- March 4, 2012
- Jennifer Salerno
RAAPS Question #5 Helmet Use
Biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, and riding scooters are all great ways for children and adolescents to get exercise. In order ride safely, they need to wear protective equipment, particularly helmets, but studies show that a majority of children and adolescents are not wearing helmets when engaging in these activities. According to RAAPS data, 73.3% of youth reported riding, but only 13.8% of these riders reported always wearing a helmet. Often, the reason given is that “helmets are not cool” or that they are “uncomfortable”.
It has been estimated that a bicycle helmet could prevent 75% of fatal head injuries among child bicyclists. Other data estimates that the universal use of helmets by children ages 4 to 15 could prevent between 135 and 155 deaths, between 39,000 and 45,000 head injuries, and between 18,000 and 55,000 scalp and face injuries each year. In states that pass mandatory bicycle helmet laws for children ages 13 years and under, bicycle related fatalities decreased by 60% within five years.
Help children and adolescents understand the importance of wearing helmets. To overcome some of the barriers to wearing helmets they should be fitted appropriately. In addition, teens can add their own style to their helmet by decorating it with stickers and decals.