Healthy Kids, Healthy Colorado
Keep your kids healthy with valuable tips and information from experts at Children's Hospital Colorado. Different popular topics are highlighted each month, so check back often for suggestions and advice on family health.
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This month's topic: Bike safety and outdoor fun
Temperatures are warming up, which means kids are spending more and more time outdoors. Staying safe while playing outside means they can have even more fun!
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the kids are ready for a bike ride. Here are some tips before you hit the road (or the trails!):
Use the two-finger test to make sure you have your helmet on properly.
- Place two fingers between your eyebrows and the bottom of the helmet. Only two fingers should fit in this space.
- Place two fingers underneath each ear in a "V" shape (this is where the straps should go).
- Place two fingers under the chin strap to make sure that only two fingers fit snugly. (If you can fit more than two fingers, you need to tighten the strap).
Do the "ABC quick check"
- A is for AIR - Squeeze the tires and make sure they are fully inflated.
- B is for BRAKES - Hold the brakes down and rock the bike back and forth. If it stays in one place, your brakes are good; if the bike moves, your brakes need adjustment.
- C is for CHAIN - Make sure the chain isn't rusty or squeaky.
- QUICK is for the Quick Releases or bolts Make sure that the bolts or the quick release levers that hold your wheels are tight.
What to wear
- Fluorescent or bright-colored clothes will help kids be visible on the road.
- Pant legs shouldn't be too loose-fitting or flared.
- Make sure backpack straps are tied up and can't get tangled in the spokes of the wheels.
- Choose shoes that grip the bike's pedals.
- Avoid wearing headphones because the music can distract you from noises around you.
Rules of the road
- Always stop and check for traffic in both directions when leaving your driveway, an alley, or a curb.
- Walk your bike across busy intersections using the crosswalk and following traffic signals.
- Ride on the right-hand side of the street, so you travel in the same direction as cars do. Never ride against traffic.
- Older kids should try to use bike lanes or designated bike routes whenever you can - not the sidewalk! Kids less than 10 years should ride on the sidewalk.
- Don't ride too close to parked cars. Doors can open suddenly.
- Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic (red) lights just as cars do.
- Ride single-file on the street with friends.
Get more information from Bikes for Life and Safe Kids.
Exercising outside with allergies and asthma
- Check your local pollution levels and pollen counts to anticipate which days are best for outdoor activities. Go outside when pollen counts are low, and try to avoid dry, breezy days.
- It also helps for parents to have allergy testing to learn what their child is allergic and therefore anticipate the allergy seasons, or can keep a journal to document their child's allergy season.
- For kids with asthma, it's important to keep their triggers in mind. Depending on what triggers their asthma, they may need to stay indoors when the pollen count is high, breathe through their nose instead of mouth while exercising, and have a careful warm up and cool down. They should carry rescue medication at all times.
- It is important that all medications are taken as prescribed for asthma as well as allergies.
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