Bicycle helmets are not an accessory; they are a necessity, and adults should wear them too, not only as an example to young riders, but because of the protection helmets provide.
Ray Weick, MD, a Family Practice specialist for Mercy Clinic, speaks from personal experience about the importance of bicycle helmets and safety.
“I had a bicycle accident a couple of years ago and my helmet saved me from some nasty trauma,” Weick said. “Riding bicycles together is a terrific family activity, and safety should be the first consideration. Children and their parents should wear a helmet every time and everywhere they ride.”
Parents need to make sure that the helmets their children are wearing are the appropriate size and fit.
“Making sure the helmet fits correctly is as important as wearing it,” Dr. Weick said. “As children grow the helmet they had last year may not be the right one for them this year. We encourage families to get outside and enjoy fresh air and activity, but we want to make sure we are doing it safely.”
While supplies last, free bicycle helmets will be distributed to children who visit the MercyKids Health and Safety Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, at Mercy Hospital Jefferson. Organized by the Woman Child Center at Mercy Jefferson, all of the activities and opportunities are free throughout the day. Twin City Optimist Club members will make sure the kids’ new bike helmets are properly fitted.
The properly fitted helmet should be comfortable and snug, but not too tight. It should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock forward and backward or from side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled. It is also important that helmets meet or exceed national safety standards.
The statistics are overwhelming in support of helmet use as the most important line of defense in bicycle safety. About 900 Americans die annually as a result of bicycle accidents and up to 80 percent of those are due to head injuries.
Helmets and other protective equipment, such as knee pads, elbow pads and wrist protection are strongly recommended when inline skating, riding scooters and skateboarding.
In addition to many MercyKids attendance prizes, participants may be able to take home free books and gently used clothing for free while supplies last.
For more information call 636-933-1395.