According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bicycle crashes and bicycle-related head injuries generate approximately 150,000 emergency department visits and nearly 400 deaths each year in the United States. Unfortunately, a new study out of Los Angeles, California has concluded that, despite the seriousness of this statistic, helmet usage amongst children is still appallingly low.
Dr. Veronica Sullins, an author of the new study which was presented during the National Conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Orlando, Florida on Oct. 26, 2013, reported that the study analyzed medical records of more than 1,200 children (median age 13) who had been treated for bicycle accident-related injuries in Los Angeles County between 2006 and 2011. The data revealed that of the children injured, only 11% were wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. Approximately 6% of the children in the study required emergency surgery. The reported death rate was 0.7%. Of the nine children who died, eight were not wearing a helmet!
The study was confined to data from Los Angeles County and thus, it may not accurately correspond to habits and helmet usage in other areas. However, it is important that parents and others involved in educating our children on safe cycling take notice.
Helmet use by minors is required by law in many jurisdictions, including New Jersey. But ultimately, it is the role of the parent and educators to encourage and facilitate helmet use amongst our children.
For more details on this study, click here.