As children across the country take part in National Bike to School Day (May 10), a new report from Safe Kids Worldwide and Nationwide's Make Safe Happen program reveals alarming news about the risks kids take when riding bikes, scooters, skates and skateboards. Nearly 40 percent of the 1,600 parents surveyed admitted that their child doesn't always wear a helmet while riding, even though more than 426,000 children - nearly 50 every hour - visited an emergency department (ED) in 2015 due to a wheeled sports-related injury.
The report, "Ready for the Ride: Keeping Kids Safe on Wheels," explores parents' beliefs and actions to protect kids while bicycling, scootering, skating and skateboarding. While statistics show helmet use is on the rise, this report uncovers a concerning number of parents who do not require their children to wear a helmet. Research shows that helmets and other protective equipment are the best way to prevent injuries while riding, and the new report suggests that more work needs to be done to protect kids at play.
Read the report and infographic
"We know that kids follow their parents lead, and if they see their parents wearing their helmets, it's much more likely they'll do so as well," said Torine Creppy, Interim President at Safe Kids Worldwide. "And just making sure that kids have a comfortable, properly-fitted helmet will do wonders to keep that helmet in place and give kids a safe ride."
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of ED visits for bike- and skateboard-related injuries decreased, but visits for skate- and scooter-related injuries increased significantly. In fact, scooter-related injuries shot up by 40 percent over the 10-year period. Worryingly, the survey found that parents were least likely to make children wear a helmet while scootering at only 57 percent.
"While it's encouraging that the bike-related injuries are down, the number of kids still getting hurt is far too high - especially considering that many of these injuries could be avoided by simply wearing a helmet and other safety equipment," said Mike Boyd, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Nationwide. "We're hoping this information will remind parents and children alike about the importance of wearing a helmet every time they bike, skate or ride a scooter."
The report shows a clear need to educate families about the very real injury risks for their children while riding and how to protect them.
Why Aren't Kids Wearing Helmets?
Properly-fitted helmets are the best way to prevent head injuries, and ensuring the correct fit of a helmet can increase comfort and use.
Are Kids Wearing Other Protective Equipment?
While head injuries are still an issue, the majority of ED visits for wheeled sports in 2015 were for fractures, contusions and abrasions. Protective equipment means more than just a helmet; riders also need to protect their elbows, knees and wrists for when they fall.
What Are Kids Getting Injured Riding?
No matter what kids are riding, it's important for them to wear helmets and protective gear. Injuries can happen on any type of wheels.
Where Are Kids Riding?
Even if a child is riding a bike in a driveway, concrete is concrete. It's important for kids to use their helmets and protective gear no matter where they're riding.
How Can Parents Protect Kids?
The full report includes more detailed findings from the report as well as additional statistics and safety tips. Parents and caregivers are also encouraged to visit www.safekids.org and www.makesafehappen.com for more information.