DEAR ABBY: Something happened yesterday that makes me want to stress the importance of bicycle helmets, even on toddlers who ride little ride-on toys. My 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son were riding their bikes on our sidewalk when my son accidentally bumped into the back of his sister's bike. The bike slid out from under her and she fell backward, hitting her head on the concrete. Fortunately she was wearing a helmet and was not injured.
I always thought I was a little overprotective making my young children wear helmets when I didn't think they could get seriously injured in a fall from such a small vehicle. But I felt it was a good habit to get into for when they were older. Now I'm grateful I listened to that "sixth sense" and avoided what could have been a serious head injury. We were lucky we were able to spend the rest of my husband's birthday having fun instead of sitting in the emergency room.
- Virginia Briggs, Levittown, Pa.
DEAR VIRGINIA: You are a wise and conscientious mother for realizing that an innocent bike ride can be dangerous for children who aren't wearing bicycle helmets. Helmets can prevent an estimated 85 percent of serious head injuries. Look for the "SNELL" certification sticker. Helmet models carrying that decal have met rigorous standards in tests performed by the Snell Memorial Foundation.
Bicycle helmets save lives. There's no better reason to insist that your child wears one.
P.S. Helmets are also essential safety gear for other sports such as inline skating, etc.