Encouraging your child to ride a balance bike can be a great way to help them learn how to balance and steer a bike so they are all set when it comes to riding a regular pedal bike without training wheels.
Although I definitely recommend balance bikes and there are definitely reasons why balance bikes can be safer than traditional bikes with training wheels, there are still some safety precautions you should take with your young child when they ride their bike.
Here are 5 balance bike safety tips to keep in mind with your preschooler as well as even younger toddlers who may have these types of bikes as well.
Kids Should Wear a Helmet When Riding a Balance Bike
Balance bikes are no different than a regular bike when it comes to making your child wear a helmet when they are riding the bike.
This is a good habit to start young, the first time they start riding any type of bike even if you don’t think they need the helmet yet. This enforces that you always need to wear a helmet when riding a bike at an early age so they are more likely to put up less of a fight about wearing the helmet when they are older.
A good way to get preschoolers to want to wear a bike helmet is to let them pick out a cool bike helmet that has their favorite character or a neat design they like. Just be sure that the helmet fits them properly and doesn’t move around on their head.
Children Should Wear Closed Toe Shoes When Riding a Balance Bike
It is just a good idea to make your child wear a closed toe shoe when riding any type of bike but especially a balance bike. Balance bikes are propelled and stopped by a child’s foot which makes this tip pretty important unless you want some hurt toes.
I would even recommend that your child should only ride the bike wearing tennis shoes or at least closed toe sandals that have a back on the shoe as well.
This just helps to prevent your little one from stubbing a toe on the ground or possibly losing a shoe while riding the bike.
Choose the Right Size Balance Bike for Your Preschooler
Most balance bikes are appropriate for ages 2-6 years old so you will have some bikes that are geared towards younger toddlers and some that are geared towards older preschoolers.
If your child rides a bike that it is too large for them it can not only make it difficult for them to ride the bike properly but it can also increase the chances of them falling off as well. The same really goes for a balance bike that is too small as well.
Most manufacturers will have the size guidelines so that you can choose the right size bike for your child. Don’t be tempted to buy a bike that is too big for them now just so they can get an extra year’s use out of it.
Be sure to check out my recommendations for the best balance bikes for a 3 and 4 year old.
Set Up a Safe Bike Riding Safety Zone
Although you may not be sending your preschooler outside to ride their bike all by himself, you should still set up a safety zone where they know they are able to ride their bike. You can even use cones or other objects to map out the zone so they know not to cross those lines.
It is up to you what area you allow your child to ride the bike in but just remember that even if they are riding on the sidewalk they still need to be aware of cars that may be backing out or pulling into driveways.
You should also steer clear of any steep hills around or an area that has a lot of uneven ground if your child is just a beginner.
Setting up an actual zone that they can ride their bike in helps teach them proper riding rules and helps keep them safer as they get older and are allowed to venture farther on their bike.
Let Your Child Go At His Own Pace
Some parents tend to push their child to really learn how to ride the bike especially since a balance bike is considered a pre-bike or learning bike.
This may only frustrate your child or may even cause injuries because he is not raedy to do something yet.
Instead encourage your child to start sitting on the seat and pushing with his feet to make him go. Then once he has that down, encourage him to start lifting his feet off the ground and coasting. If he is not ready for that, don’t push but just revisit it at a later time.
With practice your child will start feeling more comfortable and able to do things and may just surprise you as they take off coasting all on their own.
Balance bikes can be a great way to help your preschooler ride a bike and avoid training wheels all together, but don’t forget to follow these safety tips to help them not only have fun riding but also keep them safer.