Did you know that a child’s skull is only 1cm thick? That’s less than the width of your average pen, which really puts into perspective how fragile a child’s head is. A child’s skull can be easily fractured by an impact sustained at low speeds of seven to 10 kilometers an hour. Kids on bicycles usually reach these speeds and greater, which is why wearing a helmet is so vital.
Here are a couple more quick facts:
- According to Transport Canada, in 2007 alone, more than 1,000 children under the age of 15 were injured while riding their bikes.
- Traumatic brain injuries account for eight per cent of emergency room visits by cyclists, four per cent of visits by skateboarders and in-line skaters and six per cent of emergency room visits for injuries related to scooter riding in children under 19, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 per cent.
Wearing a helmet is the most important line of defense against the leading cause of serious injury and death to kids on wheels. Safe Kids Canada has come up with the following five tips to help parents protect their child’s head this summer:
- Ensure your children wear a helmet every time they ride.
- Get the right kind of helmet. Choose a bicycle helmet for cycling, in-line skating and scootering. Skateboarders need a special skateboarding helmet that covers more of the back of their head.
- Ensure the helmet fits your child. The helmet should rest two finger widths above the eyebrow. The side and chin straps should be snug.
- People of all ages should wear a helmet when they ride. Remember: You are your child’s best role model.
- Children under 10 should not ride on the road. They do not have the physical and thinking skills to handle themselves safely in traffic. Children over 10 need to practice before they can ride on the road.
For more information, parents can go to www.safekidscanada.ca and download then free Got Wheels? Get a Helmet! brochure (pdf) on helmet safety.