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Kids Speak Out on Bike Helmets



Credits


Sources

American Automobile Association

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Contents

What if You Crash

Why Wear a Helmet

Encouraging Others to Wear One

Help Save Lives


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Health, Safety, Nutrition and Kids


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Back To School Safety Alert: CPSC Urges Bicyclists to Wear Helmets

Child Health Guide: Safety



Kids all across the country have opinions about bike helmets. Some kids wear them. Others don't. And many kids have ideas on how to get others to wear bike helmets more often.

We asked 282 kids, ages 8 to 13, from schools in Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma, Ohio, New Mexico, New York, Nebraska, and Washington, just what they thought about bike helmets.

Look what they had to say!

What Could Happen If You Were Had a Bike Crash and Weren't Wearing a Helmet?

  • "You could be paralyzed, killed, or you could suffer damage."
  • "You could bust your head open on the sidewalk or a rock."
  • "You could go into a coma."
  • "You could break your neck or crack your head."
  • "You could have serious brain damage and you might have to learn all you know over again."

FACTS

You may think you're a pretty good biker, but crashes happen all the time to very good riders. In fact:

  • Wearing a bike helmet is the single most important thing you can do to protect your brain - and your life - when you ride your bike.
  • Children between ages 5 and 14 have the highest rate of injury of all bicycle riders.
  • Each year, more than 500,000 children go to hospital emergency rooms or doctors' offices due to bicycle injuries.
  • More than half of these collisions happen on neighborhood streets, sidewalks, or playgrounds.
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Why Do You Wear a Bike Helmet?

  • "I wear a helmet because I had an accident and I was wearing a helmet and my head felt fine."
  • "Because it looks cool and it keeps my head safe."
  • "Because I don't want to hurt my head like my cousin (who almost died in a bike accident)."
  • "I wear my helmet most of the time because there is law about helmets."
  • "I wear my helmet all the time because 1) my parents make me and 2) I don't want to get any head injuries."
  • "You should always wear them because they keep you and your brain safe."

FACTS

Nationally, only about 15 percent of all kids wear bike helmets. In this AAA survey of school children, here's how often kids wore bike helmets:

Always or most of the time .......................... 43%
Occasionally ........................................ 11%
Seldom or never ..................................... 44%
No answer ........................................... 2%

Helmet usage of the surveyed kids is better than the national average. Even so, more than half of the children surveyed don't wear bike helmets most of the time. This means lots of these kids could be injured riding bikes.

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What Would Get Your Best Friend to Wear a Bike Helmet More Often?

  • "You could make a commercial with a famous person wearing a helmet and kids could use them as role modes."
  • "Put baseball, football and race driver numbers and names on helmets.
  • "Show pros wearing helmets and being cool."
  • "Put extra padding inside of it to make it more comfortable."
  • "Put little compartments on the helmets"
  • "Make helmets for girls with ponytails."
  • "You could have a bike-a-thon to encourage kids to wear helmets."
  • "If you wear one, you get a free pizza.
  • "Tell them it's the law and if they don't they will have to eat spinach."
  • "Have kids who wouldn't wear helmets and got in serious collisions go and talk to other kids who won't wear helmets."
  • "Tell them to watch the hazards on the news of kids who don't wear a helmet."
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What You Can Do To Help Save Lives

  • Always wear your bike helmet - and make sure your brothers and sisters do, too.
  • Make a deal with your best friend to always wear your helmets when you ride together.
  • Talk to your parents or teachers to help organize projects with your school, safety patrol, Scout troop, religious organization, or other group that will encourage kids to wear bike helmets.
  • Ask local businesses to sell bikes only with bike helmets or set up bike-helmet giveaway or discount-coupon programs.

Ten tips for safe bike riding:

  1. Always wear a bike helmet.
  2. Stop and check traffic before riding into a street.
  3. Don't ride at night.
  4. Obey traffic signs and signals.
  5. Ride on the right-hand side of the street.
  6. Check your brakes before riding.
  7. Give cars and pedestrians the right-of-way.
  8. Wear light or bright-colored clothing so that motorists can see you.
  9. Be extra careful turning left - motorists don't expect it.
  10. Avoid broken pavement, loose gravel and leaves - which can cause you to lose control of your bike.
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Special Thanks

  • To all the kids who completed the bike helmet surveys at Oakhurst Elementary School in Largo, FL; St Anne's in Seattle, WA; Fillmore Elementary School in Oklahoma City, OK; Holy Trinity in Ligonier, PA; Monessen Elementary Center in Monessen, PA; Smith Elementary School in Akron, OH; North Elementary School in Lancaster, OH; Holy Name School in Omaha, NE; Collet Part Elementary School in Albuquerque, NM; and Signal Hill Elementary School in Huntington, NY.

  • To the following AAA Clubs: Akron Auto Club, Fairfield County Auto Club, Auto Club of New York, Auto Club South, AAA Washington, AAA Nebraska, AAA New Mexico, AAA Oklahoma, and AAA West Penn/West Virginia.

For more information:

Contact your AAA Club Traffic Safety Office for information and availability of additional bicycle and other traffic safety materials.

Call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's toll-free hotline at 1-800--638-CPSC for information about bicycles and other consumer products.

Credits

American Automobile Association in Cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Washington DC 20207
CPSC DOCUMENT #4345

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