Whether they’re skateboarding, hoverboarding or bicycling, studies show helmets can keep kids safe and out of the emergency department. “More kids are seen in the ER between the ages of 5-15 for bike injuries than any other sport,” said Sally Kreuscher, a child advocacy program coordinator with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Any time a child under the age of 16 is on a bicycle Florida law requires them to wear a helmet. “Teach kids responsible riding behaviors. You ride with traffic, be aware of your surroundings, cross the street at the intersection, wear bright clothing, wear reflecting lights when biking in the front and in the back,” said Kreuscher.
Studies show, when worn properly, helmets can reduce a child’s risk of a severe brain injury by 88 percent. To find out if a child is wearing the helmet correctly, parents can do a helmet fit test. “Two fingers above the eyebrows, that’s where the helmet starts, on the ears, a “y” or “v” under their ears, and then it’s nice and snug,” she explained.
It’s also important to make sure the child’s bike is well maintained and is the correct bike for their age. “We’re in Florida. Biking is a great, healthy activity for families to do and we just want to make sure kids are safe, and they don’t come into the hospital for something that could be prevented,” Kreuscher said.
As the child grows, make sure their helmet continues to fit properly. If a child needs a helmet, contact the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.