child biking

Mighty Blog

Injury prevention: Simple tips for playground and bicycle safety

By: Dr. Gigi Chawla, chief of general pediatrics at Children’s Minnesota.

Children’s Minnesota has one of the busiest pediatric emergency programs in the U.S., with about 90,000 visits each year. We love seeing kids here at Children’s, but we’d rather see them at home having a fun and safe summer.

Bike safety:

Bike riding is a great way to get exercise and fresh air and share time as a family. But before you and the kids rush out and start pedaling, there’s an important factor that you need to consider — safety. Consider these safety items this spring:

Helmet basics:

  • Bike helmets should not be optional but rather required when riding a bike.
  • Pick a helmet with bright colors that is visible to drivers.
  • Make sure the helmet fits correctly and can be adjusted.
  • Verify the helmet meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Safe clothing:

  • Children’s pant legs shouldn’t be too loose-fitting or flared to avoid getting caught in the bike chain.
  • Fluorescent or bright-colored clothes will help kids be visible on the road, and they’re more visible than white clothes.
  • Choose shoes that grip the bike’s pedals instead of shoes like flip-flops or cleats.

Find more bike safety tips and rules of the road for bike riding here.

Playground safety:

The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) notes that playground injury prevention can include a broad perspective of factors, such as: maintenance, materials, environmental factors and safe user behavior. Keep these safety tips in mind when your child is on the playground:

  • Actively supervise children; keep eyes on kids and encourage them to use equipment safely.
  • Ensure kids aren’t wearing loose-fitting clothing or clothes with strings or ties that can easily get caught in equipment.
  • Be sure playground equipment is age-appropriate and designed for your child’s skill and ability.
  • Check that the surface under playground equipment is soft enough to absorb falls.
    • If you notice broken equipment or low amounts of loose fill underneath equipment (wood chips, sand, etc.), notify the playground owner — usually the city, county or school.

We encourage all children to get outside in this nice weather and have some fun, all while being safe. And don’t forget to get your well-child visits scheduled before camps and the back-to-school rush. You can find all of the Children’s Minnesota primary care clinic locations here.

Alexandra Rothstein