Many of us understand the risks of riding a bicycle without a helmet. Common injuries from an accident include head trauma, elbow scrapes and broken bones. While a helmet can’t prevent all injuries, it can mean the difference between life and death. But is a helmet really necessary when your toddler is riding a tricycle? Surprisingly, researchers say yes.
Tricycle accidents are more common than you may think. In 2012 and 2013, more than 9,000 children in the United States were treated in emergency rooms for tricycle-related injuries. The majority of accidents involved 2-year-old boys. The most common injuries were to the head, lacerations to the face and broken elbows. The good news is that only three-percent of injuries required hospitalization. The most serious injuries involved fractures, amputation and damage to internal organs. Sadly, between 2010 and 2015, there were nine fatalities attributable to tricycle accidents. These deaths were caused by head injuries, children hit by cars and tricycles falling into pools. Even a tumble off a tricycle can cause serious injuries to the upper body and head. Head trauma can lead to long-term injuries, such as brain damage.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should not be on a tricycle until they are at least 3 years of age. Children younger than that typically don’t have necessary coordination and balance to safely operate a tricycle. When choosing a tricycle for their child, parents should select one that is low to ground and has thick tires. In addition, children should always wear elbow pads and a helmet. Adult supervision is a must, as many accidents can be prevented.
Our bicycle accident attorneys have represented many minor-age cyclists. We always advise parents to enroll a child in a bike safety course, when possible. Lastly, all cyclists should always wear a helmet.