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Dear Marianne:
I keep reading about "tummy time" for infant play. What is that?
Rachel, Greenville, SC, Mom of Robert (2 weeks)

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Safety on Wheels

      Riding bikes can give kids a sense of independence and adventure, yet if misused, bikes can be dangerous. Children often attempt risky stunts and exhibit careless behavior, which can result in tragedy – especially if they fail to take the necessary precaution of wearing a bike helmet to protect them from head injuries.

      Each year, more than 210 children ages 14 and under are killed and more than 360,000 are injured in bicycle-related incidents. Following are safe cycling guidelines recommended by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign:

  • Purchase an approved bicycle helmet for each child. Insist the helmet is worn correctly every time the child goes for a ride. Helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent and brain injury by as much as 88 percent. Only buy helmets that meet or exceed safety standards developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Snell Memorial Foundation.

  • Teach children safe bicycling behaviors. Emphasize the fact that a bicycle is a vehicle, not a toy. More than 80 percent of bicycle-related fatalities are associated with the childÕs behavior, including riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming from behind, running a stop sign, and riding against the flow of traffic. Check with local safety organizations to find out about bicycle safety days and rodeos, and have your child participate.

  • Make sure the child's bicycle works properly. Are reflectors secure? Test the brakes. Can the child completely grasp hand brakes? Does the bicycle stop right away? Make sure gears shift smoothly and tires are secured tightly and properly inflated.

  • Familiarize yourself with the child's bicycling environment. Encourage the child to bike in safe environments, such as those with bicycle paths.

  • Have your children wear bright colored clothing so drivers can spot them more easily.


For further information, please visit the National SAFE KIDS Campaign's website at: http://www.safekids.org

 



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