Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

MNHQ have commented on this thread

Childs safety in learning to ride a bike
25

Thea2022 · 04/03/2022 16:45

Hello,

I was wondering what other parents are doing for their child's safety. My six year old son is learning to ride his bike just now - he's not very good to be honest and keeps having falls and accidents.
I am concerned that he could suffer a bad head knock. He always wears his helmet. I did wonder if there is any other protection out there to help reduce risk?
Should I be concerned about concussion and head injuries or am I being over-protective?

Any help and advice would be welcomed.

Best wishes,
Xx

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

BogRollBOGOF · 04/03/2022 18:44

On a flat, well chosen site a young child on a small gear-less bike won't be travelling at sufficient speed to have major helmet-busting head injuries.

Knocks and bumps are common. Gloves (Decathlon do children's cycling gloves) and long sleves/ legs protect from the worst of scrapes.

Please
or
to access all these features

LilyMumsnet · 04/03/2022 18:51

Hi OP

Just to let you know, we've edited the names out of your opening post. Mumsnet is a very public forum, accessible to all so we're keen to protect your privacy!

Please
or
to access all these features

etulosba · 04/03/2022 18:59

Can you do it on grass? That’s how I learnt (1960s).

Please
or
to access all these features

Notlostjustexploring · 04/03/2022 20:14

Make sure the bike is suitable for him and in good condition? Some brands of bikes are better than others and are light and designed for small hands (Frog, Isla etc). I've watched my eldest on a Frog bike and on a standard steel bike and there is a very visible difference in how well he handles the bike.

Make sure his helmet fits properly, and if it takes a bad knock, replace it.

Otherwise, just pick them up, wipe the blood off cuddles and get them back on the bike. The more confident they are, the less likely they are to fall in the first place.

I think a previous poster is right, I think you have to be going at a fair speed to be at risk of a serious head injury.

Maybe take the pedals off initially, turn it into a balance bike so he can get used to the balancing aspect first?

Please
or
to access all these features

lljkk · 05/03/2022 08:48

As small a bike as possible while not putting undue pressure on his knees to pedal -- so he can get his feet to ground quickly, this will reduce risk of falling off.

Please
or
to access all these features

Thea2022 · 07/03/2022 09:31

@BogRollBOGOF
Thanks for your comments and thoughts - your suggestion on the protective clothing makes sense, especially for the elbows as my son is always falling and grazing them. Do you use any tech? I have seen various sensors on the market and wondered if any work.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Thea2022 · 07/03/2022 09:32

@etulosba
Thanks - I guess it would be a softer landing but I am just thinking of the impact of falling off and it still being pretty large. Will source local parks and avoid the gravel.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Mercedes519 · 07/03/2022 09:34

Sounds like he could do with practicing balance - have you tried taking the pedals off and using it as a balance bike?

It means they can't fall as his feet will be near the floor but can get the hang of balance. Once he's confident you can put the pedals back on and away he goes.

Please
or
to access all these features

Spudlet · 07/03/2022 09:35

Get your trainers on and run beside him, so you can catch? That’s what we did. And make sure the bike is small and light.

Taking the pedals off is a good idea too.

Please
or
to access all these features

koalarainbow · 07/03/2022 09:37

It's much harder to ride a bike on grass than concrete

Please
or
to access all these features

Thea2022 · 07/03/2022 09:58

@Notlostjustexploring
Thanks for your advice - I have responded to your comments, as I have a few follow ups that I wanted to ask about:

Make sure the bike is suitable for him and in good condition? Some brands of bikes are better than others and are light and designed for small hands (Frog, Isla etc). I've watched my eldest on a Frog bike and on a standard steel bike and there is a very visible difference in how well he handles the bike. Looks like I will need to do some bike research, I wasn't aware of this, I guess this could have an influence. Thanks for sharing!

Make sure his helmet fits properly, and if it takes a bad knock, replace it. - Yes, we have a kids helmet fitted. My question is, how do you know what a bad knock is? in order to replace the helmet, are you going off damage to helmet? sore head? other symptoms?

Otherwise, just pick them up, wipe the blood off cuddles and get them back on the bike. The more confident they are, the less likely they are to fall in the first place. Hard to build confidence when he is always falling off. Will need to see what other things I can do to fill him with some confidence and courage to give it a go!

I think a previous poster is right, I think you have to be going at a fair speed to be at risk of a serious head injury. What poster was this? are you able to share with me? or any other resources. That's interesting that you say it has to be a fair speed to suffer a serious head injury, but how do you define this difference? when does it move from a head knock to a serious head knock?

Maybe take the pedals off initially, turn it into a balance bike so he can get used to the balancing aspect first?
Yes, we started of with a balance bike, then progressed into the pedals, he was successful with the balance bike, but not so much with the pedals.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

HalfShrunkMoreToGo · 07/03/2022 10:04

DD finally learned last summer when she was 6, she hadn't shown much interest before. She was very hesitant and wobbly for a while, we went to a small local park that have a flat grassy bit and just encouraged her to keep trying. Once she was stable enough we moved t9 the paths so she was on concrete and having to steer a bit more.

Then we encouraged her to ride the short walk to school every day so she was just doing a short 10 min bike ride daily and within a week she was whizzing about, full of confidence.

Please
or
to access all these features

Flangeosaurus · 07/03/2022 10:05

You sound a bit over protective to be honest! He will fall off, that’s what they do when they’re learning but you fretting beside him isn’t going to help his confidence. In the nicest way possible, take a deep breath and step back and let him try. They don’t tend to fall on their heads, they wobble over sideways and graze knees and elbows. Head injuries are far more likely in confident, fast cyclists who have come over the handlebars. Little kids are slow and wobbly, they can’t go fast enough for really serious injuries. If the area he is practising in is clear of obstacles like flower beds etc just let him crack on.

Please
or
to access all these features

Rollercoaster1920 · 07/03/2022 10:12

The switch to pedalling can take a bit of adjustment. Don't do it on grass - that just makes pedalling harder.
if your child is good n a balance bike then it is getting used to pedalling.
I did alternate stabilisers on and off on his bike, also kept the balance bike in use too so my son still enjoyed being on a bike without too much frustration. He got it after a bit.

Another alternative is the balance buddy bike handle that fits over the back of the bike so you can help hold them up. i remember my back aching a lot so this bar could have helped that!. www.halfords.com/cycling/kids-bike-accessories/kids-bike-stabilisers/halfords-balance-buddy-bike-handle-279427.html

Please
or
to access all these features

Justkeeppedaling · 07/03/2022 10:13

[quote Thea2022]@BogRollBOGOF
Thanks for your comments and thoughts - your suggestion on the protective clothing makes sense, especially for the elbows as my son is always falling and grazing them. Do you use any tech? I have seen various sensors on the market and wondered if any work.[/quote]

There's nothing wrong with grazed knees and elbows. It was a feature of childhood back in the day - all kids constantly had at least one bloody arm or leg at all times.
But that was in the days when kids played outside.... 🙁

Please
or
to access all these features

Lonelycrab · 07/03/2022 10:31

Learning basic balance and pedalling was fine in grass for my ds, you just need to find somewhere with a very slight downward incline. He was late to learn- nearly 8 and finding the right spot really helped his confidence. Once they’ve cracked the basics (doesn’t take long for it to click) moving onto harder surfaces was fine, but the initial safety of the grass helped him greatly. Just my 2p

Please
or
to access all these features

WaterTheBasil · 07/03/2022 10:34

I just told my dd to peddle faster so she wouldn't fall off the next time. Blush

Both of mine learnt quickly and I imagine that some of their confidence that they would be able to do so was picked up from my attitude that they would be absolutely fine if they fell and that they would be able to do it. My youngest wore shorts and a T-shirt never mind protective gear.

Please
or
to access all these features

Aroundtheworldin80moves · 07/03/2022 10:40

DH taught DDs to always check their brakes and tyres before taking their bikes out. Its a good habit to get into really.

Suitable clothing... not restrictive (although DD1 figured out cycling in her school dress quickly!)

Helmet fitted properly, not loose.

Looking where they are going, being aware of hazards.

But generally, scrapes grazes and bruises are part of learning in childhood.

Please
or
to access all these features

cas66 · 07/03/2022 10:44

I would just go back on the balance bike until you’ve both built up a bit more confidence. Is he riding the balance bike at a decent speed and able to coast, navigate bumps/corners etc?
Not saying you are, but when the parent is hovering and grabbing every time the child wobbles a bit it’s never going to work. Might be more effective to give them a bit of a push on a concrete path so they can get some momentum.
I would think long sleeves and trousers and a decent helmet is safe enough. Maybe subconsciously you are telling him it’s dangerous by the extra safety measure you are worrying about and that’s making him panicky.

Please
or
to access all these features

cas66 · 07/03/2022 10:47

Or downhill on grass if you feel more comfortable

Please
or
to access all these features

Spudlet · 07/03/2022 10:58

The other thing I always do is positive reinforcement, even when things go tits up. So if he has a near miss, I don’t say ‘oh no’ or act like it’s a big deal, I praise him for the great save. If he falls, I dust him down and praise him for trying something new. And I always have a big smile. Much less alarming for him than me flapping around.

Please
or
to access all these features

Thea2022 · 07/03/2022 11:14

@koalarainbow
Yes, this did also cross my mind - surface isn't as smooth, so requires more work

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

jytdtysrht · 07/03/2022 11:19

I would say he needs to practise balance. Slight slope, gravity takes him down it, feet not on pedals. I taught my ds to do it when he was 8 (autistic and borderline dyspraxic). Get him really competent before moving on from that stage as I don’t think high numbers of falls are ok.

Please
or
to access all these features

angelsandinsects · 07/03/2022 11:21

I think you need to make it as easy for them as possible so, as a PP has said, something like a Frog or Isla bike if you can afford it.
Have you taught your child the basics about how to stop, including putting your foot down? I think that putting your foot down and leaning would be instinctive in most children but not necessarily. Also, is the bike set up properly?
Otherwise, I can't see this being such an issue. Mine fell off a few times but, other than one spectacular skid and another occasion when DS decided to cycle into the kerb, it has been a controlled fall with their confidence and pride being dented more than their skin. There might have been a bruise or bump where a pedal or handlebar has knocked them but that's about it.

Please
or
to access all these features

Thea2022 · 07/03/2022 11:22

@Spudlet
Thanks for this positive advice - really good example of how I can support my son and ensure its a good learning experience.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.