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Sick Kids study shows bicycle helmet legislation leads to fewer bicycle-related head injuries in children

Consumer Product Safety Commission's Ten Tips for Safe Biking.

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Reminder from CPSC about the importance of wearing a helmet.

Sick Kids study shows bicycle helmet legislation leads to fewer bicycle-related head injuries in children

TORONTO - Research at The Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) and the University of Toronto (U of T) has shown that provinces which have adopted mandatory bicycle helmet legislation have had a significant reduction in the number of bicycle-related head injuries in children. This research is reported in the November issue of the scientific journal Pediatrics.

The study looked at data on the 9,650 Canadian children (five to 19 years of age) hospitalized for bicycle-related injuries from 1994 to 1998. The results indicate that the bicycle-related head injury rate declined significantly (45 per cent reduction) in provinces where legislation had been adopted compared to provinces and territories that did not adopt legislation (27 per cent reduction).

"It was already known that bicycle helmet legislation is a successful strategy for the adoption of helmets, but the effect on the rates of head injuries was unknown. This research shows that helmet legislation is an effective tool in the prevention of childhood bicycle-related head injuries," said Alison Macpherson, the study's lead author, a U of T graduate student and a research fellow in HSC's Department of Paediatric Medicine.

"Head injuries have devastating results and sometimes even minor head injuries have long-term consequences. As parents and as a community we want to do everything we can to protect our children. Provinces that haven't adopted legislation need to revisit this issue," added Macpherson, a recipient of an Emergency Health Services Fellowship from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

In Canada, five provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) have adopted bicycle helmet legislation.

"Safe Kids Canada supports bicycle helmet legislation as a proven strategy, in conjunction with sustained education and enforcement programs, to prevent head injuries and deaths. We also support the need to provide safe environments for cyclists, such as the development of bike paths and designated lanes, along with traffic calming measures, as an important means of protecting cyclists from motor vehicle traffic," said Rita Mezei, Public Policy and Advocacy specialist at Safe Kids Canada.

NOTE:  www.hotelfun4kids.com is proud to be a Safety Partner with Safe Kids Canada.

Ten tips for safe bike riding from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

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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Health Canada provides the following guidelines for Helmet Safety:

Bike injuries can happen anywhere, anytime. Stay alert!

  • A helmet must fit correctly to protect your head.
  • Replace helmets at the first sign of damage. Second-hand bicycle helmets should not be used. Even a tiny crack makes it useless.
  • Teach children how to adjust their helmets to fit snugly.
  • No baseball caps, please. Helmets protect less if worn over a hat or bandana.
  • Look for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) label inside the helmet.
  • Make it a house rule - "Use a helmet for every trip!"
  • Teach your kids the "rules of the road".
  • Keep approved helmets near bikes and trikes so your children will always put them on.
  • Set an example. Wear your helmet every time you ride!
  • Small child? Small bike! Make sure it fits.

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CPSC Reminds Bicyclists to "Use Your Head by Wearing a Helmet"

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been reporting for years that wearing a helmet while riding a bike can save your life. Cole Kertz, an 8-year-old from Bloomington, Ill., can now vouch for this first-hand. Doctors tell him if he had not been wearing his helmet, he would have died last summer when he crashed into a pole while riding his bike. Even with the helmet, he suffered a severely broken jaw, which had to be wired shut to heal.

Cole is better now and using his experience to spread the word about how important bike helmets can be. "Some of the other kids at school didn't used to wear helmets," said Cole. But after his return to school last fall with the injury still healing, and after hearing the story of how his helmet saved him, Cole thinks it has convinced his friends to always wear a helmet. "I guess they thought, 'I don't want to die.' "

"Each year, about 900 bicyclists do die, and more than a half- million bike riders are injured seriously enough to go to hospital emergency rooms," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Use your head by wearing a helmet, like Cole did. It can not only reduce the severity of head injuries suffered by bicyclists, it can save your life."

According to a survey released in 1999 by CPSC and the McDonald's Corp., only about 50 percent of bicycle riders in the U.S. regularly wear bike helmets. Of the estimated 80 million bike riders, 43 percent never wear a helmet and 7 percent wear helmets less than half the time.

CPSC is participating in a national strategy to make it safer for bicycle riders to use the nation's roads by, in part, promoting bike safety and helmet use. The strategy, entitled the National Strategies for Advancing Bicycle Safety, was prepared by a coalition of representatives from more than 60 groups, including CPSC, other federal and state agencies, professional and non-profit groups, and bicycling advocacy organizations. For more information, go to www.cdc.gov/ncipc/bike.


According to the CPSC, not only do bicyclists of all ages need to always wear helmets when biking, they also need to make sure their helmet fits properly. Helmets should be worn low on the forehead, about two finger widths above the eyebrows. They should sit evenly between the ears and flat on the head. Tighten the chin straps and adjust the pads inside so the helmet feels snug and secure, and doesn't move up and down or from side to side.

When purchasing a new helmet, bicyclists should make sure it meets the current safety standard issued by CPSC. The standard ensures that helmets provide excellent head protection and that the chin straps are strong enough to keep a helmet on the head and in place during a fall or collision. Look for a label inside the helmet which states it is certified to comply with CPSC's standard.

For more tips on bicycle safety and information on recalls involving bicycles and bike helmets, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638- 2772, or go to CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov.

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For more safety information about Bike Helmets on Playgrounds see Dangers of Bike Helmet on Playgrounds.

For Bike Safety Tips Click Below:

click here for Bike Safety Tips

Also See:

AAA Reminds Motorists To Be Aware of Bicyclists

Click here for recall notice for helmets

Dangers of Bike Helmet on Playgrounds 

Tips From Canadian Tire for Outfitting your Child with the Right Bike and Accessories

Tips From Safe Kids Canada to Encourage Children to Wear Helmets

For Biking Products including Helmets go to 

 Canadian Tire

See the following sections for other travel news about safety:

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Click here to view playground safety news, bike helmets

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