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Preventing Bicycle Accident Injuries in Children

We all remember that great feeling you had when you finally learned how to ride a bike.  However, no piece of recreational equipment has as much potential for serious injury to children as the humble bicycle. Research indicates that far too many children are being rushed to emergency rooms across Georgia every day with injuries that result from bike accidents

Bicycling is, and has been for generations, an extremely popular activity for children.  Bike riding can be done any time of the year and almost anywhere you go.  The risk of injury, however, are ever present and increase significantly when children are allowed to ride a bike without following basic safety protocols.

Research published in the journal Injury Prevention recently indicates that many as 50 percent of all bicycle injuries that require treatment at an emergency room involve children below the age of 12.  The number of children who were not wearing bicycle helmets at the time of the accident was also similar. Only half of children below the age of 5, and only 32 percent of children between 13 and 19 years of age were wearing helmets at the time of the accident.

Earlier this year, a study conducted by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Ohio also found that the injury rates for children involving bicyclists is high. As many as 25 children are treated for bicycle-related injuries at emergency rooms every hour. That makes it more than 2 million children who had to be taken to emergency rooms for treatment of injuries sustained in bicycle accidents.

Many of these injuries are a result of a failure to wear helmets. Remember, a head injury doesn’t have to be severe or even moderate to cause long term damage to a child. A concussion, if left untreated or simply neglected, can mean loss of concentration, memory problems, difficulties in learning and other problems. More serious injuries can mean a lifetime of limited mobility and movement, speech difficulties, communication problems and other complications.

Georgia law requires anyone under the age of sixteen (16) to wear an ANSI compliant helmet when riding a bike.   Reduce your child’s risk of being injured while riding a bicycle by teaching him the basics of biking safety. The first step is to buy him a safe and reliable bicycle helmet. The helmet should be certified by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. A sticker on the helmet will indicate that the helmet is safe to use.

The helmet should also be comfortable for the child to wear. It should not be too tight or too lose. When the strap is on, the child should be able to open his mouth fully. This will signify that the helmet is loose enough for comfort while also protecting his head.  If the helmet does not fit well, the child may avoid wearing it exposing him to a significantly increased risk of catastrophic injury.

Also, let your child choose the design and color of the helmet. Children are more likely to wear something that was of their choice to begin with.

Investing in a good bicycle helmet will go a long way in preventing life-altering injuries involving your child and his bicycle.

Have questions about your legal rights to compensation after a bicycle accident? Call an experienced Atlanta bicycle accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm and get a free evaluation of your case.