Use your head and wear a helmet

There are six inches of irreplaceable matter between your ears that can be preserved by wearing a safety helmet that matter is your brain.

When participating in biking, skating, skateboarding  and other recreational  activities that recommend a helmet, you should wear one. Currently in our community,  only about 41 percent of bicyclists wear a helmet when biking. The burden of injury is not only costly, but also devastating to the individual  and family who experience  the injury. Injuries can range from minor abrasions to actual death from not wearing a helmet.  The types of injuries can vary from contusions, broken bones and blunt trauma to traumatic brain injuries. Safe Kids Worldwide reported that in 2013, 238,337 children 19 and younger were seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to riding bikes, 84,911 from using skateboards and 5,517 from skating. The number  of deaths was 118 and 89 percent of the deaths were boys. The Centers for Disease  Control and Prevention  reported in 2000 that the U.S. paid more than $87 billion in medical and other costs, including work loss by family members  who cared for injured  children. When the reduced quality of life of injured children and their families is added in, unintentional  injuries cost more than $200 billion each year. The potential risk of injury is always present. Kids are always playing and taking inherent risks that come with childhood. Three out of four children in the U.S. ride bikes and about half do not wear a helmet.

The good news is inexpensive  helmets can help decrease the severity  of injury significantly. Safe Kids Worldwide reports helmets can prevent  up to 88 percent of severe brain injuries. Helmets can decrease the severity of facial injury, head injury and decrease fatal injuries by 29 percent.  The effectiveness of safety initiatives and helmet use shows that since 1999, bike-related fatalities and the death rate among children ages 19 and younger has decreased  54 percent. Things that can help prevent  injuries is parents leading by example by wearing helmets and participating in safety education events in the community.

In our community, Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center and Clinic, the Sheboygan County Public Health Department, the Sheboygan  Police Department, the Kohler Police Department,  Orange Cross Ambulance  Service, the Sheboygan  Fire Department and Book Worm Gardens have supported activities like bike rodeos and have provided bike helmets either at cost or free at different events in Sheboygan  County during late spring and early summer. Watch for posted  fliers at Aurora clinics, schools and other community  businesses for an opportunity to obtain a bike helmet this year.

Remember, when a safety helmet is recommended, “use your head, wear a helmet.”

Craig Schicker is the manager of emergency services at Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center.