Bike Injuries

Warm weather and outsides activities increase in these warm days and nights.

Kids are riding their bikes and looking at the water for their first dip. Both of these activities are wonderful exercise and fun. As a health professional and a safety activist, I can see another side of the story. Injuries spoil many playtime sports and games. Fortunately, most serious injuries can be prevented. If an injury occurs, the severity can be decreased by proper anticipation.

Anyone can get hurt. A helmet protects against more than broken bones. The facts are:

Head injuries are more than scrapes, bruises, fractures or concussions. Head injuries can effect the brain and ability to reason, hear, see, understand and relate to other people. The damage can be temporary or permanent. The injury can lead to death. The injured person can suffer memory loss, problems with reading, inability to concentrate, mood swings, or impulsive, uncontrollable behavior.

How easy is it to injure the head without a helmet?

A fall from two feet above the ground can cause a serious head injury. Falls from a tricycle, bicycle, unicycle can easily cause an injury to the brain. Over 500,000 adults and children are treated for bicycle-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms each year. One third of those seen are treated for head injuries. These head injuries could be reduced by 85% if approved bicycle helmets were used.

It won’t happen to my child or me!

Most bike mishaps happen within one mile of home. 75% of bike injuries involve injury to the head. Most injuries on bicycles do not involve a crash with a car but are the result of riding out of control. Falls are the result of riding too fast, showing off or hitting road hazards. Helmets are effective safeguards to protect the head.

Which helmet should I buy? Look for an ANSI or SNELL standard emblem on the helmet.

Don’t forget to check. You need in insure a correct fit.

How to get your child to wear the helmet?

· let them pick it out

· always insist they wear it

· when you ride together wear your helmet

· praise your child when they wear it

· begin using a helmet from their first bicycle

· encourage other kids to wear their helmet

Why use a bicycle helmet?

Bicycle injuries are a more common cause of death in children than accidental poisoning or falls. More than 75% of bike-related deaths involve head injuries. Over 1300 children and adults die each year; the majority of the serious injuries involve injury to the head. Bicycle injuries are the most common cause of head and neck injuries in children, and head injuries account for the majority of deaths in bicycle accidents.

Adults are very much at risk for head injuries too.

Adults need to set the proper example for children and adolescents. The U.S. Cycling Federation and the Fresno Cycling Club require helmets in all competitive racing events. Many cycling clubs require their members to use proper helmets in all their events and training. These same organizations along with many professional health organizations like Children’s Hospital and the Fresno-Madera Medical Society are trying to educate adults and children about the importance of helmet use.

If a helmet is used, a child, adolescent, or adult can

reduce their chances of death or disability by 85%; at least, the severity of the injury will be greatly lessened.