I was reminded recently at how often children are just one CLICK away from becoming a sad statistic. My daughters enjoy riding their bikes and cyclocross racing. It is great exercise and a fun way to enjoy time as a family. Through this hobby, we have become passionate about bicycle safety and teach our children how to ride safely, predictably and respectfully. Before a recent race, we checked each daughter’s helmet. We heard that reassuring CLICK as it buckled in place right under her cute little chin. After finishing her race, my six-year-old daughter was riding her bike back to our car. As my husband and I followed her on foot and watched in terror, she lost control of her bike and fell…hard…on the pavement. The picture below is her helmet. If you look closely, you can see that the protective foam that protected the back of her head is broken into three parts. My little girl was only one CLICK from becoming one of the 153,000 children that are treated in hospital emergency departments for bicycle-related head injuries each year. Some of those children never leave the hospital. (http://www.cdc.gov/program/performance/fy2000plan/2000xbicycle.htm)
Be sure your child’s helmet is in good shape, fits well and is comfortable so that he or she will wear it and it protects them! Wear your helmet whenever you use your bike, regardless of the speed or distance you plan to travel to set a good example for your child. Talk to your child about how a helmet can protect them and what the ramifications of an injury could be in an age appropriate manner. Every so often give them a little reminder to CLICK before they go.
Another life saving “CLICK” is that of a seat belt or car safety seat. Again, parents set the best example. Never drive without buckling up as little eyes are always watching. Be sure that the seat you are using for your child is the correct size and that you don’t let them “grow up” too soon. Keep them in that booster until they are tall enough for a seat belt. Keep them in the 5 point harness or rear facing as long as is appropriate. If you aren’t sure, find an expert. In Sioux Falls, SD there are installation checks each Saturday from 9am to 11am at Fire Station 3. Most other communities have similar programs. Motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States. Many of these deaths can be prevented. In an accident, one simple CLICK could mean the difference between life threatening injuries and minor injuries. For recommendations, visit http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/child_passenger_safety/cps-factsheet.html
We are thankful that one CLICK made the difference because instead of an ambulance picking up our daughter, she picked herself up, dusted herself off, let us wipe her tears and give big hugs and quickly asked when we could go shopping for a new helmet. Thanks to a split-second CLICK, the picture looks like this: