SEATTLE — Bike accidents are the second leading cause of serious injury in school-age children and head injuries are the leading cause of bicycle-related death and disability. Wearing a helmet can prevent about 85% of head injuries from bike crashes. A serious head or brain injury can be a very complex one to recover from and can impact children for the rest of their lives.
Many kids either don’t have a helmet or won't wear one, despite it being required by law in Seattle, Tacoma, Bremerton and many other Washington cities.
Parents play a huge part in bike safety, and the number one thing they can do is be a good example by wearing a bike helmet on every ride. They also need to set specific rules about where their kids can ride, and make sure they know how to ride safely. You should always ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic. It’s important to get your child in the habit of wearing a helmet by starting when they are young and teach them to take it off before playing at the playground or climbing on equipment or trees. Helmet straps can get caught on poles and branches and may cause strangulation.
It ’s necessary for the helmet to be a good fit on your child’s head, it won’t protect their head if it doesn't fit right. You can make sure the helmet is the right fit with a three-point check.
- Eyes: Helmet sits level on the head and rests low on the forehead, one or two finger widths above the eyebrows. A helmet pushed up too high will not protect the face or head well in a fall or crash.
- Ears: The straps are even, form a “Y” under each earlobe, and lay flat against the head.
- Mouth: The buckled chin strap is loose enough so that your child can breathe. There should be enough room so you can insert a finger between the buckle and chin. It should be tight enough that if your child opens their mouth, you can see the helmet pull down on top.
Seattle Children's hosts the Kohl's Helmet Safety Program, which provides free helmets and fittings for children all over Washington State. The program helps ensure bike helmet safety is being communicated to children and parents alike and that kids who may not have a helmet can now ride their bikes safely. The next event is:
Date: Sunday, July 15, 2018
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Redmond Kohl’s Store, 17601 NE Union Hill Rd., Redmond, WA 98052
More about the event: Join us at the Redmond Kohl’s Store to receive a properly fit helmet for your child.
Thank you to speech pathologist Eboli Giannini from Seattle Children's, who volunteers for their helmet fitting and giveaway events and 10-year-old Josie Kryman for talking with us about bike safety.