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Helmet use can cut bicycle fatality rates in kids

When most parents think of their kids getting hurt on a bicycle, images of scraped elbows and crocodile tears may come to mind. Unfortunately, however, thousands of children around the country sustain serious bicycle accident injuries every year. Given that so many children play and ride their bikes near busy streets and commuter traffic, it’s more important than ever to ensure their safety. A recent study conducted in Los Angeles, California, offers valuable insight into the threats facing young bike riders and what can be done to protect them.

In 2010, it’s estimated that more than 500,000 people required emergency medical treatment. For injuries sustained on a bicycle. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that around 800 bicycle riders died as a result of related injuries that year. And while those numbers are troubling, the Bike Helmet Safety Institute believes that proper safety helmet use can cut bicycle rider fatality rates by more than half. More attention is also being paid to injury and fatality rates concerning child riders, as they are especially vulnerable.

Less than half of all states in a country require children to wear helmets while riding bicycles. However, the Bike Helmet Safety Institute claims that around 40,000 head injuries and close to 150 child deaths could be prevented if kids wore helmets. A study was recently presented at an American Academy of Pediatrics conference that suggests that only a little over 10 percent of older kids who received medical treatment for bicycle-related injuries were wearing helmets.

The study was conducted over a five-year period and surveyed over 1,200 kids. It concluded that older kids, along with those from minority groups, may benefit the most from bicycle safety training.

Source: medicaldaily.com, “89% Of Children In Bike Accidents Do Not Wear Helmets, Upping Risk Of Traumatic Brain Injuries,” Justin Caba, Oct. 26, 2013

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