-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Helmets are worn by only
about one in 10 Los Angeles County children involved in bicycle
accidents, despite a state law that requires helmets for riders
under age 18, a new study finds.
The findings show the need for new education programs to
increase the use of bike helmets, according to the study
The researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 1,200
children, median age 13, who were treated for bicycle
accident-related injuries in Los Angeles County between 2006 and
Overall, just over 11 percent of the children were wearing a
helmet at the time of the accident, but there were significant
racial/ethnic differences in helmet use. About 35 percent of white
children wore helmets, compared to 7 percent of Asian children, 6
percent of black children and 4 percent of Hispanic children, the
The investigators also found that children over age 12 were less
likely to wear a helmet and that helmet use was lower among
children with public insurance than among those with private
insurance (7.6 percent versus 15.2 percent), according to the study
presented Oct. 26 at the national conference of the American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in Orlando, Fla.
Nearly 6 percent of the children in the study required emergency
surgery and the death rate was 0.7 percent. Of the nine children
who died, eight were not wearing a helmet.
"Our study highlights the need to target minority groups, older children and those with lower socioeconomic status when implementing bicycle safety programs in Los Angeles County," study author Dr. Veronica Sullins said in an AAP news release.
Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as
preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Each year in the United States, bicycle crashes and
bicycle-related head injuries cause 150,000 emergency department
visits and nearly 400 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more
children and bicycle safety.
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