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Child bicycle helmet promotion programs

Health Factors: Community Safety
Decision Makers: Educators Employers & Businesses Healthcare Professionals & Advocates Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Bicycle helmet promotion programs may include health education, media campaigns, or free or subsidized helmets (Cochrane-Owen 2011). Respondents to a national 2012 survey reported that 45% of children always wear a helmet, and 18% never wear a helmet (NHTSA-Schroeder 2013). Helmets offer protection for bicyclists and bike passengers (Uibel 2012).

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased helmet use
Reduced fatal and non-fatal injuries
Reduced health care costs

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that helmet promotion programs increase children’s likelihood of wearing helmets while bicycling (Cochrane-Owen 2011, Nauta 2014). Some educational programs can also teach children how to wear helmets correctly (Uibel 2012, Cusimano 2013, Hooshmand 2014); correct helmet wearing maximizes protection against head injury and fatality (Cusimano 2013).

Programs targeted at children under age 12 can increase helmet wearing more than programs for children of all ages (Cochrane-Owen 2011). Community-, school-, and health care- based programs appear to increase helmet wearing; community-based programs may increase helmet wearing more than school-based programs (Cochrane-Owen 2011). Programs that give helmets away appear to increase helmet wearing more than programs that subsidize helmets or offer education only (Cochrane-Owen 2011, Nauta 2014). 

Low income children appear to use helmets less than their wealthier counterparts. One program in a disadvantaged neighborhood appeared to reduce inequalities in helmet ownership (Cochrane-Owen 2011).

Children’s helmets purchased in bulk generally cost programs $10 to $13 per helmet. Researchers estimate that each helmet saves an average of $440 over five years in medical and insurance costs. One analysis suggests that HMOs offering a children’s helmet subsidy would save money if helmet use reached 50% among those they insure (Miller 2000).

Implementation

United States

There are many bicycle helmet promotion programs in the United States.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers bicycle safety resources for bicyclists and those who teach about bicycle safety (WI-DOT-Bicycle).

Implementation Resources

BHSI - Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI). Accessed on January 14, 2016
PBIC-Helmet - Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC). Helmet guidelines. Accessed on December 15, 2015

Citations - Description

Cochrane-Owen 2011* - Owen R, Kendrick D, Mulvaney C, Coleman T, Royal S. Non-legislative interventions for the promotion of cycle helmet wearing by children. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. 2011;(11):CD003985. Accessed on January 20, 2016
NHTSA-Schroeder 2013 - Schroeder P, Wilbur M. 2012 National survey of bicyclist and pedestrian attitudes and behavior, volume 2: Findings report (Report No. DOT HS 811 841 B). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); 2013. Accessed on January 14, 2016
Uibel 2012 - Uibel S, Müller D, Klingelhoefer D, Groneberg DA. Bicycle helmet use and non-use - recently published research. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology. 2012;7:9. Accessed on December 28, 2015

Citations - Evidence

Cochrane-Owen 2011* - Owen R, Kendrick D, Mulvaney C, Coleman T, Royal S. Non-legislative interventions for the promotion of cycle helmet wearing by children. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews. 2011;(11):CD003985. Accessed on January 20, 2016
Cusimano 2013 - Cusimano MD, Faress A, Luong WP, et al. Evaluation of a bicycle helmet safety program for children. Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. 2013;40(5):710–6. Accessed on January 11, 2016
Hooshmand 2014* - Hooshmand J, Hotz G, Neilson V, Chandler L. BikeSafe: Evaluating a bicycle safety program for middle school aged children. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2014;66:182–6. Accessed on December 16, 2015
Miller 2000* - Miller TR, Levy DT. Cost-outcome analysis in injury prevention and control: Eighty-four recent estimates for the United States. Medical Care. 2000;38(6):562-82. Accessed on March 1, 2016
Nauta 2014* - Nauta J, van Mechelen W, Otten RHJ, Verhagen EAL. A systematic review on the effectiveness of school and community-based injury prevention programmes on risk behaviour and injury risk in 8-12 year old children. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2014;17(2):165–72. Accessed on January 12, 2016
Uibel 2012 - Uibel S, Müller D, Klingelhoefer D, Groneberg DA. Bicycle helmet use and non-use - recently published research. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology. 2012;7:9. Accessed on December 28, 2015

Citations - Implementation

WI-DOT-Bicycle - Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Bicycle safety resources. Accessed on February 2, 2016

Page Last Updated

March 3, 2015

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