With the return of summer and bike riding season, the Hard Head Patrol from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is once again hitting the streets. Children’s Director of Trauma and Injury Barbara Gaines says about 70 employee volunteers will be on the streets watching for young bikers without helmets. If they find one the child will be given a coupon to attend one of ten free bike helmet fittings where experts give the juvenile a new helmet and teach them how to properly wear it.
Gaines says every year the emergency room staff admits 150 – 175 kids who suffer head injuries while riding their bikes. She says 85% of those injures could have been prevent if the child would have been wearing a helmet.
The volunteers also hand out rewards for kids wearing their helmets. This year it is a Giant Eagle cookie card. Gaines says it is important to also give an incentive to wear the protective gear.
Last year the hospital handed out 1,700 helmets during the Hard Head summer program and another 1,000 helmets through other efforts. Volunteers also handed out 2,500 reward cards.
Gaines says ay child who comes to a fitting event without a helmet will be given one. She says the coupons simply serve as a good reminder for the kids and their parents.
This summer’s first Hard Head helmet fitting event will be held at the Kohl’s Department store in Robinson from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. A full list of fitting can be found online.