August 19, 2013, Toms River, NJ - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 550,000 persons are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to bicycle riding each year. The Pediatric Emergency Department at Community Medical Center reminds all parents and children that in New Jersey, state law requires anyone under age 17 must wear a helmet while bicycling, skateboarding or rollerskating/blading.
Vikram Varma, MD, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Community Medical Center, said, “Injuries to a child’s brain do not heal like a broken bone, cut or scrape. Brain injuries, if survived, can have devastating effects that last a lifetime. The reality is the most common cause of death among children riding bicycles is head injury.”
Dr. Varma said brain injuries can occur even from a simple fall from a bike, skateboard, scooter or skates. “Most people think of brain injuries occurring from a significant impact such as with a motor vehicle, and while that is true, serious injuries can occur in a park, sidewalk or even a driveway. That is why is imperative that children wear helmets at all times.”
According to New Jersey law, failure to wear a helmet can result in a fine for the first offense and increases for subsequent offenses. Dr. Varma said, “A brain injury can affect the way your child thinks, acts, speaks, walks and lives for the rest of their life. If the professional skateboarders and bicyclists can wear a helmet and still be ‘cool’, so should your child.”
The Pediatric Emergency Department at Community Medical Center reminds everyone of the following safety tips:
- A helmet should fit directly over the forehead, two fingers above the eyebrows.
- The chin straps should fit snug and form a “V” on either side of the ears. Only two fingers should fit under the strap.
- Wear light colored clothing that makes riders visible to drivers.
- Equip bikes with a horn or bell, as well as rear and pedal reflectors.
- Obey all traffic rules, laws, signs and signals. Ride with traffic.
- Always look left, right and left again before proceeding into intersection.
- Keep bikes, scooters, skateboards and skates in proper working order with tires properly inflated and seat adjusted.
Dr. Varma said, “Talk to your children about the importance of wearing a helmet and the risks of brain injury and their consequences. An accident can happen in a split second, so no matter where your child is, if they are riding, they need a helmet.”
The Pediatric Emergency Department at Community Medical Center works in collaboration with The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center to provide the highest level of care for its youngest patients. All Emergency Medicine physicians and specially trained pediatric emergency nurses adhere to rigorous, best practice criteria developed by physicians for life saving treatment in pediatric emergencies.
For more information on the Emergency Department at Community Medical Center, visit www.barnabashealth.org/community or call 1-888-724-7123.