5-year old Spreads Helmet Message

A simple accessory could keep you or your child from being seriously hurt.

Each year, more than 280,000 people end up in the emergency room with bicycle-related injuries. Nearly half of those are head injuries.

Five-year old Reagan Rohr has a message she hopes will click about how helmets can help. Her dad, Larry, says every since she started riding a bike, she never leaves without a helmet on.

It's a good thing. On April 15th, Reagan was riding her bike while her parents walked on either side. Larry says he heard the car sound and started to turn his head, and he was hit. So was Reagan.

"The car hit my training wheel and it made me flip over the handlebars," she said.

Larry went up over the car's windshield and broke both legs. Amazingly, Reagan had just bumps and bruises. It could have been worse - the impact cracked her bike helmet. If she hadn't been wearing the helmet, she says, "My head would have gotten hurt."

It's a lesson Stormont-Vail TraumaCare manager Scott Harrison says most people learn too late. He says helmets could prevent 85- to 90-percent of head injuries. He says the head is vulnerable and the skull is thin. Plus, he says when you're holding the handlebars, it's not as easy to catch yourself when you fall.

Besides putting the helmet on, make sure it fits correctly. Harrison says it needs to be snug but not too tight. He says a finger-width under the chin is a good guide. He says it should also sit level at the eyebrow.

Reagan now has a new helmet, and a new lesson she's sharing.

"You should always wear a bike helmet," she says. "It's not a choice."

As her parents know, you don't get to choose when it will be needed.

"It just takes that one time," Larry says. "You never know when it's going to happen."

Harrison says parents should set the example. Children will model their parents' behavior, and It's just as important for adults to wear bike helmets, too.

For more information on the importance of bike helmets, visit Safe Kids USA.

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