By Pico Triano
My five year old daughter had just learned to ride without training wheels and spent every chance she could booming all over the common area around the townhouse complex where we lived at the time.
Only a few weeks into her newfound joy, she came to the back door with her hands covering her face calling for her mom. Mom of course came and wanted to have a look. When the hands were drawn away they were covered in blood and so was her pretty young face. Suppressing a gasp of horror, mom went to working cleaning up the mess and providing first aid.
It didn’t turn out to be as bad as it at first looked. She had a deep cut above her eye just below her eyebrow. The bridge of her cute little nose swelled up.
My wife had done an excellent job. She had used small butterfly bandaged to close the cut. When I got home I felt she needed to be checked at the doctor. She had been wearing a helmet but had landed on her face on very rough asphalt. I was a concerned she might have a concussion. Plus we’re amateurs when it comes to some first aid and we wanted to make sure she was fixed up right. The doctor was impressed with the work my wife did and elected to forego stitches because the butterfly bandages were doing a good job. My daughter got a clean bill of health and it wasn’t long before she was out riding again – although a little more carefully.
I think it’s natural for parents to worry about their children having accidents. It’s also natural for children to have them. My kids have had a few and it would be nice if as a parent you could somehow prevent them all. That isn’t realistic though. I’m just glad my kids have provided me with less of those emergencies than I did for my parents.
What’s a parent to do?
First off make sure your kids have proper protective equipment. I know, I grew up before the days of cycling helmets and I survived didn’t I? Yes, but I had a classmate who did not. Make sure they have a helmet and use it.
Make sure the other end is protected as well. Don’t let your kids ride their bikes with bare feet or just as bad - open toed sandals. Flip-flops might even be worse. I know I was stupid enough as a kid to ride with them. The rubber sole could catch the pavement and pull your foot into the ground. It’s amazing that I have any skin on my big toes.
Second make sure they ride in a safe environment. Kids shouldn’t start out riding in the street. Make sure that when they advance to that point that they’ve been taught the rules of the road and that they’ve been taught to ride defensively.
Third suggestion, because with kids stuff happens, is to have a good first aid kit and know how to use everything in it. We learned a lot from experience but a good first aid course is useful.