This summer, children all over Massachusetts are spending their days playing outside and riding their bikes through their neighborhoods and around town. Before parents let their kids out of the house to enjoy a day filled with fun, they must make sure that their children understand the importance of a bike helmet.
According to Massachusetts law, children 16-years-old and younger are required to wear a helmet while riding a bike on public roads, right of ways and bike paths. This requirement, however, may not always stop them from riding without a helmet, especially on private property. According to an article on Worcester.com, only 38 percent of the children (17-years-old and younger) taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center for injuries sustained in a bike accident were wearing a helmet.
Not wearing a helmet increases the risk that a bike rider will experience a traumatic brain injury. TBIs can cause a number of life-altering conditions that cause irreversible damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, complications of TBIs may include:
- Nerve damage
- Cognitive issues leading to problems with memory, judgment, reasoning and learning
- Behavioral changes and emotional issues
It is also not enough to just wear a helmet; the helmet must fit correctly. To fit a bike helmet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following steps:
- Size – helmet should fit snuggly on top of the head and not sway side to side
- Position – helmet should sit low on the forehead, approximately two finger widths above the eye brows
- Side straps – straps should form a “V” under the ears
- Chin strap – make sure the chin strap is snug, only one or two fingers should fit between the strap and the chin
Even when all safety precautions are taken, including wearing a helmet, accidents and injuries may still occur. If the negligence of another caused you or a loved one to be injured in a bicycle accident, an experienced attorney can assist in making sure you receive fair compensation.
Source: Go Local Worcester, “What You Need to Know About Helmet Safety,” Ashley Klann, June 26, 2012.
For more information about this topics, please visit our Worcester child injuries page.