Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Bike Helmets Reduce Head Injury

Category: Child Care


The American Academy of Pediatrics is on a campaign to increase bike helmet use. The reason for this is because of the large number of cyclists (over 88 million in the United States) and the danger of head injuries, particularly in children.

By far and away the most common cause of death and disability from bicycling is from head injury. Most of these injuries can be prevented by simply wearing a properly fitting bike helmet. It should become part of our routine thinking just as we buckle football helmets on football players and batting helmets on baseball players.

A volunteer agency called the Snell Memorial Foundation rates all helmets and the letters ANSI will be affixed to any helmet which is officially approved by them. Suggestions for parents by the American Academy of Pediatrics include :

1. Parents should begin to wear helmets as an example to their children.

2. Let the child pick his own helmet when he is old enough. 3. When riding, always insist your child wear his helmet.

4. Begin his helmet use with his first ride.

5. Encourage your friends to use helmets with their children.

6. Start your child with coaster brakes rather than hand brakes at a young age because of greater safety.

7. Pick the proper size bike for your child rather than buying one too high for them and expecting them to grow into it. 8. Use common sense in allowing your child to ride his bike. In other words, don't let a small child go off into a neighborhood unsupervised.

Biking is a wonderful way to share family time. Hopefully we will see more and more entire families on the road wearing helmets.