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Healthy Kids: Helmet safety and how to make sure it fits correctly

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Annually, 196 children younger than age 15 die from bicycle-related injuries, according to Children's Safety Network. In some of those situations, a helmet might have saved a life.

Helmets can be crucial in other activities too, like skateboarding, riding in an ATV, or sledding.

"We see unfortunately a lot of head injuries caused by a lot of different mechanisms," says Amanda Abramczyk-Thill, the injury prevention and outreach coordinator at Children's Hospital Colorado. "So that's both motor vehicle collisions as well as bikes or wheeled activities. Hoverboards sometimes scooters and newer devices that have wheels. You might not think about wearing a helmet but it is really important."

Each year about 344,000 kids are treated and released in emergency departments for bicycle-related injuries. That's according to the Children's Safety Network. Data shows that wearing a helmet while biking prevents 52 to 60 percent of bike-related head injury deaths.

"Helmets can reduce the risk of severe head injury by over 70 percent," says Abramczyk. "So wearing one every time they ride is really important. And that's even from the strider bikes for toddlers all the way up to bicycles and hoverboards and other things for older teens and young adults."

Abramczyk says wearing a helmet all starts with parents. Make sure to model behavior and ensure your child is using one for any speed-related activities. ATVs can be especially dangerous and can lead to severe brain injury in some cases.

"We, unfortunately, see a lot of ATV accidents," says Abramczyk. "And kids really shouldn't be riding in ATVs until they are 16 and then you'll know even if they are ready then. But really a child isn't ready to be on one of those until they're able to drive a vehicle."

But wearing any helmet isn't enough, it has to fit right and be replaced as children grow.

"That helmet should be able to be strapped where you have the straps coming to a 'V' under their ears, you can't fit more than two fingers between the chin strap and only about two fingers distance between the top of the helmet and their eyebrows and that is has a snug fit every time," says Abramczyk.

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.


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