Each year nearly one million people are treated nationwide for bicycle related injuries. In Illinois alone, approximately 10 children die each year from head injuries because they weren’t wearing bike helmets. Also, hundreds of children each year are injured requiring expensive medical care, often for the rest of their lives.
Interestingly, most bicycle crashes involving children don’t involve cars. Injuries occur from falls, collisions with fixed objects, or loss of control due to mechanical problems or poor road surfaces. Bike injuries occur evenly in both rural and urban settings but occur two times as often in boys as in girls.
Using bike helmets reduces total head injuries by 85% and the risk of brain injury by 90%.
We applaud the town of Barrington for making it law that all children less than 16 years of age must wear bike helmets. This is a state law in only 22 of the United States. It is unfortunate that this is not a law yet in Illinois. The Illinois branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics has been working on a bill that would make helmets mandatory.
In the meantime, insist on your child wearing a bike helmet at all times. Remember the concrete in your driveway is as hard as the concrete on major roads! Let your child personalize their helmet with stickers or decals so they would want to wear them. Most local bicycle shops will help you correctly size and fit your kids’ helmets.
Lastly, be a good role model – wear your helmet too!
© Lake Shore Pediatrics, Ltd. 1998, 2002. All rights reserved.