Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/21/2021 --Each year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, more than 3.5 million children 14 and under are treated for injuries from bicycle, roller blade, skateboarding, and other sports related activities.
Intermountain Healthcare hospitals and clinics have seen an increase in the number of outdoor and ATV accidents this year as people stop quarantining due to the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to enjoy more outdoor activities.
Individuals planning on riding a bike, a motorcycle, or even go rollerblading should always wearing a helmet. It can help prevent a traumatic brain injury.
"The huge key to saving your life is wearing the right equipment – including a helmet," said Don Van Boerum, MD, medical director of the Level I Trauma Program at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. "People involved in accidents wearing helmets are far more likely to survive and get back on that bike, scooter, or ATV. Those who don't wear a helmet end up with a longer recovery time or don't recover at all."
Different activities require different types of helmets. A helmet for an ATV is different than a bike helmet.
"For ATVs, motorcycle riding, for sure the ones that have the full face, covers up the jaw. These makes a big difference as far as facial injuries and head injuries," said Dr. Van Boerum.
Utah has more traumatic brain injuries among children than almost any other state in the country, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control. Sadly, ATV crashes play a major role in that statistic. Simply wearing a helmet, even for short rides, goes a long way in keeping everyone safe.
Kids outgrow helmets like they outgrow everything else. Parents should make sure that helmet still fits before the first ride of the year. A helmet should not move from side to side or back and forth. There should only be about one finger width between the chin strap and the chin.
"People grow and a helmet that is not appropriately sized, while it may still provide some protection it is not providing all the protection," said Dr. Van Boerum.
Parents should regularly upgrade or replace helmets. Especially if the helmet has been in any type of crash.
"You cannot always see the cracks the micro cracks that occur inside the helmet. Outside it looks like it's fine, but inside it doesn't have the same ability to disperse forces with a second hit," said Dr. Van Boerum.
Dr. Van Boerum also says to not forget to check the expiration date of all helmets. Most helmets are designed to last about two to five seasons, and only one impact – similar to air bags in a car. Hair products, sweat, and cleaning solutions can break down the liner and interior padding of helmets.
"There's a life span for the helmets where materials on the inside the padding or the shell itself actually degrades," said Dr. Van Boerum. "Replacing a helmet can add up, but it's cheaper than a trip to the emergency department."
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery. For more information about Intermountain, visit intermountainhealthcare.org, read our blogs, connect with us on Twitter and Facebook, or follow us on LinkedIn, and YouTube.