Child Safety During Warm Weather Months
Unlike children who are raised in the southern and western parts of the country, Midwestern children have the majority of their out-of-doors experiences during the months when the corn grows. Recently, my wife and I welcomed our third grandchild into the world and I couldn’t help but think once again about the risks that children must take to grow and understand the environment around them. In a poem attributed to the writings of Abraham Lincoln, he writes in part to his son’s teacher: “Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.” Children require experiences rich in variety but, as responsible and worthy caretakers, we have to offer these experiences to our youth under supervision and an ever watchful eye. The next several articles in this series will cover the challenges and experiences that children are most likely to encounter during warm weather months.
Bicycle, Skateboarding and Scooter Safety
Nearly half of children ages 14 and under hospitalized for bicycle-related injuries are diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. Approximately 75% of all bicycle related head injuries occur among children age 14 and under. The use of a helmet reduces the severity of a bicycle injury. Unfortunately national estimates report that bicycle helmet use among child bicyclists ranges only from 15 to 25 percent. [Statistics found at: http://www.preventinjury.org/PDFs/BICYCLE_INJURY.pdf]
Lots of Hoosier kids get tricycles and bicycles for Christmas. But before youthful desires turn to mobility on wheels, use the time in-between Christmas and spring to educate your youngsters on cycling safety and the rules of the road. Then take your children on outings to purchase helmets for all riding family members as well as other protective riding gear.
Your child should have a helmet that fits securely and comfortably. If your child is not relaxed or at ease with a helmet, most likely he/she will make a fuss when it comes time to don the helmet. Check the fit and comfort ability and if in doubt, ask a cycling specialist to fit your child. Make sure it’s worn every time he/she cycles, skates or rides a scooter. There are several techniques a parent can use to encourage their child in this arena:
- Start your child with a helmet from day one;
- Allow the child to participate in selecting the helmet, reflector clothing and stickers;
- Set a good example by wearing a helmet yourself;
- Take your child to biking events where he/she can see that everyone competing wears a helmet; and
- Educate your child about their brain and the importance of protecting the brain from head injuries.
Before allowing your child to ride his/her bicycle, check the components of the bicycle for safety by checking the brakes and pedals. Do this on a regular basis. Make sure the gears shift smoothly and that the tires are secured and properly inflated. [For more information on bicycle safety for kids visit www.safekids.org/safety-basics/big-kids/at-play/bike-and-wheels-safety.html]
While a child may faithfully practice every point of safety taught to him by responsible and loving parents, a negligent auto or truck driver can cause a catastrophic accident to occur which may involve a child and a bicycle. The personal injury attorneys at Ward & Ward are experienced in litigation involving traumatic brain injury. If you or someone you know has been injured by the negligence of the driver of an automobile, motorcycle or truck, give Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501 for a FREE consultation.