President's Prescription: Helmet Safety

President's Prescription: Helmet Safety
Children, adolescents and young adults have the highest rates of nonfatal bicycle-related injuries, accounting for almost 60 percent of all bicycle-related injuries seen in U.S. emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. T

his week, Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell discusses why

head protection is key for active children

.

The popularity

of "extreme" sporting activities is on the rise — snowboarding, skateboarding, BMX cycling. Activities like those can help improve kids' balance, agility and reflexes. But each sport comes with its own set of risks: strains, sprains and fractures.

Whether your child is a budding Evel Knievel, or he or she is just riding a bike or skateboard to school, head proper protection is paramount.

Failing to wear wrist guards while in-line skating can lead to a fractured arm, but not wearing a helmet can result in a concussion or worse.  

Extreme sports can be challenging for participants and thrilling for spectators. Done correctly, they build self-discipline, strength and coordination. So take the appropriate precautions to make sure your budding extreme athlete doesn't wind up as a late-night "stupid people trick" spectacle.

The right helmet:
Is sport specific
Attaches securely with a chin strap
Fits properly

Don't buy a helmet your child will "grow into." A too-big helmet doesn't provide protection and can obstruct vision, making falls likely.