Written by Joanna E. Betancourt MD FAAP
Recently, two patients of ours had accidents when they were hit by a car while riding their bikes. Both suffered head trauma because they were not wearing their helmets
The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that head injuries can occur on sidewalks, on driveways, on bike paths, and in parks as well as on streets. You cannot predict when a fall from a bike will occur. It’s important to wear a helmet on every ride.
Below are four suggestion that could help you get into the habit of telling your kids to wear a helmet.
- Are you wearing a helmet? We’ve all heard the saying, “…do as I say, not as I do.” But the truth is, children learn best by observing you. Thus, whenever you ride a bike, set a good example and put on your helmet. Not only will this reinforce the message, but you will be setting a good example.
- Start Early. If your kids are small, have your kids wear a helmet as soon as they start to ride a tricycle or when they are riding as a passenger on the back of an adult’s bike. If your children learn to wear helmets whenever they ride tricycles and bikes, it becomes a habit for a lifetime.
- No helmet; no bike riding. Don’t let children ride their bikes unless they wear their helmets. Being consistent is a big part of the process. If you allow your children to ride occasionally without their helmets, they won’t believe that helmet use really is important.
- Use professional athletes as examples. My husband likes to watch the X-Games. For those that don’t know, X-Games are a yearly competition where athletes perform extreme sports such as skateboarding, roller-blading, motorcycle jumping and various other high risk, death defying stunts. All of those athletes wear helmets at all times. Thus, using professional athletes such as those on the X-Games as an example, drives the message home of how important the use of helmets can be.
Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many accidents happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. In fact, the majority of bike crashes happen near home. A helmet protects your child from serious injury, and should always be worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps children develop the helmet habit.
Thankfully, both patients are doing fine. But these incidents are a sure way to remind parents that helmets are very, very important and should always be worn when bike riding, roller-blading or playing hockey. No exceptions!
For information on how to select the right helmet, clink on the link