March 07, 2007
In observance of Brain Injury Awareness Month, Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) reminds parents to ensure their child reduces the risk of brain injury by wearing a helmet during any wheel-based sports. As the popularity of bicycles, scooters, skateboards, skates, and retractable roller shoes continues, the severity of brain injuries among children increases. According to The Brain Injury Association of America, each year among children ages 0-14 years, brain injury results in an estimated 37,000 hospitalizations and 435,000 emergency department visits. According to California law, all individuals ages 18 and younger are required to wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet during any wheel-based sport.
"Parents many times find their child resists a helmet because of the 'uncool' factor," says CHOC neurosurgeon Dr. William Loudon. "I recommend parents talk to their children about the cognitive, physical, and emotional consequences of brain injuries. Most of all, a helmet could save their lives."
Worn properly, helmets are effective in preventing severe head injuries. The experts at the CHOC Neuroscience Institute recommend following these guidelines for a proper fit:
- Measure the circumference of your child's head in centimeters and compare it with the size listed on the box.
- Be sure the helmet fits your child's head snugly. It should be level, with two fingers' width of space between the eyebrow and helmet. Your child should be able to slip no more than one finger between the strap and chin.
- The straps should form a "V" around the ear.
- Never purchase an oversized helmet in hopes your child will grow into it because it could fly off in a crash.
- Let your child select a helmet from an assortment of helmets in his or her size. This increases the chance of it being worn when you are not around.
- If you are purchasing a multi-sport helmet, make sure it is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or Snell Memorial Foundation.
Monica Garcia, Sr. Public Relations Specialist
phone: (714) 289-4183