Regardless of the number of wheels they have, children love to play with things that move. From the time they can walk, they’re pushing around a stroller. Once they grow into their walking legs, they graduate to a big wheel. Once in school, it’s rollerblades, skateboards, scooters and finally a bicycle.
In 2010, more than 800 children were treated in the Soin Pediatric Trauma and Emergency Center at Dayton Children’s for injuries suffered on nonmotorized wheeled vehicles including bikes, scooters, skateboards, Big Wheels and rollerblades.
As a pediatric neurosurgeon at Dayton Children’s, I know that a helmet is one of the most important tools we have to help prevent brain injuries to kids.
Helmets could prevent an estimated 85 percent of severe head injuries and up to 45,000 head injuries to children who ride bikes each year.
As your child takes to the road, make sure they have a properly fitted helmet. Here are some things to look for:
- CSA, ASTM, CPSC or SNELL label must be attached inside the helmet
- The pads touch the child in the front, back, sides and top of his or her head
- The helmet sits level, about two fingers above eyebrows
- The chin straps are snug and meet just below the ears
- Eyes and ears aren’t blocked
The most important thing to do when sizing and fitting a helmet is to explain each step to the child so that they can learn how to do it for themselves. Teaching children about helmet use early and wearing one yourself will set a good example for your child to follow in the future. Together, with our partners at Kohl’s Cares, we can keep kids safe at play!
Laurence Kleiner, MD, is director of the department of neurosurgery at Dayton Children’s. Dr. Kleiner received his medical degree from Temple University. He completed his fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery/CFS physiology at Brown University School of Medicine. His specialty interests include brain tumors and endoscopy with hydrocephalus.