Rock those helmets!
Riding bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and scooters are fun ways to be active and get around town. However, we need to make sure that we are taking the necessary precautions to stay safe!
Bike accidents bring more kids into emergency rooms than any other sport. In fact, every day, 1,000 kids present to ERs across the country with bike injuries: from broken bones to concussions. Kids between 5 and 14 years old are at highest risk for bike injuries. However, wearing a bike helmet can help minimize head injuries that might occur. A 15-year study of over 6 million kids under 18 showed that kids with head injuries who were not wearing bike helmets were over 3 times as likely to need hospitalization and almost 6 times as likely to die from their injuries.
Wearing bike helmets can significantly decrease the risk of a head injury during a bike crash, even in a crash with a motor vehicle. Non-helmeted kids have a 14-fold greater risk of being in a fatal accident compared to helmeted kids. It is estimated that 75% of these fatalities could have been prevented by simply wearing a helmet. If every kid wore a bike helmet, 135-155 deaths could be prevented annually, in addition to preventing 39,000-45,000 head injuries and 18,000 to 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.
Helmets should be worn even when riding close to home. Most crashes occur within 1 mile of home and kids under age 4 are more likely to have accidents in the driveway or garage.
When fitting the helmet, make sure that the chin strap fits snugly. The helmet should be secure on the head. Look for a seal from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Snell Memorial Foundation, or American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
If there is a crash while wearing a bike helmet, it's time for a new one. These helmets are only designed for 1 impact. Cracks in the foam or marks on the shell mean it's time for a new one. Most helmet manufacturers will replace crashed helmets for a small fee.
Kids are more likely to wear their bike helmets if peers and parents wear them too. So, Mom and Dad: strap on those helmets too! Happy riding!