Outdoor play and exploration is a part of being a kid, and so is exploring wheeled vehicles such as tricycles, scooters, balance bikes and more! Here are some tips and tricks for exploring the outdoors with your kiddos including advice for choosing helmets and some tips for communicating while outside.

So many ways to ride!

Are you looking to get a new outdoor toy for your little one? Here are some fun ways to get your kiddo moving outside (with links to some favorites)!

Balance Bikes/Striders

Strider – 12 Sport Balance Bike

Front-Mount Bike Seat

Thule Ride-Along Mini

Rear-Mount Bike Seat

Thule Ride-Along

Bike Trailers

Burley Bee Trailer

What about Helmets?

No matter which riding toy you choose it’s important to encourage helmet use early. The earlier you make wearing a helmet a habit (and a requirement to ride) the easier it will be. And…no surprise, the best way to get your child to wear a helmet is modeling wearing one yourself!

But what works best for kiddos with listening devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants?

  • If your child has cochlear implants, a behind the ear (BTE) processor (such as the Cochlear N7 or Sonnet 2) will be better than a single unit processor (such as the Kanso or Rondo 2).
  • Do not cut out any foam from a helmet, it can negatively impact the safety rating. You are better off going with a helmet that’s a little big and buying more foam to add where needed.
  • Better yet, try a dial-fit adjustable helmet (such as the Giro Scamp MIPS helmet) which will fit over your child’s devices and then can be tightened down to fit.
  • Use a cloth headband or pilot cap (like this one from Emmifaye) to hold everything in place under the helmet
  • Use a shirt clip (like this one from the Beebop Shop) to keep your child’s devices clipped on – just in case!

Not sure if your child’s helmet fits appropriately? Check out this helmet fitting guide from UVA Health.

***Have you found a helmet that works for your child and their listening devices? We’d love if you could comment below and share what you’ve found that works!***

Tips for Communicating Outside

It’s important to be mindful of the listening environment and background noise when playing outdoors with your children with hearing loss. Especially when riding on a bike or scooter and wind noise is a factor. Here are some tips for improving communication when outside with your kiddos.

Pre-teach important information – Before you go outside make sure to go over expectations and talk about safety while you are still in a more optimal listening environment

Get closer, not louder – Remember that yelling or raising your voice distorts the signal and makes it harder to understand. If you notice you are too far away and have to yell, get closer instead.

Get face to face – When communication is key, such as communicating safety expectations while crossing a street, get down at your child’s eye level and face to face before you speak.

Use some safety signs – Learn a few safety signs that you can use when you are out and about. They are especially helpful if you are communicating something from a distance. Here are a few we’d recommend (click on links for videos)