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Bicycle Helmet Laws For Kids Effective But Not Yet the Norm
Date:6/19/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Studies have shown wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle reduces one's risk of death by more than 50 percent, yet every three days, a child in the United States is killed while riding a bicycle, and every day at least 100 children are treated in emergency rooms due to bicycle-related head injuries.

A report released today by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health reveals that in areas where no bicycle helmet laws exist, nearly one-half of children, ages 4-17, never wear a helmet.

"These statistics underscore the importance of helmet laws to help prevent death and injury from children not wearing helmets while riding their bikes," says Matthew Davis, M.D., director of the National Poll on Children's Health. "Yet only twenty one states have helmet use laws for children."

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate universal bicycle helmet use by children, ages 4-15, would prevent about 40,000 head injuries and about 50,000 scalp and face injuries every year.

While the poll shows helmet use is better in areas where helmet laws exist (54 percent of parents report their children always wear a helmet while riding a bike), the poll also measured adults' awareness of helmet laws in their communities and whether or not they would support new laws if none existed.

Forty-one percent of parents said they were unsure about helmet use laws in their communities. Overall, 86 percent of respondents would support helmet laws for children in their communities.

The poll also shows that other barriers to helmet use exist for some parents whether or not laws exist in their areas. Among parents who report their child never wears a helmet, 32 percent believe they are too expensive. One in two children in the lowest income families making
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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