Children and bicycle helmets

Dr. Vic Weatherall
Updated December 2014

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics1:

Bicycling remains one of the most popular recreational sports among children in America and is the leading cause of recreational sports injuries treated in emergency departments. An estimated 23,000 children younger than 21 years sustained head injuries (excluding the face) while bicycling in 1998.

The bicycle helmet is a very effective device that can prevent the occurrence of up to 88% of serious brain injuries. Despite this, most children do not wear a helmet each time they ride a bicycle, and adolescents are particularly resistant to helmet use.

Children and bicycle helmets go hand in hand. Helmets are an essential for safe biking. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to get your children to wear their helmets consistently2:

  • Establish the helmet habit early, starting from the tricycle or when they are riding on your bike.
  • Let them choose their own helmet. They are much more likely to wear one that is comfortable and looks good.
  • Wear a helmet yourself—you are the most important example.
  • Tell your children why you want them to protect their heads—brain injuries can be life altering for everyone.
  • Tell them that all of the pros and required to do it—they look pretty cool doing it too.
  • Reward your children for wearing their helmets, especially when they don’t have to be reminded.
  • Don’t let children ride their bikes unless they wear their helmets—be consistent.
  • Encourage your children’s friends to wear helmets—get everyone on board.
  • Fit your child’s helmet properly—it should be worn squarely on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead. It shouldn’t tip backward. The helmet fits well if it doesn’t move around on the head or slide down over the eyes when pushed or pulled. Adjust the chin strap to fit snugly.

Contact Dr. Weatherall if you have any questions or to see if he can help you with a problem.

References

  1. Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention, Policy Statement: Bicycle Helmets. American Academy of Pediatrics. PEDIATRICS Vol. 108 No. 4 October 2001, pp. 1030-1032. Reaffirmed November 2011.
  2. How To Get Your Child To Wear a Bicycle Helmet. American Academy of Pediatrics.