A US paediatrician has taken to social media in the hopes that she can shock some sense into the 20 percent of parents who are allowing their kids to ride bikes helmet-free.
Helmets save lives
Dr Free N Hess is the founder of website PediMom and she’s giving mums and dads some cold, hard facts about the injuries their child might sustain if they forgo a helmet.
“I see children in my Pediatric ER for head trauma after falling from a bike very often,” Free writes on Facebook.
“Some of these children are struck by cars but many sustain head injuries simply from losing control of their bikes while riding. Helmets in this situation can make the difference between a simple concussion and severe neurological injury and even death.”
Free then went on to share some stats about the uptake of bike helmet-wearing in kids and she’s gobsmacked – as we are.
“A recent poll conducted by The University of Michigan showed that 18 percent of parents admit their children don’t wear helmets,” Free wrote, citing the research which was published last week. “That’s 1 in 5. This does not make sense to me.”
Many parents see helmets as optional
She’s absolutely correct. In fact, this study found that “even more [parents] say their kids skip helmets on a skateboard (58 percent) and scooter (61 percent).”
Free cited her own experience treating children who are hurt while riding their bikes or doing other activities where the risk of falling is high.
“Take a look at the helmet below,” she posted alongside an image of a pretty pulverised bike helmet. “Imagine this blow being taken by a child’s head WITHOUT the protection of a helmet.”
I see children in my Pediatric ER for head trauma after falling from a bike very often. Some of these children are…
“If you or a child is riding a bike, skateboard, ice skates, roller skates, hover boards, scooter, or anything else that has a risk of head trauma you need to have a helmet on. EVERY TIME. Set a good example and make sure you always wear one too.”
“Your kids need you just as much as you need them!” a concerned Free reminded parents.
Push bike push-back
What might seem like a no-brainer (no pun intended) is far from that locally.
In Australia, bike-riders are still hotly debating the wisdom of bike helmet laws. While some are absolutely pro-helmet, others want to be able to ride on footpaths and bike paths without them. Others still think that riders should make their own choices about this protective headgear.
But the statistics on how bike helmets improve safety appear to speak for themselves.
“Cycling fatalities in Australia have almost halved since mandatory helmet laws were introduced in the 1990s, new research from the University of NSW shows,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported earlier this year.