By Dr. Herath Wijerathna
Reliant Medical Group Internal Medicine
Each year, more than 300,000 children go to the emergency room due to injuries caused on a bike. Accidents and falls while riding a bike can be very serious, especially head injuries. A simple $20.00 bike helmet can lessen the chance of a serious head injury and even save lives. In fact, it is believed that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injuries to bicyclists by as much as 85%.
For proper safety, it’s important to make sure you pick a bike helmet that fits right and is suitable for you or your child. Most bicycle helmets are made of a foam material with a thin plastic shell. They are carefully designed to prevent head injuries. All approved bike helmets must meet standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If you don’t see a CPSC sticker inside the helmet, keep searching for one that does. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when buying a helmet:
- Look for a helmet with a sturdy strap and a smoothly rounded outer shell.
- Dark helmets can be hard for motorists to see, so look for brighter-colored helmets that can provide more visibility.
- Helmets that feature a large number of air vents for ventilation may not provide as much protection as other helmets.
- Avoid “aero” style helmets as the tail of the helmet can cause it to snag or pivot during a crash.
- Helmet visors should be flexible, not rigid, so they will have less chance of snagging or shattering in a fall.
Keep in mind that in order for a bicycle helmet to give full protection, it has to fit properly. To learn the proper way to fit a bicycle helmet, please follow this link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website which shows all the proper steps of fitting a bike helmet.
If you have children, it’s a good idea to start the helmet-wearing habit early. Even kids on a tricycle should wear a bicycle helmet. Letting your child choose their own helmet may make them more apt to wear it. Keep in mind a bicycle helmet can also be used for protection while roller skating or using a scooter.
About Herath Nirmala Wijerathna, MD
Growing up in Sri Lanka, Dr. Herath Wijerathna knew she wanted to be a doctor even before she started grade school. “Many kids outgrow that feeling, but for me it never changed over time,” she explains. “I just knew that I wanted to work with people and very early on I realized medicine was my way of getting there.”
An internist, Dr. Wijerathna enjoys the challenge of working in adult medicine. “It’s very interesting,...View profile View posts by this doctor