CPSC Reminds Bicyclists to "Use Your Head by Wearing a Helmet".
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has been reporting for years that wearing a helmet while riding a bike can save your life. Cole Kertz, an 8-year-old from Bloomington, Ill.,can now vouch for this first-hand. Doctors tell him if he had not been wearing his helmet, he would have died last summer when he crashed into a pole while riding his bike. Even with the helmet, he suffered a severely broken jaw, which had to be wired shut to heal. Cole is better now and using his experience to spread the word about how important bike helmets can be. "Some of the other kids at school didn't used to wear helmets," said Cole. But after his return to school last fall with the injury still healing, and after hearing the
story of how his helmet saved him, Cole thinks it has convinced his friends to always wear a helmet. "I guess they thought, 'I don't want to die.' "
"Each year, about 900 bicyclists do die, and more than a half- million bike riders are injured seriously enough to go to hospital emergency rooms," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Use your head by wearing a helmet, like Cole did. It can not only reduce the severity of head injuries suffered by bicyclists, it can save your life."
According to a survey released in 1999 by CPSC and the McDonald's Corp., only about 50 percent of bicycle riders in the U.S. regularly wear bike helmets. Of the estimated 80 million bike riders, 43 percent never wear a helmet and 7 percent wear helmets less than half the time.
According to the CPSC, not only do bicyclists of all ages need to always wear helmets when biking, they also need to make sure their helmet fits properly. Helmets should be worn low on the forehead, about two finger widths above the eyebrows. They should sit evenly between the
ears and flat on the head. Tighten the chin straps and adjust the pads inside so the helmet feels snug and secure, and doesn't move up and down or from side to side.
When purchasing a new helmet, bicyclists should make sure it meets the current safety standard issued by CPSC. The standard ensures that helmets provide excellent head protection and that the chin straps are strong enough to keep a helmet on the head and in place during a fall or
collision. Look for a label inside the helmet which states it is certified to comply with CPSC's standard.
For more tips on bicycle safety and information on recalls involving bicycles and bike helmets, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772, or go to CPSC's web site at www.cpsc.gov.
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