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Kids on wheels: Helmet use will help keep them out of the ER, experts say

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Photo: Safe Kids Worldwide

Washington – Nearly 50 children visited an emergency room every hour in 2015 because of injuries incurred while riding bicycles, scooters, roller skating or skateboarding, according to a recent report from Safe Kids Worldwide.

Researchers surveyed 1,600 parents of children ages 5 to 14. About 40 percent of parents reported that their child does not always wear a helmet while participating in wheeled-sports activities, and parents were more likely to always make younger children (5 to 9 years old) wear helmets than older kids (10 to 14 years old). In addition, 2 out of 5 parents said their child had been injured while on four wheels.

Other findings:

  • Among parents who responded that they always wear helmets when bicycling, 86 percent said their child follows suit.
  • Among parents who responded that they never wear helmets when bicycling, 38 percent said their child always does.
  • 47 percent of parents whose children do not always wear helmets do not perceive the helmet as needed; 27 percent said the child finds the helmet uncomfortable.

More than 426,000 children visited emergency rooms for wheeled-sports-related injuries in 2015, the report states. Head injuries accounted for 13 percent of emergency visits for bicycling, 12 percent for scooter riding, 11 percent for skateboarding and 5 percent for skating.

“We know that kids follow their parents lead, and if they see their parents wearing their helmets, it’s much more likely they’ll do so as well,” Torine Creppy, interim president at Safe Kids Worldwide, said in a press release. “And just making sure that kids have a comfortable, properly fitted helmet will do wonders to keep that helmet in place and give kids a safe ride.”

Safe Kids recommends that all riders wear properly fitted helmets, and advises the use of knee and elbow pads for scooters, skaters and skateboarders. Skaters and skateboarders also are advised to use wrist guards. Riders also should stay on sidewalks, bike paths or bike lanes when possible and follow the rules of the road.

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