As parents, we all want to keep our children safe. Of course, you are going to make sure your child is wearing a helmet when she rides her bike, but I bet it never occurred to you to teach her how to crash. Believe it or not, there is a right way and wrong way to crash. Teaching your child crashing a bike the right way will lessen her chances of serious injury.
Common Cycling Injuries
It may surprise you to know that one of the most common cycling injuries, besides abrasions (otherwise known as road rash), is a broken collarbone. I thankfully made it through twenty-eight years of riding, including ten years of professional racing, without breaking my collarbone, but I know many cyclists who have broken theirs more than once. Unfortunately, once your child has broken it, she is more likely to break it again. While I can't say that crashing the right way you will spare your child a broken collarbone, it certainly improves her chances.
Crashing The Right Way
Being mentally and physically prepared for a crash and learning to crash the right way will decrease your child's chances of serious injury.
- What not to do: put our a hand. It's our natural reaction to catch ourselves when we fall. When your child falls off her bike, under no circumstances should she put her hand out to catch herself. in an attempt to cushion her fall That is a great way for her to break her wrist and/or collar bone.
- What to do: hold on tight, get in a tuck and roll: The best thing for your child to do when she crashes is roll. Knowing how to tumble will help your child avoid injury in a crash. At the very least, make sure she's comfortable running and diving into a summersault. Teach her to hold on to the handlebars when she crashes. If she is gripping the handle bars tightly, she's not going to stick her hand out to catch herself and she is already in a more tucked position, which makes it easier to roll. Furthermore, in track cycling the odds are that her feet are pretty securely attached to her pedals, so there is a good chance that even if she let go of the bars she'd still be attached to her bike; she might as well hold on to it.
Erin Mirabella is a mom, two-time Olympic track cyclist, MomsTeam's track cycling expert, and children's book author. Her books, Gracie Goat's Big Bike Race and Shawn Sheep The Soccer Star focus on sportsmanship, healthy lifestyles, and core values. For more information about Erin and her children’s books, click here.
Created May 4, 2010