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Michigan Kids Get Safety Lesson on Bike to School Day

Kids at more than 220 Michigan schools are part of National Bike to School Day. How many will be wearing their helmets? (5demayo/morguefile)
Kids at more than 220 Michigan schools are part of National Bike to School Day. How many will be wearing their helmets? (5demayo/morguefile)
May 10, 2017

LANSING, Mich. - As the weather warms up and more Michigan kids hop onto their bikes, safety advocates are reminding parents to make sure their children are wearing a helmet.

Today is National Bike to School Day, and Dr. Marcee White, medical adviser for Safe Kids Worldwide, said that while biking is great for kids of all ages, many are hurt on bicycles, skateboards and scooters. She said preventable injury is the number one killer of children, and her group surveyed parents about why kids aren't wearing helmets that can protect against serious head injuries and concussions.

"Forty-seven percent of parents think that the area where they are biking or scootering or skateboarding or skating is safe," she said, "or they view their child as experienced and don't think helmets are necessary."

As for the kids, they said they don't wear helmets because their friends don't, or that the helmet doesn't fit correctly.

Nationwide, White said, 50 children are rushed to the emergency room every hour because of preventable injury. Head injuries can be very serious and sometimes fatal, she said, but kids also can end up with broken bones and nasty cuts and bruises as well, so she encouraged parents to not only make youngsters wear a helmet, but to learn the rules of the road.

"They're going down a hill, they don't know how fast they're going," she said. "They're not realizing that a car is in the way or something is in the way and turn very quickly and then, before you know it, no matter how experienced they are, they're falling and hitting the pavement."

Between 2005 and 2015, White said, the number of emergency-room visits for bike- and skateboard-related injuries declined, but kids who were rushed to the hospital because of an accident on a scooter increased by about 40 percent. She said it's disturbing that, of all these wheeled activities, parents are least likely to make children wear a helmet while riding a scooter.

More than 220 Michigan schools are officially signed up to participate in National Bike to School Day.

More information is online at safekids.org.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI