health

He didn't want to wear it. But his mum insisted. And it saved his life.

One toddler is a great example of why we should be putting bicycle helmets on children.

Two year old, James Hay was hit by a car and dragged underneath it while riding his scooter on a footpath in suburban Melbourne. He was being supervised by his mother at the time, on their regular walk.

Luckily, James escaped with a few broken bones and some cuts and bruises reports the Herald Sun.

However, James’ shattered helmet suggests his injuries may have been much worse had he not been wearing it. The helmet broke into over 8 separate pieces. Imagining the alternative is truly horrifying.

Australia is one of only a few countries with mandatory helmet laws. They were introduced in the early 90s after trauma surgeons raised concerns about the impacts of bicycle accidents. But there have been discussions recently about just how effective helmets are and whether or not we should persist with mandatory helmet laws in Australia.

Most notably, health blogger and sugar-free guru Sarah Wilson has been arguing against mandatory helmet laws since 2010. She argues that helmets do not reduce brain trauma in bicycle accidents and at best only prevent cuts to the head. Wilson also argues that mandatory helmet laws discourage people from getting on their bikes.

Do you let your children go without a helmet?

A range of anti-helmet lobby groups make the case for helmet free riding, arguing that hospital admissions have gone up since mandatory helmet laws were introduced and that they have in fact damaged public health.

However Kidsafe, the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia, says helmets help reduce injuries and advocates that children wear a helmet if they are riding, skating, rollerblading or scootering and even when they are in a bicycle trailer.

Research has found that since mandatory helmet laws were introduced head injuries fell dramatically, compared to arm injuries in bicycle accidents.

However you feel about mandatory helmet laws, a helmet probably saved little James Hay’s life.

Parents spend a great deal of their time making risk assessments; literally analysing the likelihood that an accident will happen and weighing that against the likely outcome of an accident. In most situations the likelihood of a child having a critical accident while riding a bicycle or scooter is low, but the outcomes of critical accidents are so awful that when you stack it, wearing a helmet stacks up.

Do your children wear bike helmets?

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