NO helmet, no bike. This is the safety message Safekids New Zealand wants parents and caregivers to tell their bicycle-riding children.
“Cycling is a healthy activity and is the first mode of transport for many Kiwi children,” said Dr. Nick Baker, Community Paediatrician and chair of the Child & Youth Mortality Review Committee.
“However, parents must take action to ensure safety comes first when their children hop on their bikes,” Dr. Baker said.
Safekids New Zealand reports that approximately 487 children are hospitalised and 2 children die from cycling-related injuries in New Zealand each year. “Internationally, approximately two-thirds of hospital admissions among child cyclists are for head injuries, and three quarters of deaths among injured child cyclists are also from head injuries,”Dr. Baker added.
Research shows that helmet wearing was associated with:
- A 69 percent reduction in the likelihood of head injury
- A 69 percent reduction in the likelihood of brain injury and
- A 74 percent reduction in the likelihood of severe brain injury.
Helmet wearing also reduces the likelihood of head injury by 69 percent in cyclists involved in crashes involving motor vehicles.
“The evidence is clear, in the event of a cycling fall or crash, helmets saves lives,” Dr. Baker said.
Children’s cycling injuries can be prevented by using helmets, adult guidance and making sure kids have the right skills and gear. The Safekids Campaign is promoting the following messages to child cyclists and adult drivers.
- Be Smart. Plan safe cycle routes with an adult, and take a cycle skills training course--the best riders are skilled riders.
- Be Safe. Follow the law--No helmet, no bike!
- Be Seen. Wear bright colours and use reflective gear.
- For Drivers: Slow Down and Look Out For Kids.
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