Keeping young cyclists safe

Children's Hospital bicycle helmet giveaway program

July 19, 2013

Cycling remains a preferred outdoor activity and method of transportation for children and adults throughout the summer months. As many young cyclists venture out on the city’s roads, sidewalks and trails, the staff and physicians of the Trauma Program and Emergency Department at LHSC’s Children’s Hospital are focused on their safety.

To promote bicycle safety, Children’s 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 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.”

Nurse Rockwood with patient Barber
From Left, seven year-old Sorcha Barber receives her new bicycle helmet and safety materials from Carly Rockwood, registered nurse, LHSC as part of the Children’s Hospital’s bicycle helmet giveaway program.

Without a helmet the chance of a cyclist sustaining a severe head injury is greatly increased. Last year in London the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital treated 341 children for bicycle-related injuries and only 31 per cent of youth who came to the 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. 

“Our goal is to decrease the number of head injuries in London and surrounding area by providing a helmet to every child entering the hospital for a bicycle related injury,” says Lisa Wolfs, Injury Prevention Specialist, Trauma Program. “We also inform children of the risks of not wearing a helmet and provide education on bicycle safety and proper helmet fitting.”

Rockwood and Barber with Injury Prevention specialist Wolfs
Lisa Wolfs (left), injury prevention specialist, LHSC, and Carly Rockwood (right), registered nurse, LHSC measure seven year-old Sorcha Barber for her new bicycle helmet as part of the Children’s Hospital’s bicycle helmet giveaway program.

The bicycle helmet giveaway program, now in its fifth year, is co-sponsored by the Children’s Health Foundation and Helmets on Kids Community Partnership. As a proud sponsor of Helmets on Kids Community Partnership, YoYo's Yogurt Cafe in London provides $1 off coupons to the Emergency Department at LHSC’s Children’s Hospital, which nurses give out with each helmet giveaway. The purpose of these coupons is to positively reinforce helmet use in children.