Out of 515,000 annual bicycle accidents that land people in U.S. emergency rooms, 150,000 kids have some type of brain injury. Those injuries can be alleviated by making sure your child has the proper helmet…and if you’re thinking about a new bike for Christmas, don’t forget the helmet.
I sat down with Dr. Samuel Herrera, who is one of the Covenant Children’s Emergency Room doctors, and we talked about how popular bikes are as gifts for Christmas for kids. But that the more important item you need to think about is the helmet to protect the child’s head.
Here are some of the points that Dr. Herrera pointed out. “Studies have shown that with helmets, head injuries alone can be reduced by 45% by just wearing a helmet alone. Severe brain injuries can be lowered down to about 33% so it’s worth investing in a helmet. The impact alone will help absorb plenty of the impact and distribute it across the helmet protecting the brain and the skull and the scalp as well.”
One of the biggest points Dr. Herrera made is that even though we want to surprise our children at Christmas, it’s very important to take the child with you to look at bikes and helmets to get the correct size.
Dr. Herrera says, “You want the child to actually get on the bike, put his hands on the handlebars and sit and actually hold himself upright on the bike. The first thing you want to do when you get a helmet, you want to measure the child’s head, the circumference, then they can space you out and you can see what type of helmet you want to get.
“You want it to be nice and snug, the front of the helmet you want it to be horizontal to the ground. You don’t want it tilted to the back or the front, you want it nice and snug so it doesn’t shift. You want the strap tight with two fingers between it underneath the chin. You also want the brim to be two finger widths between the brow of the forehead and the eyebrows as well.”
Lastly, don’t purchase helmets from yard sales…they do expire. Also don’t share from one child to another. “most manufactures ask that you to replace the helmet every five years. Because usually the material that the helmet is made of is made to decompose and it loses its integrity, so it tends to not be as durable.”