Pediatric Trauma Society

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Survey of Access to and Attitudes towards Helmet Use in an Inner City General Pediatrics Ward
Claire Terez, Samantha Pettigrew, Erica Gennaro, Christin Traba
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ

Background: Despite educational interventions, children continue to present to the hospital with TBI symptoms following bicycle accidents. Access to and attitudes towards helmets in an urban, inner city environment have not been well described. This data may lead to the development of educational and other interventions to increase helmet use in the inner city.
Methods: Surveys assessing access to helmets, frequency of use, and attitudes toward use were administered to parents/guardians of children in an inner-city general pediatrics ward. Participants were selected for age >5 and bicycle use at least once/month.
Results: Preliminary results (n=83) show about half the children surveyed either do not have access to a helmet (29%) or have a helmet that does not fit (18%). Of those that do not have access to a helmet, the majority cite their reasons as either “unnecessary” (67%) or “uncomfortable” (28%). No surveys cited “cost”. Additionally while riding a bicycle, 24% “always” wear a helmet and of those that ride daily only 10% “always” wear a helmet. Those who use skateboards/rollerblades/scooters are equally likely to “always” wear a helmet (26%) and are more likely to “never” wear a helmet (26% vs. 13%). Children less than twelve years are more likely to “always” wear helmets while riding a bike (28%) than children >/= to twelve (17%). Adult helmet use was 12%.
Conclusions: Many children in the inner city continue to lack access to helmets and inconsistently use helmets while riding a bicycle or equivalent. Our data demonstrates need for further educational initiatives aimed towards teenagers, parents/guardians and riders of skateboards/rollerblades/scooters.


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