Summer’s here and kids have taken to the streets and parks on their bikes. Parents know we should make our kids wear helmets, but they look so funny and we got along mostly fine without them in our day, didn’t we?
Yes, the helmets are funny looking, but statistics don’t lie. Seattle Children’s Hospital reports that bicycle accidents are the second leading cause of serious injury in school-age children and helmets can cut these risks by a whopping 85%.
Crashes with Cars
It may be surprising to know that most of kids’ bike accidents happen when they collide with vehicles. Parents may be lulled into thinking their kids are okay without helmets if they stay on the side roads close to home, or on the way to the park. Sadly, most of the bike/car accidents happen within a mile from home. These accidents are not typically at major intersections or busy streets – the majority of all fatalities happen when kids ride bikes on minor roads.
About 75% of bike/car fatalities don’t happen at intersections. Safe Kids USA explains how many of these accidents happen. “Among children ages 14 and under, more than 80 percent of bicycle-related fatalities are associated with the bicyclist’s behavior, including riding into a street without stopping, turning left or swerving into traffic that is coming from behind, running a stop sign, and riding against the flow of traffic.”
Helmets Just as Important for Older Kids
Children from the ages of 11 to 14 wear helmets the least. This sadly dovetails with the statistic that children aged 10 to 14 are more likely to incur a traumatic brain injury from a bike accident than younger children. Experts speculate this is because of the lower use of helmets at that age.
Knowing these facts may help parents confidently tighten those bike helmets this summer, and easily assure your kids, “Yes, you DO have to wear them.”