Brain Injury Awareness Month: Protecting young cyclists from brain injury

June 26, 2017

Properly fitting helmets in good repair represent the number-one safety opportunity for cyclists of all ages. It is the law in Ontario that those under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet while riding a bicycle. Unfortunately, cycling injuries are still common in children. Most severe injuries are to the head and are the result of three-quarters of cycling deaths.

The Stats

Staff and physicians of the Trauma Program and Emergency Department at LHSC’s Children’s Hospital know that without a helmet, the chance of sustaining a severe head injury is greatly increased. 

  • In 2016 the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital treated 223 children (age <18) for bicycle-related injuries.
  • Only 37 per cent of youth who come to our Emergency Department with severe injuries were confirmed to be wearing a helmet at the time of their injury. 
  • Severely injured kids treated at Children’s Hospital who were wearing helmets had fewer head injuries and improved outcomes.

To promote bicycle safety, the hospital’s bicycle helmet giveaway program outfits children and teens who come to the hospital with a wheeled-related injury with a new fitted helmet. The program, now in its eighth year, is co-sponsored by the Children’s Health Foundation and Helmets on Kids Partnership.

Fitting your helmet: young and old

No matter what age, wearing a properly-fitted helmet is important.

  • a helmet should fit two fingers above the brow 
  • the straps should be positioned in a “V” formation around the ears 
  • one finger should fit between the chin and the fastened strap

And, remember to replace the helmet if you’ve had a hard fall or crash, even if there is no visible damage on the helmet.