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University of Iowa News Release

 

April 1, 2011

UI Children's Hospital reminds parents that April is Bike Safety Month

Safety specialists with University of Iowa Children's Hospital want to remind parents and caregivers that April is Bicycle Safety Month. As they prepare their children's bicycles for a season of riding, parents and caregivers should also make sure their children have bicycle helmets that fit properly.

Pam Hoogerwerf, community outreach and injury prevention coordinator with Patient and Family Services at UI Children's Hospital, said that more than half -- 53 percent -- of the approximately 500,000 people treated in hospital emergency rooms last year were under the age of 15.

Additionally, she said, bike helmets are 85-88 percent effective in preventing head and brain injuries, yet just 20-25 percent of bicyclists wear them. A wide majority -- 70 percent -- of fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries, Hoogerwerf said.

"Insist your child wear a helmet every time they are on a bicycle, tricycle, scooter, skate board‚ anything with wheels," Hoogerwerf said.

"You should wear your helmet also," she cautions parents. "Children will do what they see their parents do. This demonstrates to them how important and 'cool' it is."

Hoogerwerf points to an economic benefit to wearing a bike helmet, as well: Every dollar spent on bicycle helmets saves society $30 in indirect medical costs and other costs.

Bicycle helmets and other safety gear are available through the UI Children's Hospital Safety Store. To view the store, visit http://www.uihealthcare.com/safetystore.

STORY SOURCE: UI Health Care Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Dr., W319 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: Molly Rossiter, 319-356-7127, molly-rossiter@uiowa.edu