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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 64  |  August 11, 2020


Guest Column

Wearing a helmet can save your life

By Dr. Tetsuya Takeuchi, FACS

Trauma Medical Director, Mission Hospital

You may have noticed an increased number of kids and families riding bikes, scooters, and skateboards this summer. In Laguna Beach and other South Orange County communities, roller skates and roller blades are making a comeback too. And yet, some parents, their kids, and even adults make the decision to not wear a helmet.

I work day-in and day-out in Mission Hospital’s trauma center, and I can tell you that the number of people we treat for bike, scooter, skateboard, and roller skating injuries, including concussions due to not wearing a helmet, has doubled compared to this time last summer.

Guest Column Dr. Tetsuya Takeuchi

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Submitted photo

Dr. Tetsuya Takeuchi

We’re not alone – emergency rooms and trauma centers in cities across the county have also seen an increase in these injuries. And, with social and physical distancing measures likely to continue into the fall, we anticipate that activities like cycling, skateboarding, and roller skating will continue to be popular. 

The good news is that it’s easy for parents and other adults to help protect children of all ages (and themselves) from getting injured by wearing a helmet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while there is no concussion-proof helmet, it can still protect kids, teens, and adults from a serious brain or head injury. 

Finding the right helmet

Making sure that the helmet fits correctly is extremely important, according to the CDC. Measure the head with a soft tape measure and compare it to the size chart on the helmet you are looking to purchase. Remember: sizing can change based on the brand of the helmet. 

Helmets should fit snugly all around the head – there shouldn’t be space between the foam on the back and front of the rider’s head. If your helmet is giving you or your child a headache, loosen the chin straps or remove a couple of the foam pads.

Taking care of your helmet

Never ride your bike or scooter or skateboard and roller skates with a broken, cracked helmet that may or may not be missing parts. This puts parents, kids, and adults at greater risk for developing a head injury if they fall or crash.

Instead, always inspect your helmet before putting it on your head. And, make sure to never store your helmet in your car. It should be stored in a place that doesn’t get too hot or cold and keep it away from direct sunlight.

If your helmet has been damaged or was worn in a crash, immediately replace it. Helmets are designed to protect a rider or skater’s head from one serious impact. You might not be able to see the damage with the naked eye, but it is there. 

Parents and adults – please remember to set a good example for our community’s kids and wear a helmet. This helps to protect them and you from a severe head or brain injury.

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

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Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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