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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

So your child has expressed an interest in riding a bike. Now what do you do? Well first you need to find a suitable bicycle. If you do buy a bike, take your son with you to the bicycle shop and get expert advice to be sure the bike fits him. Don’t get a bike that is too big so that he can “grow into it.“ Keeping a bike longer is not worth the safety risk of a bike that does not fit.

Most experts say a BMX type is best for young children, as it is equipped with coaster brakes, upright handlebars and wide, knobby tires. Coaster brakes are best for young children, who don’t have enough strength in their fingers for the safe use of hand brakes.

Remember that about 250 children a year are killed in bicycle related accidents. 75% of these deaths are due to head injuries. Studies show that using bike helmets can reduce head injuries by 85%. Buy a helmet and be sure he uses it!

It is also important to buy the helmet and bike at the same time to show him that they always go together. Get a helmet that is approved by the Snell Memorial Foundation or the American National Standards Institute. A helmet should have a stiff outer shell, a polystyrene lining, secure straps, and good ventilation. Helmets for children under 5 are usually made of safety-approved thick molded Styrofoam; they’re lighter so that young necks can support them. Let your child pick the color; the brighter the better.

Other tips: Ride with him in areas which you approve and teach him the safety rules of bicycling. Never ride in the dark or the rain. Equip the bike with a headlight and reflectors on the rear, side and pedals. Never let him wear a an MP3 player while riding!

Things you should know: Young children think that if they can see a driver, the driver can see them. They think cars can stop instantly. Their field of vision is only about one-third that of adults! They do not have the experience to judge the distance of cars or time needed to cross a street.

Protect your child this summer by knowing all the important things you should know about outdoor safety, including water safety, camping, car safety restraints, playgrounds, pools, poisoning, poisonous plants, guns, sitters and fireworks. Send a check or money order for $3 written to “Tips on Outdoor Safety,“ as well as a self addressed stamped business envelope, to Tips, 50 Ashley Creek Drive, Newnan, GA 30263.

Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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Behavioral, Info, Prevention, Support and Advice, Temporary