BCM trainees promote bicycle safety for kids

November 1, 2010

A BCM resident helps a child put on a bike helmet.

Some Houston area youngsters are better protected from injury while riding their bikes thanks to volunteers from Baylor College of Medicine.

Residents from internal medicine and pediatrics, along with some faculty members and medical students, volunteered at a community event on Oct. 30, where they gave away 150 bicycle helmets to local kids. It was held at the Harris County Hospital District's Martin Luther King Jr. Community Health Center.

Bicycle injuries and fatalities are a serious health concern. According to the Texas Medical Association, an average of 250 children under the age of 14 die each year in the United States because of bicycle crashes. Another 300,000 children are treated in emergency centers for severe head injuries. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent, yet only about 40 percent of cyclists wear one when they ride.

The MLK Community Health Center bicycle helmet giveaway is part of a statewide program called Hard Hats for Little Heads, launched by the TMA in 1994. The program is designed to educate children and their parents about how to prevent head injuries by wearing a helmet correctly while bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding and riding scooters.

"Bike riding is an essential part of childhood, and this event is a way we could help keep kids active and safe," said Gretchen Winter, a third-year medical student at Baylor College of Medicine and one of the organizers of the event.