How to Properly Wear a Helmet - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

How to Properly Wear a Helmet

Reporter: Shannon Samson
New Media Producer: Rachel Chambliss

Kohl's department store is giving St. Mary's Hospital for Women and Children a check for $34,000 dollars to fund its "Keep Kids Safe" program! The goal this summer is to keep kids safe on their bikes. So a trip to the hospital this weekend may prevent another one later.

Stephanie Mattes, a registered nurse at the Injury Prevention Outreach, says, "They take the training wheels off and let them go, and they're kind of on their own."

And perhaps not making the best decisions.

Ten-year-old Taylor Smith says, "Pretty much the knee pads and elbow pads and the hand things, we don't do that a whole lot or the helmets either."

Shannon asks Taylor, "Why not?"

Taylor responds, "Because we don't think it's cool."

But many times, the cool kids aren't the safe ones.

Sixty percent of deaths from bike crashes happen to kids who aren't wearing helmets. And the kids who do often don't wear them properly.

Mattes continues, "This is not good. When she falls off on the bike, this [helmet] is not going to protect her head. It's not tight enough down here, and a lot of children ride with it like this, or they ride with a hat underneath, and that's not going to protect either."

Her advice is to start them off young wearing helmets and wearing them right.

"The area around her ear goes around her ear just right. You can fit about one finger underneath the chin strap, and it's snug on her. You don't want it to be so tight that it's uncomfortable. It needs to be about two finger widths above the eyebrow, and when you move it, you don't want it to be moving back and forth," Mattes instructs.

Bike crashes usually happen less than a mile from home and sometimes the injuries aren't always obvious. Even if they don't have a scratch on them, kids need to go to the ER.

Mattes says, "If they hit their head, and definitely, if they lose consciousness, you're going to want to have them seen. If they complain of a headache and vomiting or pain in the abdomen, then you'll want them seen."

And finally, she says kids need to be reminded to ride with traffic, not against it and obey the same rules as vehicles do.

If you're not sure your child's helmet fits correctly, bring both of them to the Saint Mary's Bike Rodeo this Saturday. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the St. Mary's parking log.

Experts can help you with sizing. The Evansville Bike Club will hold an interactive chalk street course. And there will be prizes.

They'll also be holding a car seat inspection, too. That's another big reason they get children into the ER.

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