May 2, 2012
Spring brings warmer weather and the opportunity for more outside activity such as cycling. Unfortunately, cycling injuries are still common and the severity of injury increases for youngsters not wearing a helmet.
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. To promote bicycle safety, the hospital’s bicycle helmet giveaway program outfits children and teens who come to the hospital with a cycling-related injury with a new fitted helmet.
“Our goal is to decrease the number of head injuries and the severity of these injuries,” says Jane Harrington, Injury Prevention Specialist, Trauma Program. “In addition to offering children a helmet, we also provide kids with injury prevention education on bicycle safety and proper helmet fitting.”
How big of a problem are bike and head injuries in London?
- In 2011 the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital treated 330 children (age<18) for bicycle-related injuries.
- Only 40 per cent of youth who come to our Emergency Department 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, including fewer days in our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and were able to function more independently on discharge from hospital.
The hospital will follow up with patients to evaluate the effectiveness of the helmet giveaway program to see if there has been an increase in helmet use and bicycle safety knowledge.
“Our vision at LHSC is to provide excellent patient care, improve the patient and family experience, and engage in collaborative partnerships,” says Bonnie Adamson, LHSC President and CEO. “The bicycle helmet giveaway program is an excellent example of how we collaborate with our community to prevent injury and improve patient outcomes.”
The bicycle helmet giveaway program, now in its third year, is co-sponsored by the Children’s Health Foundation and Helmets on Kids Partnership.