Bike helmets necessary

 

I read with dismay the May 5 article Bike helmets won’t protect kids from common head injuries. It referenced a 2013 report on youth sports-related concussions by the Institute of Medicine, but the accompanying picture and headline confuse two different issues: sports-related concussions and bicycle helmet injuries.

The Institute of Medicine report focuses on sports-related concussion and the risks associated with equipment used in football, hockey, soccer, rugby and other contact sports. Kids on bicycles are at higher risk for severe brain injuries because they are accelerating and will hit the ground harder and faster than when they are participating in sports games. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that the bicycle helmet is an extremely effective device that can prevent the occurrence of up to 88 percent of serious brain injuries related to bicycle collisions and falls.

Last year in Miami-Dade County, 239 children were hospitalized and 19 children died from traumatic brain injuries and spinal-cord injuries. The bottom line is that kids on bicycles can be protected from life-threatening, debilitating brain injuries by wearing well-fitting helmets.

Julia White, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami

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