Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

May 23, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

May is National Bike Month

Safe Kids Kansas distributes over 106,000 helmets statewide

Bicycles are associated with more childhood injuries than any other consumer product except the automobile. Children ages 14 and under are five times more likely to be injured in a bicycle-related crash than older riders. On average, 168 Kansas children ages 0-14 die or are injured as a result of bike crashes in traffic each year. Of these, nearly half (45 percent) have traumatic brain injuries. Properly fitted bike helmets could reduce the risk of bike-related brain injuries by 88 percent; however, fewer than half of cyclists ages 14 and under usually wear a helmet.

“A properly worn bike helmet is essential safety gear. Safe Kids Kansas is proud to have led the way in providing bike helmets to Kansas children. Since the inception of our Safe Kids Cycle Smart program, over 106,000 low-cost and free bike helmets have been distributed to children as a part of local bike safety programs throughout the state,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas coordinator. “The program has been credited with 10 lives saved.” If your community group would like to provide helmets as part of a bike safety program, please contact Safe Kids Kansas at 785-296-0351.

Motor vehicles are involved in approximately 90 percent of fatal bike crashes, with most crashes occurring within one mile of the bicyclist’s home. “Teach kids to obey traffic signs and the rules of the road. Kids should not ride without supervision until they have demonstrated that they know and always follow the rules,” says Stegelman.

A helmet should be labeled to indicate that it meets the standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. As long as it’s certified and brand new, Stegelman says, “Let kids pick out their own helmets. If they think a helmet looks cool, they’ll be more likely to wear it when you’re not around.”  

Safe Kids Kansas also reminds parents and caregivers to:

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14. Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Republic, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area. Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide , a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.