Bicycle riding is a great activity for children. It helps them stay active and enjoy the outdoors, and it can give older children more independence as they use their bikes as a means of transportation. However, bike riding is also a common way for kids to sustain injuries.
How common are bike riding injuries?
Bicycle accidents account for about 500,000 emergency room visits annually, and about 300,000 of these injured cyclists are children. Worse, around 10,000 of these injuries are serious enough to require an overnight hospital stay, and over 700 are fatal.
New York in particular can be a dangerous place for kids to ride bikes, as our streets are extremely busy, and collisions with cars are both dangerous and very common. Even if you arm your child with all kinds of safety tips and the best equipment to protect them, crashes sometimes still happen.
That’s why we decided to write this post about what New York parents can do to protect their kids after a bicycle accident. Here you’ll find information on what to do directly after an accident, and how to get your child back on the road following a serious crash.
Immediately After the Accident
Do your best to remain calm after an accident, even if your child is frightened and upset. If your child and her bicycle are in the way of oncoming traffic, move them if you feel it’s safe to do so. Obviously, if your child is severely injured or cannot feel her limbs, you should absolutely not attempt to move her. Instead, call 911 immediately so that paramedics can examine her first and move your child using the safest possible techniques.
Once your child is out of harm’s way, carefully assess how hurt they are. Head injuries are very common in bicycle accidents, especially if he or she was not wearing a helmet. Ask your child if they are experiencing pain anywhere on their head or neck, and visually check for lacerations, contusions, or bruising. Also watch for symptoms of a concussion, such as disorientation, lack of coordination, or confusion.
Carefully check your child for any other injuries before leaving the scene. If anyone else was involved in the crash, take down their names and contact information, and also the information of anyone who witnessed the crash.
Getting Medical Help
If you have any reason to suspect that your child may be injured from the accident, get emergency medical help immediately. Remember that adrenaline masks pain, so even relatively minor pain could be a warning sign of a major injury.
It’s important to rule out significant issues such as concussions, internal bleeding, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries. Your child may also have cuts and scrapes from the accident that should be cleaned, and they may also need stitches.
Even if you do not believe they sustained injury, set up an appointment with their doctor as soon as possible to confirm that there are no hidden issues. Our bodies are tricky, and you don’t want to be in a situation where your child doesn’t realize there is a problem until days or weeks later.
If your child is in pain after the accident, a visit to a chiropractor or physical therapist can help relieve back, neck, and hip pain resulting from the accident. Chiropractors and physical therapists may also prescribe at-home exercises to help heal injuries and restore functionality.
Helping Your Child Get Riding Again
Once you’ve addressed any injuries, it will be time to get your child riding again. He may need some encouragement to get back on the road. This is also a good time to address any safety concerns to prevent future injuries.
If your child’s helmet was damaged in the accident, you will need to buy a new one. We know you’ve heard this before, but helmets are essential, especially for young cyclists. It is imperative that your child have a proper helmet – most fatal bicycle injuries occur because the rider was not wearing a helmet.
Elbow and knee pads may also be helpful, particularly if your child is just learning to ride. These can prevent cuts, scrapes, and potentially broken bones.
Bike Safety Rules
After an accident, go over what caused the accident with your child, and what they might be able to do to prevent bicycle accidents in the future. Also, review general bike safety rules:
- Ride with the flow of traffic, not against it
- Obey traffic signals
- Use hand signals when turning
- Stop and look both ways several times before crossing a street
- If bicycle paths or sidewalks are available, your child should use these instead of riding in the street
- Watch for potentially reckless or dangerous drivers
If Another Party Is at Fault, New York Lets You Receive Compensation
Many bicycle accidents could be prevented if not for the negligence of another party. For example, your child may have crashed because she was not properly supervised, or another cyclist or motorist may have been involved.
If you feel that your child’s bicycle accident occurred due to the negligence of another, consider holding them accountable for this negligent action by seeking damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This will help address any financial burden arising from the accident, and it may provide a sense of closure after what was undoubtedly a traumatic event.