Bike Safety :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Bike Safety

The questions and answers in this brochure are designed to help you, as a parent, to make healthy and safe choices for your children.

Why should my child wear a bike helmet?

Bike helmets prevent injury to the head and brain. The head is the most commonly injured part of the body in bike crashes. By wearing a bike helmet, you decrease the risk of head injury.

What kind of helmet should I buy my child?

Look for the label that says the helmet meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Standards or those developed by ASTM, SNELL or ANSI that is fitted for your child’s head size.

How do you wear a helmet?

  • Wear your helmet low and level on the forehead. Your forehead should be covered with 1-2 fingers width between the eyebrows and the helmet.
  • The side straps should form a “Y” beneath the child’s ears.
  • Buckle the strap, always!
  • Wear a helmet every time and everywhere you ride.

My children think it is “uncool” to wear a bicycle helmet. How can I get them to wear helmets while riding their bikes?

There are several ways to get children to wear helmets.

  • Begin early. Have your child wear a helmet as soon as they begin riding a bike—this way it becomes a habit!
  • Wear a helmet yourself. Children learn best by watching you. Be a positive role model!
  • Reward your kids for wearing a helmet Praise them or give them special treats when they wear their helmets without having to be told.
  • Have them choose their own helmet and decorate it.

What other safety equipment should my child wear when riding a bike?

Elbow and knee pads can provide additional protection from injury.

Should my child’s bike have reflectors or a light?

Both. Reflectors and a light are very important, especially when riding at dusk. Reflectors should be on both wheels, and on the back of the seat. A light can be mounted on the handlebars. Keep in mind, night riding is not allowed in Ohio unless a bicycle has reflectors and a light.

What is the proper clothing for bike riding at dusk, on cloudy days or at night?

White or light-colored clothing are easiest to see. Neon strips placed on clothing may also help the cyclist to be seen at night or at dusk. Night riding should not be allowed for young children and youth, especially where there is high-speed traffic.

Bike Safety Brochure (PDF)

For more information, visit:

Helping Hands Bicycle Safety

Bike Safety Article

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000