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Safety & Prevention

Your Child’s First Tricycle or Bike: Important Safety Rules

Your child's first tricycle or bike is not just a toy. It's also their first vehicle—a means of transportation subject to the same laws as motor vehicles. Help start them off on a lifelong pattern of safe riding.

Tips to teach your child safe bicycle use

  • Set limits on where your child may ride, depending on their age and maturity. Most serious injuries occur when the bicyclist is hit by a motor vehicle.

    • Young children should ride only with adult supervision and off the street.

    • The decision to allow older children to ride in the street should depend on traffic patterns, individual maturity, and an adequate knowledge and ability to follow the "rules of the road."

  • Provide your child with a helmet (approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission). Teach them to wear it correctly on every ride, starting when they get their first bike or tricycle. Evidence shows that helmet use decreases head injuries and deaths from bicycle crashes with motor vehicles.

Rules of the road your child needs to know

  • Ride with traffic.

  • Stop and look both ways before entering the street.

  • Stop at all intersections, marked and unmarked. Stop signs apply to everyone who uses the road, whether in a car or on a bike.

  • Before turning, use hand signals and look all ways. Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you before riding in front of a stopped car.

Never ride at dusk or in the dark

This is extremely risky for both children and adults. Tell your older kids to call home for a ride rather than ride a bike when it's dark.

  • Let your child know that they must follow these rules to stay safe. Withhold their privilege with the bike if they ignore safety rules or don't wear a helmet.

  • Help your child learn how to keep their bikes in good repair, like checking the tires, brakes, and seat and handlebar heights at least once a year.

More information

Last Updated
Adapted from TIPP—Safe Bicycling Starts Early (American Academy of Pediatrics Copyright © 2020)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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