By Tracy J. Mehan, MA
Bicycles are an important part of Although injuries to the head are ways.
American life. Many adults have not the most common injuries, in • Remove your helmet before
fond memories of riding their bikes just one year of the study there climbing on playground equip-
in the carefree days of youth. They were over 40,000 head injuries. ment or trees.
are also a healthy source of exer- This means that more than 100
cise, transportation and recreation children are being treated each day For parents, also keep in mind:
for people of all ages—and they for bicycle-related head injuries. • Children younger than 10 should
have not lost their appeal. Accord- This statistic is a major concern ride on a sidewalk or bike path
ing to bicycle industry reports, given the serious nature of this instead of in the street.
more bicycles are being sold per type of injury. • Infants younger than one year
year in the U.S. than new cars. should not be passengers on
Children who sustain injuries to the bicycles. Their neck muscles
Unfortunately, they do come with head are more than three times as may not be strong enough to
some risk. More than 389,000 likely to require hospitalization and control head movement dur-
children 18 years and younger are almost six times more likely to have ing a sudden stop or to hold
treated in U.S. emergency depart- their injuries result in death than up their heads while they are
ments for bicycle-related injuries patients with injuries to other parts wearing a helmet. Remember
each year. of the body. Other studies have ALL passengers on bicycles
shown that helmets can reduce the need to wear a helmet—even if
A study conducted by researchers risk of head injury by up to 85%, they are in a seat attached to
at the Center for Injury Research so it is important to wear a helmet the back.
and Policy of The Research Institute every time you are on a bicycle.
of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Tracy Mehan is the Manager of
looked at bicycle injuries seen in This research shows that injuries the Translational Research team
U.S. emergency departments from can, and do, occur. To help keep at the Center for Injury Research
1990 to 2005. While the number your children safe while bike riding, and Policy of The Research Institute
of injuries decreased slight