Many families are enjoying the benefits of outdoor activities, including walking, running, biking, and using scooters and hoverboards. All of these activities provide extensive physical and mental health benefits; however, we want to take a moment to discuss safety.
As always, follow your local state/county social distancing guidelines.
The CDC reports wearing a helmet helps decrease the risk of traumatic brain injury by 80%. Consequently, a helmet is mandatory anytime children (and adults) are using anything with wheels – roller skates, inline skates, scooters, hoverboards, or bicycles. More children visit the emergency room with head injuries related to bicycle accidents than from any other sport.
As a general rule of thumb, “if your feet are using wheels, your head has a helmet.”
Twenty-one states have laws requiring children 16 and under to wear a helmet while riding bicycles. Although Missouri and Illinois do not have statewide helmet laws, many local communities do. A complete list of Missouri and Illinois areas that require helmets can be found at https://www.helmets.org/mandator.htm. Please note all St. Louis County Parks require helmets for children.
When selecting a helmet, choose one appropriate for the activity, as bicycle helmets offer more protection than most skating helmets. Make sure your helmet meets standards set by the US Consumer Products Safety (CPSC) Division for bicycling. Helmets are labeled with either a CPSC sticker, an ASTM’s F1447 sticker, or Snell’s B-95 sticker.
Once you have found your proper helmet, it must fit snuggly on the head and always be fastened under the chin. Our colleagues at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Safety Stop have created a short, simple video to walk you through fitting a helmet. They are also available for FaceTime support by calling 314-565-0369.
Courtney M. Dunn, PT, DPT