Don’t Forget to Add Safety Gear to Bicycle, Scooter or Skateboard Gift
December 23, 2011 -- (San Diego County) -- Give your child the joy of opening an additional holiday present and give yourself peace of mind if you get them a bike, skateboard or scooter. The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Rady Children’s Hospital and Racers and Chasers are teaming up to remind people that those gifts need to be accompanied by a properly-fitted helmet, as well as wrist guards and elbow and knee pads if it’s a skateboard.
“Riding a bike, skateboard, or scooter are great ways for kids to get exercise and encourages them to choose healthy, physical activities over things like video games and television,” said Nick Macchione, HHSA Director. “ But it's important to keep safety in mind at all times and a proper helmet should be essential equipment for riders of any age."
“During the past year, 222 children under the age of 15 were injured riding their bikes, scooter or skateboards in San Diego County,” said County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H. “It’s estimated that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by approximately 85 to 90 percent.”
Even though California law requires all people under the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, non-motorized scooter, skateboard or in-line skates, of the 222 injured in the past year, only 27 percent of bicyclists, 18 percent of skateboarders and 15 percent of scooter riders were wearing helmets at the time of their injury.
“Head injuries have potentially the most severe consequences in the both the short and long term,” said Sue Cox, Director of Trauma Services for Rady Children’s Hospital. “According to HHSA, medics noted traumatic injuries to the head or neck in more than half the patients that were not wearing helmets at the time of their injuries.”
It’s important to remember that the safety equipment should be the proper safety equipment.
“We encourage all bicyclists, regardless of age, to wear helmets,” said Robert Herber from Racers and Chasers, a local bicycling organization. “A bicycling helmet is different from a skateboarding helmet, and you should always make sure the helmet fits properly.”
A bicycling helmet is designed to take extreme force from one object, such as a vehicle, and is designed to protect the top and upper part of the forehead and back of the head. Skateboarding helmets are designed to protect the back of the head and take multiple smaller blows but aren’t sturdy enough to withstand a major impact collision.
Any helmet should be labeled to indicate that it meets the standards set by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. For more information about injuries in children, see the County website at www.sdhealthstatistics.com.