure an accurate fit. To measure the circumference of your child’s head, you need a soft measuring tape to measure above the eyebrow and continue around the head, one inch above the ears. This will give you an accurate size in inches for the best helmet fit.
Now that you have a correctly fitted helmet picked out, the helmet will only work if your child wears it. We recommend that while using a balance bike your child wear his or her helmet. One technique is to demonstrate what a happens to a water melon when it is dropped on the ground. Wearing a helmet is a great habit for your child to start doing at a young age. Staying strong about the decision to wear the helmet may be one of the best decisions you ever make. If your children understand the importance and safety concerns they will stop fighting it and feel comfortable wearing it.
Clothing is important when teaching your child to ride. Make sure your child wears close toed shoes while riding. Open toed shoes are not the best choice for balance bikes because acceleration primarily comes from the child propelling the bike forward with her feet. Wearing shoes will prevent your child from hurting her feet while moving forward on the bike.
Another clothing consideration is to have your child wear jeans when he first starts to protect the legs and knees from the occasional tip-overs that occur when first learning to ride a bike. Without the pedals in the way, large spills are typically not an issue on a balance bike especially if the bike is the right size and the child is not going down steep inclines. Jeans offer a secure barrier against the occasional mishap.
As mentioned before, we hate to see our children in pain. Letting your child take his or her first couple of runs in a softer environment will help give her the confidence to learn how to balance without risk of injury. Use an open grass area or field if you do not want your child riding their bike in the house. This will help to develop the skills and confidence for riding a bike on less forgiving surfaces.
The benefits of balance bike and the safety benefits of helmets and proper clothing will ensure your child has memorable and successful transition into the two-wheel riders club.