COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Thousands of children across Ohio will receive free bicycle helmets in the coming weeks, as Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Month approaches.
The Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics have teamed up to distribute more than 10,000 bike helmets to children in Ohio. The AAP said this marks the sixth year of its Bike Helmet Safety Awareness Campaign and the third year in which they’ve joined with ODOT for the event.
Sarah Denny, a physician with the Ohio chapter of AAP, said statistics show about 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities in children could have been prevented if the child was wearing a helmet.
“Parents are such important role models, and we know from studies that parents who wear their bike helmets, their children are much more likely to wear their bike helmets as well,” Denny said.
Denny brought one of her sons to the event to demonstrate the proper way to put a bike helmet on a child. A helmet that fits the child’s head is a must.
“When you put the helmet on the head, you want it to fit nice and snugly,” Denny said. “When you place it on the head, you don’t want it to be too far forward like this. Sometimes you’ll see the girls wear ponytails and their helmet’s like this, or too far back like this. We don’t want to see that. So nice and straight across the head, then in the front, when you look at the rider, you want to make sure that the bike helmet is about two finger-widths from the eyebrow and then we’re going to clip it here. Securing the helmet is obviously the most important thing. If the child’s just got the helmet on their head, without it buckled, it’s not going to do any good.”
She said that when the helmet is clipped below the child’s chin, you should be able to fit about one finger in between the chin and strap, allowing room for the child to move his or her mouth and to talk.
If the helmet has been in an accident and shows obvious damage, Denny said it’s best to get a new one.
The helmets picked up at the event will be distributed to children across the state.