An estimated 300,000 kids end up in emergency rooms each year because of bike-related injuries, but one of the best ways to decrease the risk, not only for your children, but for yourself, is to wear a helmet.
Statistics show bike helmets can prevent many serious injuries including 85% of head injuries and 88% of brain injuries, and 150 lives could be saved in the U.S. each year if all children wore helmets while biking.
When choosing a bike helmet for you or your child, look for a rounded helmet. Those that are aerodynamic and come to a point can get stuck in the ground and cause additional injuries.
All bike helmets must meet minimum federal safety standards, so a more expensive helmet may look a little nicer, but doesn't provide any more protection than a less expensive option.
The most important thing is that it properly fits.
"A lot of children think it's cool to wear their helmet tilted back, or tilted forward, or off to the side. It's not cool. It doesn't work well when it is put on like that," said Cleveland Clinic pediatrician Dr. Michael Macknin. "And many times children won't even bother to snap a helmet. You really have to lock it in with the locking snap on the helmet. It should fit very snugly, but comfortably on your head and it should be completely level. It shouldn't move much side to side or forwards of backwards. When you push on it should fit nice and firmly like this helmet does on me."
Dr. Macknin says bike helmets can also be worn for other activities on wheels, like roller skating or skateboarding.
He says there are helmets designed for these types of activities, which provide additional protection for the back of the head, but any helmet is better than no helmet at all.