Many years ago I sent a commentary that was published in the Enterprise about an experience I had in a local emergency room.
While waiting for my son to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon after a fall he sustained playing recreational basketball, a young teenage boy was brought in by ambulance. Given that, at that time, emergency room cubicles were practically on top of each other, and it was rather easy to hear what was being said, it became apparent that this boy was found on the side of the road after having fallen off his bicycle.
Unconscious from a seeming head injury, emergency personnel had no idea who this teen was, nor any identification with which to reach his family. The reason I am telling this story again is because of my recent observations about the lack of bicycle helmet use that seems to abound all around Sandwich. Because of the beautiful weather this summer, I have been a frequent walker on the canal. I am constantly amazed at the number of families that ride by with children in bicycle helmets and parents without.
One of the most prominent developmental theorists, Alfred Bandura, demonstrated repeatedly that one of the most important ways children (and adults as well) learn is through modeling the behavior of others. I have been a pediatric nurse for many years and know this to be true. Children who do not see their close adults wearing bicycle helmets tend to do the same when older and out of parents’ view.
Once again, I would encourage your readers to please wear helmets when riding bicycles. Adults do not usually anticipate falling, but a fall can happen in seconds. Head trauma can be just as serious in adults, if not more so, than in children. And one more recommendation for readers: Put your contact phone number on the inside of your or your child’s helmet, so in case of an injury from a bicycle crash, emergency personnel can be in touch immediately.
Susan R. James PhD, RN