Photo Credit: Splash News
Mama Pink looks downright jubilant taking a bike ride with her precious baby Willow in Venice, CA the other day. Having just celebrated her daughter's first birthday, she's clearly feeling a whole lot better than she was earlier this month when she had her gallbladder removed. (Plus, exercise feels good -- or so I'm told.)
There's just one tiny thing wrong with this photo. I hate to rain on Pink's parade, but I feel the overwhelming urge to wag my finger at her for not wearing a helmet. Yes, you have your daughter protected (bravo!), but she needs you safe, too, Ms. Pink. (It's estimated that wearing a bike helmet reduces head injury risk by 85 percent.) While we're on the topic, here four rules of the road to ensure your bike-riding kiddo is safe:
Check with the pediatrician first While the American Academy of Pediatrics states that most 12-month-olds are fine in a bike seat, double check with your child's physician to make sure your child has the neck and shoulder strength to tolerate the weight of a bike helmet -- and the jostling of a bumpy ride.
Practice before taking a passenger Riding with a small person on the front or rear of your two-wheeler can take some getting used to, balance-wise. To get accustom to the equilibrium shift, go for a practice ride with a loaded book bag strapped into the child's seat.
Pick the right seat While both front and rear-mount child bike seats are deemed safe, Consumer Reports prefers the rear-mounted version. Front-mounted seats, like the one Pink is using, can interfere with steering and pedaling.
Select the best helmet All helmets sold in the U.S. must meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standard, so that's good. But the helmet still needs to fit. To ensure safety, have your child try it on before you buy. It should be comfortable, snug and level on her head -- not tilted. And it shouldn't wiggle around once it's strapped on. And if your kiddo has an accident, replace the helmet. The impact may have crushed some of the foam.