Bicycle or Scooter-
Riding Youth Wear Helmets
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Young bicycle riders
are not the only ones who often disregard public health messages
to wear helmets, researchers report. New study findings show that
less than 14% of young bicycle and scooter riders, skateboarders
or in-line skaters wear protective head gear.
"Helmet use promotion and tracking should not only focus on bike
riding, but also on other childhood leisure activities like skating
and scooter riding," study author Dr. Samuel N. Forjuoh of the Scott
and White Santa Fe Center in Temple, Texas told Reuters Health.
Forjuoh and his colleagues observed 841 children
in eight central Texas communities during an 8-week study period
to determine their rates of helmet use while engaged in four activities--bicycle
riding, scooter riding, skateboard riding and in-line skating.
Fewer than one out of every seven children used
helmets while participating in the leisure activities, they report
in the July issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
In addition, nine children either carried their helmets or had
them hanging on their bicycle handlebars.
Helmet use was most common among in-line skaters,
nearly 20% of whom used the protective gear, and least common
among scooter riders, the researchers note. Also, about one third
of children under 6 years old used helmets in comparison to about
10% of children aged 6 to 12.
Children were most likely to wear helmets if
they were accompanied by adults while engaging in leisure activities,
the report indicates.
For example, all of the children who went in-line
skating with an adult wore helmets, and those riding bicycles
were 10 times more likely to wear helmets if they were with an
adult. Scooter riders were nearly 12 times more likely to wear
helmets when adults were around.
"Parents must always model safety behaviors
for their children to follow," Forjuoh said. "Helmet use is still
low in many areas, particularly those without helmet laws; however,
parents still remain the main advocates for helmet use promotion."
In other findings, slightly more than one quarter
of the children who wore helmets did not wear them correctly--horizontally
positioned on the head in a straight line and strapped under the
chin. This was particularly true among scooter riders, 53% of
whom wore their helmets tilted forwards or backwards or unstrapped.
"There should be increased use of parents and
peers as advocates for child helmet use in leisure activities,"
Forjuoh said. In addition, "no one should forget to buy an approved
helmet when buying a bike/skates/scooter for a child."
The Texas Department of Transportation funded
SOURCE: Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent
Reference Source 89