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Can bike helmet legislation protect children in Canada?

With so many children and adults using bicycles to travel, there is a distinct need for education on staying safe. Falling off a bicycle or being hit by a car can lead to head injuries; those injuries can take months or years to heal.

How common are bicycling accidents?

Bicycle-related injuries among children account for four percent of all injuries that require a patient to go to the emergency department. A surprising number of those injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents, with 53 percent of bicycling fatalities for children and youth being attributed to car-versus-bicycle collisions.

Who is most at risk for a bicycling accident?

It's been shown that adolescent males have the highest risk of injuries involving motor vehicle accidents with between 28 and 56 per 100,000 people in the population. On top of that, head injuries themselves are among the most severe of injuries bicyclists can suffer. These injuries make up around 20 to 40 percent of all biking injuries that result in a visit to the emergency department.

Do helmets actually reduce the risk of a serious brain injury?

There have been two systematic reviews showing that helmets do reduce the risk of head injuries while cycling. One review showed that helmets reduced the risk of head and brain injuries by an amazing 69 percent and traumatic brain injuries by 74 percent.

Helmet use can protect children and prevent injuries if they're involved in a car crash, which is why legislation is suggested to make it necessary for children to wear them. Lawyers can help you obtain compensation for your child's injuries, but the best medicine is prevention. If your child is hurt in a crash, it's the hope that the injuries he or she suffers will be less severe if a helmet is worn.

Source: Canadian Paediatric Society, "Bicycle helmet use in Canada: The need for legislation to reduce the risk of head injury," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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