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Raising awareness- bike helmets, skate parks etc

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Hi forummers

 

I am interested in raising awareness and encouraging use of bike helmets for our children, particularly in skate parks. I notice at my local park (Millhouses) lots of kids doing stunts without helmets. Anyone interested or have ideas?

 

My background is that I work with children with brain injury, including those sustained in parks like this without helmets (or even on their own driveway but this is more difficult to tackle). I also have links with some of the brain injury charities.

 

Obviously people don't like being told what to do including both kids and parents, so I am thinking about how this can be encouraged at our parks by raising awareness of the risks, as I think a lot parents don't realise. Whilst teenagers will do their own thing, I also see nice parents with good kids but no helmet, possibly just not aware of the risks?

 

Interested in thoughts and ideas :)

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Hello SamMT.

 

Given that you work with brain injured children I'm sure you'll be well aware of the wealth of peer reviewed research available that basically says that the protection offered by cycle helmets is very limited, and that in some cases they actually increase the risk of certain types of injury?

 

Of the children that you work with who've suffered traumatic brain injury, I suspect that most of them will have sustained their injuries either as passengers in a car or having been struck by a car as a pedestrian (I also have very many years experience in working with brain injured children and know this to be the case), which really makes me wonder if you'd be better off trying to encourage helmet use for pedestrians and car passengers?

 

There's also lots of research that indicates that increase in cycle helmets among a population leads to an overall adverse health outcome as there is an accompanying decrease in activity levels which leads to an increase in obesity and obesity related illnesses, which in turn has an economic impact on the NHS and wider community at large.

 

There's lots of links to information and research here:

 

http://cyclehelmets.org/

 

Maybe you'd like to take a look at it. Those of us who already have and taken the informed choice that helmets are at best unnecessary and at worst put us at more risk do indeed as you stated, not like being told what to do, especially by someone who appears to have not done their research.

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Whilst I agree with the above regarding ROAD cycling with lightweight helmets, there's a world of difference between that, and a proper skateboard or full-face BMX / Downhill helmet on trails and skate parks!

 

Also small children in parks are offered the best protection by cycle helmets as they tend to have low-speed falls which is EXACTLY what they are designed to protect against.

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Hi scoop

 

Thanks for the reply and for raising this important aspect of the argument. I am aware of a lot of this research, though won't claim to know all of it, so I am going to have a good look through your link. I am open to changing my view.

 

However, I will say that I am concerned in this case about the children I see who are injured in skate parks or away from the road through relatively low impact falls where a helmet is likely to have been of benefit. The RTA cases are another issue and the case of high speed cyclist-vehicle collisions on the road is I agree different kettle of fish when it comes to the benefit of helmet use due to the mechanism, velocity etc and therefore not comparable.

 

With respect to the population research I can't help think there are many other moderating and confounding factors, but I am going to have another look at this in more detail and perhaps come back with some questions.

 

:-)

 

---------- Post added 19-09-2014 at 15:51 ----------

 

Whilst I agree with the above regarding ROAD cycling with lightweight helmets, there's a world of difference between that, and a proper skateboard or full-face BMX / Downhill helmet on trails and skate parks!

 

Also small children in parks are offered the best protection by cycle helmets as they tend to have low-speed falls which is EXACTLY what they are designed to protect against.

 

I think this is one of the points I have tried to make, perhaps a bit better put!

 

---------- Post added 19-09-2014 at 16:02 ----------

 

Upon reflection I feel I should say that with the greatest of respect Scoop, your post is a little aggressive/rude. Even if I am entirely wrong (which I don't think I am but prepare to stand corrected) my intentions are good. I find it a shame that people speak to each other this way. It gives forums a bad reputation and could be quite hurtful. I would have thought that as a moderator your role is to set an example and discourage people from attacking each other on the forum?

Edited by SamMT

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Hi scoop

 

Thanks for the reply and for raising this important aspect of the argument. I am aware of a lot of this research, though won't claim to know all of it, so I am going to have a good look through your link. I am open to changing my view.

 

However, I will say that I am concerned in this case about the children I see who are injured in skate parks or away from the road through relatively low impact falls where a helmet is likely to have been of benefit. The RTA cases are another issue and the case of high speed cyclist-vehicle collisions on the road is I agree different kettle of fish when it comes to the benefit of helmet use due to the mechanism, velocity etc and therefore not comparable.

 

With respect to the population research I can't help think there are many other moderating and confounding factors, but I am going to have another look at this in more detail and perhaps come back with some questions.

 

:-)

 

---------- Post added 19-09-2014 at 15:51 ----------

 

 

I think this is one of the points I have tried to make, perhaps a bit better put!

 

---------- Post added 19-09-2014 at 16:02 ----------

 

Upon reflection I feel I should say that with the greatest of respect Scoop, your post is a little aggressive/rude. Even if I am entirely wrong (which I don't think I am but prepare to stand corrected) my intentions are good. I find it a shame that people speak to each other this way. It gives forums a bad reputation and could be quite hurtful. I would have thought that as a moderator your role is to set an example and discourage people from attacking each other on the forum?

 

I appreciate your intentions are good, and I think that yes, you have very definitely you have misread my post.

Having said that, cycle helmet promotion is a very emotive topic and one that I feel very passionately about. It's a subject that many people know very little about, but feel that they have the right to harangue those of us that have made an educated decision about.

It just seems to me that actually, very, very few traumatic brain injuries are sustained in the way that you suggest and that if you genuinely wanted to have some impact on reducing traumatic brain injury in children, your efforts would be better directed at reducing pedestrian/motor collisions, which are the biggest risk to our children.

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Scoop, I can tell this is a topic that is emotive for you, though I suggest that I have not definitely misread your post as I don't have any problems reading and again this clearly shifts the blame onto me with no responsibility for that fact that your words are at best rather open to interpretation. But perhaps we agree to disagree on that.

 

Back to the subject, I am not sure that one can make a confident single educated decision about helmet use based on the current research, as it does not appear to generalise to all settings. However the research is dense and I do want to come back to this having taken more time, and in the meantime I concede to not bang my drum until I have done so.

 

How my efforts are better directed is probably up to me to decide but in my view I see skate parks as an area where helmets are more likely to be effective and where helmet use is easier to influence. I see enough of these type of injuries for it to matter, usually as outpatients with more subtle injury, but still with devastating consequences.

 

Thank you for pointing me in the direction of some further research. There are some new papers I had not seen. I am not sure that so far my conclusions are the same as yours, particularly when it comes to children riding away from the road, but I want to look into it some more, and urge others reading this not to jump to conclusions that helmets for their children are pointless.

 

Anyway it is the weekend now- nearly time for a glass of wine. I wonder if we know each other ;-)

Edited by SamMT

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Skatepark users are at much more risk from broken wrists and ankles than head injuries but compared to other sports they're surprisingly safe past-times. Also if you're going to wear a helmet then it would be much more advisable to use one that's designed for purpose. A skateboard/ bmx/ scooter helmet have a lower back that offers support when falling backwards, which is rarely the case with standard cycle riding. They're also much more robust than a regular 'single accident' cycle helmet.

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Not too worried about broken wrists and ankles as they can usually be fairly easily fixed :)

 

I would like to learn more about the mechanics of the skateboard/ bmx/ scooter helmet upon impact from different angles. It seems generally a lot more robust for children and in particular less prone to being pushed backwards and exposing the forehead compared to the standard cycle helmet. Keep thinking about getting one for my kids. One of mine could do with wearing one permanently :hihi:

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OP, I think Squiggs was merely trying to stand up for you against a poster who was dismissing what you said without reading your post properly.

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OP, I think Squiggs was merely trying to stand up for you against a poster who was dismissing what you said without reading your post properly.

 

I thought that Squiggs probably explained it a bit better than I, hence why I thought I would quote those words rather than trying to make the point myself! :) Apologies if it looked like I was saying "I already said that", I was meaning to say "hear hear"!

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My background is that I work with children with brain injury, including those sustained in parks like this without helmets...

 

What proportion of the children you work with sustained their head injury in skateparks? (as compared to those who sustained their injury elsewhere e.g. car accidents etc).

 

I was under the impression that head injuries in skateparks were fairly rare.

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