Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital trauma and safety teams are urging children to wear their helmets every time they ride anything from a skateboard to a dirt bike to help prevent serious and potentially fatal injuries this summer.
"We often think of helmets as something to be worn riding bikes, which is true, but we also want kids to wear helmets when they ride scooters, dirt bikes, ATVs, roller blades, skateboards, hoverboards, even tricycles and balance bikes, to help them stay safe," said Jessica Strong, community health director at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital. "Kids can be seriously injured, sometimes fatally, if they fall while riding. That's why it's critical they wear a helmet every ride, every time."
About 1,500 traumatic pediatric injuries are treated at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital each year. About 40 percent of those traumas are head injuries.
Child trauma incidents historically rise in the summer months, and peak in July. The Intermountain West also has the fourth-highest traumatic brain injury hospitalization rate in the country for children. Some of these injuries could be prevented by wearing a helmet.
"As a pediatric trauma surgeon, it's heartbreaking to see a child come in with injuries that could have been prevented, or made far less severe, by wearing a helmet," said Katie Russell, MD, University of Utah Health and trauma medical director at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital. "The effects of traumatic brain injury can be devastating for kids and their families. That's why it's so important that families can get a good-fitting helmet, and help their child put it on before every ride."
Parents can check the fit of their child's helmet by making sure of the following:
• The helmet fits snugly and sits level on the child's head.
• The helmet fits two finger widths above the child's eyebrow
• The side strap V-shape fits just under the child's ears.
• One adult's finger can fit between the child's chin and the strap.
"Kids outgrow helmets just like they outgrow clothes or shoes," Strong said. "Parents should check the fit of their child's helmet before they ride. If they need a new helmet, parents don't need to spend a lot of money. Helmets are available in retail stores in a number of price ranges, and all have passed safety requirements to help kids have a safer ride."
Helmet safety is part of the Primary Children's Hold On To Dear Life safety initiative, and the Healthy Kids building block of Intermountain Healthcare's "Primary Promise" to create the nation's model health system for children. This multi-faceted plan and investment of at least $500 million in children's health will be shared by Intermountain Healthcare and community philanthropic support through an emerging campaign organized by Intermountain Foundation.
For more information please visit: intermountainhealthcare.org/primary-childrens.