Curious and playful, kids simply will be kids. While many parents know that tumbling and falling are all part and parcel of childhood, letting the little ones roam independently on their two or three-wheelers can still be daunting.
While such worries aren’t unfounded, they shouldn’t prevent your kids from learning to be independent. After all, what beats exploring the outdoors, keeping fit and bonding as a family?
For a care-free ride, we share with you some tips on how you can keep your little ones safe and sound while they’re getting around.
1. Gear them up!
Whether your kid is busy racing your pet dog on a steady tricycle or getting acquainted with his first two-wheeler, a properly-fitted helmet along with knee and elbow pads are items that will go a long way in safeguarding them when they do fall. Cushioning the impact and protecting them from injury, gearing your kids up will put your mind at ease while they’re out and about.
A helmet should sit snugly and cover your child’s forehead, while helmet straps should always be fastened. It’s best to drop by a brick-and-mortar store to get your child fitted for one that matches the circumference of his head.
If your kid tells you he’s too cool for protective gear, one of the colourful and quirky ones around is bound to change his mind. Otherwise, sitting the kids down for a creative session to customise their helmets can be a fun family bonding activity too. Remember, it’s never too early to start teaching your little ones the importance of riding safely.
2. Familiarise them with safe riding
While the little ones have much to learn, educating them on how to behave on pathways is a sure start to ensuring a safer ride. Looking out for traffic, communicating the correct hand signals, and giving way to pedestrians are just a few cycling or riding behaviours that will help not just the kids but all commuters keep safe.
By establishing what the safe riding behaviours are and ensuring that the little ones abide by the rules, you’ll also encourage them from a young age to be responsible cyclists even as they get older.
3. Make sure they’re seen
Kids can be overlooked by other road users due to their smaller physical size. But despite being tiny, there are ways to ensure that the little ones can be spotted more easily on pathways. Donning them in bright fluorescent clothing in the daytime and reflective ones at night may cause them to stand out like Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, but hey, it does the job of helping them stay safe.
4. Turn bike-checking into a habit
Once the kids get the hang of riding a bike, it won’t be long before they want to scoot off on their own. Good habits start young, and making it a point to check their bikes before taking off is an essential one to cultivate in the little ones. From the brakes and tires to the lights and bells, conducting a pre-ride check to see if their bikes are fully functional is key to a safe ride.
Besides training them to be responsible owners, doing bike checks with the kids also teaches them the important life skill of identifying problems and finding solutions. Talk about a win-win situation.
Affordable and environmentally-friendly, cycling is a sport that can be family-fun, and getting the kids started while they’re still young encourages them to lead a healthier and eco-friendly lifestyle as they grow older. Why not practise safe cycling habits as a family in one of the new cycling friendly towns and parks in Ang Mo Kio or Punggol?
Still not too sure how to go about teaching your tots the ways of the paths? The upcoming Safe Riding Programme by the Land Transport Authority may be just what you’re looking for.
Launching in mid-2017, this comprehensive 90 minute theoretical and practical course will see trainers equipping your little ones with all they need to know to become safer riders. As they emerge from the programme with better cycling knowledge ranging from safety gear to navigation skills, it will not only make your family outing more fun but also safer.
This article is contributed by Move Happy – an initiative by the Land Transport Authority.
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