Bike riders 16 and under are also required to wear a helmet in Florida. Melvin says the best way to ensure your children adhere to this is by wearing one, too. “Children learn best by example,” she said. “If they see you in a helmet, they are more likely to wear theirs.”
Phyllis Hendry, MD, is the pediatric medical director of UF Health TraumaOne. She says helmets are as vital in bicycle riding as they are in sports.
“Wearing a helmet is similar to wearing a seat belt,” Hendry said. “It doesn’t mean you won’t get into an accident or have a head injury, but it definitely lowers the severity of the injury.”
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when there is a disruption or change in the normal brain function that can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. The four common causes of TBIs are falls, motor vehicle or traffic accidents, collisions of any kind and assaults.
“Symptoms can range from headache, vomiting and fatigue, to being unresponsive or having seizures,” Hendry said. “Symptoms can last hours, days or, in severe cases, be permanent. The effects of a TBI or concussion can include impairment to thinking, memory, movement, vision, hearing or emotions, such as personality changes and depression. Fortunately, most patients with TBIs fully recover over a period of days to weeks; however, severe cases not only affect the child, but also have lasting effects on families and siblings.”