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  1. #1
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    My son's first crash

    Today on the way to Cub Scouts, my son took his eye off of where he was supposed to go and clipped a parked car. He went down pretty hard. Nothing broken but he has some pretty good road rash. Its awful to watch your child crash. As parents of children who love to ride, how do you not worry? I try really hard to not put my fears in him.. But this has shaken me up just as much as it has him.

    So what should I do? Firstly, what should I do to help him regain confidence on the bike again? Secondly does the worry ever get easier to deal with?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarwes View Post
    Today on the way to Cub Scouts, my son took his eye off of where he was supposed to go and clipped a parked car. He went down pretty hard. Nothing broken but he has some pretty good road rash. Its awful to watch your child crash. As parents of children who love to ride, how do you not worry? I try really hard to not put my fears in him.. But this has shaken me up just as much as it has him.

    So what should I do? Firstly, what should I do to help him regain confidence on the bike again? Secondly does the worry ever get easier to deal with?

    When My boy crashes, I high five him and tell him it was awesome!! I teach him to wear his scars with pride!! When I see him going down my stomach does twist a little, but I've gotten good about hiding my real thoughts so as to not cause them to panic!

    Make sure you teach him to at least attempt to notify the owner of the car too!!

  3. #3
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    Last night at 7:00 my daughter had her first big crash as well.
    She got a wobble goiing, and eventualy went down.
    I was actualy kind of impressed, Checked the knees, elbows, hands, hardly a scratch.
    shoulder, Little tinny bit. Wondered how she got so little.

    Well, Within a few min, I started seeing signs of concusion, by 1 hour, we were at the hospital with her vomiting.

    6 hours observation at the hospital, then sent home.

    this morning, he shoulder is tender, but I am hoping she is alright. I feel absolutly terrible. You wish ou coudl do more for them.

  4. #4
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    My son's first crash

    I do exactly the same tell him that looked so cool. I've told both my kids that all the stories they love to hear my mom and dad tell about me growing up usually involved me breaking, wrecking, or crashing something. Kids will be kids let them crash it builds them up for the future.

  5. #5
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    My son spills all the time, and I too taught him to not freak out and cry before figuring out if anything is wrong. If I saw that he wasn't hurt I'd say stuff like "whoaaa nice spill dude!" and high five him. He'll get up, look at his arms and legs, and go "i'm ok!"

    I've actually helped him grow out of his stage where he would fall, look immediately at his mommy and gauge his reaction by how she looks. Like, he could be perfectly fine and not hurt but he'll cry and go for a hug because she is all like "oooooh poor baby let me kiss your boo boo!" which I guess is nice and motherly but there needs to be a balance so we don't raise a wuss. lol.

    I will say though, that gloves help immensely, as I noticed little kids tend to try to go down hands first. My 4 year old has some Specialized kids gloves that fit perfectly.

    Someone on here mentioned that their daughter broke her arm BECAUSE of elbow pads, which cause the arm to overextend in some cases, so I'm going to avoid elbow pads and knee pads at this point. A little road rash is ok.

    Helmet is a must, though! A properly adjusted helmet, that is.

    Also, he falls roughly 200% less since getting the Spawn Banshee. No coaster brakes anymore. Good stuff.
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  6. #6
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    This one shook me up I guess. He's crashed before and yeah, he would get up check out his scrapes and high five me.. But this one was different.. It took him a little time to realize how hurt he was He had his helmet on. He landed on his head. He has road rash on his face under his eye, his cheek is pretty swollen and he twisted his knee. He' feeling better today though..

  7. #7
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    Ohhh, one of those- yeah I haven't had that yet. Well, not on a bike. Yeah that sucks
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  8. #8
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    Sorry to hear that, jarwes! My daughter (3.5) just had a spill yesterday that was her worst yet... she got so confident on her balance bike that she tried to over-steer a corner and got her handlebars turned over 90 degrees while still moving. Needless to say, this is instant-crash territory! It took her a minute or two to pick herself up, but she was lucky; no scrapes, no broken anything. And she got back on her bike and kept going.

    I would second Jared's comment about teaching them to decide for themselves when they are hurt and need help. My daughters and I have a lot of conversations about how you learn from hard things more than easy, and that the only way to make things easy is to practice. I always give them praise not for doing well, but for practicing and trying new and/or hard things. As a result, they are kind of psyched about working on stuff, and dealing with the crashes, spills, and other results. I described this to someone else once as giving my kids "permission to fail." I still can't think of a more succinct way to put it.

    For me... I make sure they have helmets on, and help them pick themselves back up when they have trouble. Some day we may have a broken bone or hospital-level emergency. That will, needless to say, be different. My job is just to keep their failures in the "recoverable" category; at least for now.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarwes View Post
    Secondly does the worry ever get easier to deal with?
    I'm saying this half-joking and half not-joking:

    Since my kids are getting pretty good at having massive crashes, I'm getting pretty good at dealing with it.

    The first few road-rash incidents were indeed confidence-deflating, but once they realized dad gets road rash too, it became less of an issue. Mom remains un-thrilled with this approach.

  10. #10
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    Like mentioned before, kids will react according to your reaction (unless they are seriously hurt); therefore, learn not to over react. When my son crashes, which is more often now that we moved to intermediate trails, I ask him if he is ok and check him out, but more often than not, he is already up and shaking the dirt off by the time I get to him. I'm lucky that my son likes to wear knee pads and shin guards. In addition, he wears his full face helmet 99% of the time regardless of the trail we are riding. He says he looks cool. No complaints here. Bottom line, don't over react.

  11. #11
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    Ouch! Hope she recovers quickly!

    As for the OP's question: I think as a parent it is impossible to not worry at all, but you just take the steps to minimize the worry as much as possible. First, progress slowly and develop their skills and confidence. (Even pro freeriders didn't hit 10 foot drops their first time on a mountain bike!). Watch them while they ride and give reminders/pointers as you go. If we are riding in the neighborhood, my son knows to stay to the right; I say something every time a car comes, anyway. On a trail, remind him where he wants to look, how to brake, where to put his weight, etc. I remind him mostly when to stand, because he would attempt everything sitting if I didn't suggest he stand through a section. Preventative maintenance is probably the best way to avoiding worry - try to keep the crashes from happening in the first place. Also, teach them how to assess a situation and their capabilities and not attempt things way over their heads. Sometimes kids will think they are a lot better at something than they really are, and you'll have to hold them back. (As a lifeguard one summer, during swim tests one particular week, I had a whole group of kids who swore they could swim; we ended up having a lifeguard wait in the water, because most of them jumped in, then immediately started drowning). And, of course, make sure they have all the proper protective gear for the activity at hand - helmet, gloves, pads possibly. Oh, and that everything is in working order on the bike and the bike is outfitted with all essentials (i.e., lights/reflectors if riding in the evening, etc).

    Of course, they will sometimes crash, just like we do. So on to the second part of your question, what to do to help them regain their confidence. First, don't freak out, yourself. Kids will end up with boo-boos. Assess the situation and their injuries before going into all-out panic mode. Nothing's broken, no head, neck or back injury, just some rash - the high five and a Band-Aid may be exactly the ticket. A worse crash, like northernblade's daughter, obviously will require more drastic action like an ER visit. But stay calm (at least on the outside) and it will go a long way to helping your child cope with the trauma. And when he is all healed up, don't try to push him right back to the level he was at. Ease back onto the bike if need be (some kids can practically lose a leg and want to jump right back on, others will need A LOT of encouragement even to look at the bike again). I do have a story of one of my son's first crashes. I was teaching him to ride on a grassy slope. Well, he inevitably took a spill and began to cry. Beginning to look him over, it was immediately obvious to me that he was not injured, just scared. I then noticed that one of the reflectors on the wheels had broken off in the crash, and I pointed it out. My son instantly stopped crying and got very excited out how he had "crashed so hard one of the RE-flectors broke off."

    Lastly, the worry will get easier to deal with as you ride with them more and see their skills, abilities, and confidence increase. As you ride together more, you'll be able to evaluate situations with a knowledge of your child's riding ability, as well as their crash recover-ability. (You could even have them take judo or karate or something that may actually help them learn to crash better). Finally, try to focus on the fun and not think too much about the potential crash. Make sure you know what to di if and when there is a crash and be prepared for it, but don't let it consume you. Focus on giving your kid a good time, and you'll find the worry get easier to deal with, I'm sure.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RallyPunx View Post
    I'm lucky that my son likes to wear knee pads and shin guards. In addition, he wears his full face helmet 99% of the time regardless of the trail we are riding.
    Having my son rock pads and a full face for a lot of his first few years of riding paid off so many times it's crazy. He was able to take the inevitable tumbles and come out of them shaken up but almost always able to jump right back on the bike no worse for wear. And in the event of a few really hard crashes, the pads, and particularly the helmet, have kept us out of the emergency room more than once. I think this has helped a lot in keeping him stoked on riding and progressing. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be anywhere near as good or enthusiastic a rider if he had the scars to go along with some of the crashes he had when he was smaller.

    Now that he's getting older (just turned 9), he's a little less likely to put on full gear, and more likely to trying stuff that makes me really nervous for him. Not sure if I should let him take the hits or put on the pressure to suit up again. I'm even more nervous about the future and when exactly the progression will be more than I can handle. We watch kids pulling inverted moves 20' off the deck above concrete all the time, and my son's big dream is learning how to do a flair. I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with that level of risk for him.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the advice guys.. I really appreciate it. Hes better today. I had his helmet inspected at the LBS and its toast. But thankfully it did its job and there were no signs of concussion.. just road rash on his face and arms.. Now we just will let him heal and slowly get back on the bike.. By the way he thinks its pretty cool he broke his helmet..

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