Children are vulnerable road users. Simple activities like cycling on the road, walking home from school or playing on neighbourhood side streets can put kids at risk of motor vehicle collisions or serious falls –– both of which can lead to concussions or other injuries. Parents and caregivers can take simple measures to help keep kids safe and on the move.
Take part in Parachute Safe Kids Week, happening June 4-10, 2018 in communities across Canada. Follow these tips to keep kids safe from concussions on the road.
♦ Follow the rules of the game and the rules of the road. They are there for everyone’s safety.
♦ Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion; it can happen even without a direct hit to the head and without losing consciousness.
♦ Ensure any child with a possible head injury is checked out by a doctor.
♦ Encourage kids to speak up about how they are feeling.
On the Road
Riding in the car
Keep your child’s head and body protected in case of a crash.
♦ Use the correct car or booster seat on every ride, even short trips close to home.
♦ Make sure it’s the right fit: ensure your child is using the right seat for their height and weight. Your child will move through four stages as they grow; most won’t be able to use a seat belt alone until at least age nine.
♦ Double-check car and booster seat instructions to ensure proper installation.
Protect your child from a traffic collision, which could lead to many forms of injury, including concussion.
♦ Walk with your children: take the time to teach them how to cross the road safely and be a role model.
♦ Walk on sidewalks or paths. No sidewalks? Walk facing traffic as far away from vehicles as possible.
♦ Phones down, heads up when walking. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and other devices down when crossing the street.
♦ Be seen. Teach kids to be especially alert and visible to drivers when walking after dark. Brightly coloured clothing and reflective gear help increase 360-degree visibility.
Cycling and other wheeled activities (skateboarding, scootering, etc.)
Prevent a collision or serious fall, which could cause a concussion or other injuries.
♦ Train your kids in bicycle safety and the rules of the road. This includes appropriate hand signals, staying on the right side of the road, respecting traffic signals; stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
♦ Check their ride: A fun, safe cycling experience starts with a properly equipped bicycle. Ensure bikes are adjusted to the recommended height for your child. Be sure to inflate tires and always check brakes are working properly.
♦ Wear the right helmet for the activity: Bike helmets can be used for cycling, in-line skating and scootering. Skateboarding helmets should be used for skateboarding and longboarding, as they cover the back of the head better and can protect against more than one crash. Although a helmet does not prevent a concussion, it reduces the risk of other very serious head injuries.
♦ Use the 2V1 Rulefor helmet fitting (two fingers above eyebrows, straps form a ‘v’ under ears, no more than one finger space between strap and chin) to ensure better safety before taking a ride.
♦ Assess your child’s navigational skills before riding on the road. Children develop better physical and cognitive skills around age 10 – but their ability to ride on the road may depend on their experience, environment and development. Not sure if your child is ready to ride solo? Consider traffic volume, the number of intersections and your child’s level of experience before making a decision.