2Riding on wheels

Riding bikes, scooters and skates are a favourite outdoor activity for most children.

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As an au pair, you can also have a great time outdoors riding on wheels! Just be sure to be smart and safe. Road accidents are a leading cause of death and injury for children around the world. If you are supervising a child on a bike, skateboard, scooter or rollerblades, it is essential that they wear a helmet. In fact, it’s the law in many countries that helmets be worn when riding a bike!  Only ride bikes, skateboards and scooters in designated, safe places, not on busy roads with cars. A bike path is best. Don’t expect children to know the rules of driving on the road.  Children under the age of 12 should not be left to ride on the road without supervision.

Watch this video that shows the importance of riding safely:

Video provided courtesy of RACQ 

 

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  • Bicycles should not be ridden if wheels are loose, flat, or if the brakes aren’t working properly.
  • Children should not ride a bicycle that is either too big or too small for them – this is a cause of many bike-related injuries.

 

 

 

Be sure bikes, scooters, skateboards and roller blades are in good working order:

  • Wheels turn easily and are inflated
  • Chains are oiled and move smoothly
  • Seats and handlebars are adjusted to the correct height
  • Bike has working bell or horn
  • Don’t ride, skate or scoot after dark! Riding at night is an extremely dangerous idea, especially if you don’t have the required lights and reflective clothing.
  • Dress appropriately: don’t wear long dresses or skirts , or loose pant legs on a bike as the fabric can get stuck in the chain and cause an accident.
  • Also protect those toes! Riding a bicycle, skating or scooting barefoot or in thongs or flimsy sandals can cause foot injuries.  Runners or covered shoes are best.
  • Teach children to stop at the end of each block and walk across the street at a pedestrian crossing.
  • Driveways and intersections must be approached with caution.  Remind children to listen for cars coming out of driveways or behind them on the road.
  • Be especially careful of riding during inclement weather.  Rain or fog can cause slippery roads, mud, and limited visibility, which are all dangerous conditions.
  • Discourage stunt riding. ‘Look no hands’ and riding on steep hills or drop-offs can lead to big trouble!
  • New riders should have extra attention – be sure to have parents permission before taking children out on a bike ride.

Be extra cautious on skateboards and scooters, they pose a high risk of falling, so helmets, gloves, knee and elbow pads are encouraged.

 

And don’t forget your helmet!

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Bicycle helmets are compulsory. It’s important that they fit and are approved by by your country’s industry standards to help protect against serious head injuries.

Helmet straps and buckles should be snug to prevent the helmet from falling off in an accident.  Check that the helmet can’t easily be pushed back, forward or to the side before riding.

Different heads are different sizes – be sure each rider has a helmet that isn’t too big or too small for their head.

Do not use a second-hand helmet or one that has been in a previous accident, as it may not function properly.

Adults should also always wear a helmet – not only is it the law but it sets the right example for the next generation!

Knee and elbow pads and wrist guards are also advisable, especially for scooter or skateboard riding.

Children are almost twice as likely to break their arms riding a scooter or skateboard as riding a bike.

Skate helmets are shaped differently than bicycle helmets, protecting the back of the head, especially.  Always wear the appropriate helmet for your chosen activity.