Parents: Use Your Head When It Comes to Helmets
by. Dr. Alison D. Ziari
September 01, 2017
A recent report shared some numbers that’ll make your head hurt:
More than 1,000: Children sent to U.S. hospital emergency rooms every day in 2015 because of injuries caused by bicycling, skateboarding, skating or scootering.
40: percent increase in scooter-related injuries over the previous year.
20: percent of the scooter accidents producing head injuries.
40: percent of parents who say their children don’t always wear helmets when riding.
Nearly 50: percent of parents who acknowledged they or the other parent don’t always make their children wear helmets while riding a scooter.
25: percent of parents say they give in to their children if they think wearing a helmet in uncomfortable, or uncool.
There’s more frightening data in “Ready for the Ride: Keeping Kids Safe on Wheels,” a new study by Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide Insurance’s Make Safe Happen program. One example: many of these ER visits are due to fractures and serious contusions and abrasions to knees and elbows, yet fewer than 40 percent of parents said their kids wear knee or elbow pads.
For any parent, a sudden ER trip can be harrowing. It can also be quite costly and time-consuming for weeks or months when considering follow-up doctor visits and, for very serious injuries, rehabilitation appointments.
Most harrowing of all is a head injury. The news has been filled recently with stories about children risking concussions while playing football with helmets on. Imagine your child’s head hitting concrete without a helmet.
Properly-fitted helmets that stay snug in case of an accident are a must – for children’s and parents’ noggins. Perhaps the best way to overcome a child’s reluctance to wear a helmet is for a parent to wear one, too, while riding, scootering and skating.
Helmets are cheap – especially compared to a potential ER visit. Why not have one for every member of the family?
Think about it this way. You wouldn’t let your child decide whether or not to wear a seat belt in the car. Don’t let them risk their brains when on wheels.
Alison D. Ziari, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician at Austin Regional Clinic – Wilson Parke, near FM 620 north of Steiner Ranch and chief of ARC Pediatrics.