Helmets Work: The Trick Is Getting Your Child To Wear One

By: News Canada

(NC)-Bikes, scooters, skateboards and in-line skates are popular with Canadian children. But it's important to stay safe, stresses Safe Kids Canada.

Head injuries are the number one cause of serious injury and death to kids on wheels, says Amy Zierler, information specialist at Safe Kids Canada. "The good news is that a correctly worn helmet cuts the risk of serious head or brain injury by as much as 88 per cent."

In Canada, only half of children wear helmets while riding a bike, even though bike helmet legislation exists in five provinces.

"The best way to get your children to wear helmets is to start early and get them involved in the process," says Ms Zierler. She recommends these tips to help your child get into the helmet habit:

  1. Start early.

    Begin the helmet habit with the child's very first set of wheels (e.g. tricycle).

  2. Take your child shopping. Let your child pick out the helmet he or she likes. Bike helmets are suitable for bikes, scooters and in-line skates; skateboarders need special skateboarding helmets that cover more of the back of the head.

  3. Fit counts. A properly fitted helmet protects your child's head better, and it's more comfortable for him or her. Try them on in the store.

  4. Explain. Tell your child how a helmet protects his or her head and brain.

  5. Positive re-enforcement. Praise and reward your child for wearing a helmet.

  6. Be firm. Always insist your child wear a helmet when he or she is out on wheels, even when close to home (where the majority of incidents take place).

  7. Be a role model. When you're out on wheels, wear your own helmet!

For more information about safety on wheels, call Safe Kids Canada at 1 888 SAFE TIPS or visit www.safekidscanada.ca. The "Got Wheels - Get a Helmet!" campaign, held during Safe Kids Week, runs from June 3 to June 9 and is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. J&J is providing an additional $100,000 to buy helmets for children from low-income families across Canada. During Safe Kids Week, a portion of each purchase of participating J&J and McNeil products will be donated to the program.

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