To the Editor:
A couple of days ago, I took a drive to the video store with my three children, ages 8, 5 and 2. During the drive, the number of people I saw riding bikes, without wearing helmets shocked me. My five-year-old regularly comments on every bicyclist he sees with no helmet. He doesn't understand why anyone would not wear a helmet while riding a bike.
I introduced my children to helmets as soon as they could ride a bike. In fact, my 2-year-old wants to wear a helmet on her big wheel, because she sees her brother and sister wearing them. Our rule for bikes and helmets is the same as vehicles and seatbelts. If you are in a vehicle and it is moving, you wear a seatbelt; if you're on a bike and it's moving, then you are wearing a helmet!
It was especially saddening to see families riding bikes together, and none of them wearing helmets. The only reason I can imagine that parents don't insist that their children wear bike helmets is that they are unaware of the high number of people who are injured and killed each year in bike-related accidents, especially children. According to the National Safety Bicycle Network, bicycle-related head injuries account for about:
- 500 deaths per year
- 17,000 hospitalizations
- 153,000 emergency department visits
The highest death rate occurs in children ages 5-l5 years!
Children learn by example. Parents should not only insist their children were a bike helmet, but also be a good role model and wear one themselves!
Denise L. Bagley,