Tricycle Safety. Tricycle Helmets?
Summary: Don Colburn's article on tricycle helmets points out some good reasons for using them. This page applies to
child tricycle riders, since we believe that adults on trikes need a bicycle helmet.
Even Toddlers on Trikes Benefit from Helmets
Preschool cyclists, even those on tricycles, benefit from wearing helmets as much as older children, a national study
Even young children who do not ride cycles in the street sustain severe injuries and need protection from head injury,"
researchers concluded. Although children under age 5 account for a small percentage of bike-riding injuries, the new
study found, their injuries are comparable in severity to those of older children.
The study is based on a nationwide database of pediatric trauma cases, including 4,041 children hospitalized for
bicycle-related injuries. About 5 percent of the injured children--219 in all--were under age 5; the rest were 5 to 14
years old. Tricycle-related injuries were counted as bicycle injuries in the database.
Almost none of the injured children--less than 3 percent of the preschoolers and about 3 percent of those aged 5 to
14--wore a helmet at the time of their injury. Head trauma was the most common serious injury among both older and
younger children hospitalized after bicycling mishaps.
While most injury-prevention efforts are aimed at school-age children and adolescents, researchers said the wear-a-helmet
message should target preschoolers as well. An estimated 200,000 to 300,000 bicycles for preschool-age children are sold
each year in the United States.
Helmet use by young children would likely prevent most head injuries [in cyclists] and might help form habits that would
result in improved helmet use rates as these young cyclists grow older," researchers concluded.
The study was conducted by a team from Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago
and Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. The results were published in this month's Annals of Emergency
Aside from the severity, which was similar, researchers found a slightly different pattern of injuries in very young
cyclists, compared with older ones. Preschool riders are more likely than older ones to be injured in the driveway or
yard, and less likely to be hurt in the street. They were also less likely than older riders to be involved in crashes
with motor vehicles.
Confirmation from Wisconsin:
CDC Article on child pedaling injuries includes trikes
The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has published an article
on a Wisconsin study
confirming that tricycle helmets can reduce injuries among children and promote helmet-wearing
habits for later life.
And just in time, a tricycle helmet
The Angeles Group is primarily a tricycle and baby buggy manufacturer, but they have "trike" helmets. The Angeles Toddler
Trike Helmet now sells for about $33. It is among the smallest toddler helmets on the market, designed for heads as small
as 18"/45.7cm. It is advertised as meeting both the CPSC standard and the Snell B95A standard.
Here is a great pamphlet:
First Wheels, First Helmets
It was developed by the Monroe, WI, Safe Kids Coalition to encourage parents to put helmets on their kids when they first
get a wheeled vehicle. It can be printed out in color or black-and-white and the photos still look good. For two sided
printing, use the "flip on short edge" setting. Then fold it in thirds.
New Mexico Makes it Law
New Mexico passed a state law that went into effect in July, 2007 that includes a requirement for helmets for tricycle
riders. It also covers both riders and passengers on bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and skates.
State injury prevention advocate John McPhee
says "I know basically everyone
is hesitant to include tricycles, but the NM Pediatric Society asked us for this inclusion, as they estimated that one
third of all head injuries under the age of 5 years were due to riding tricycles, because this age group does not have
adequate depth perception, peripheral vision, sense of danger, and sufficient coordination, in addition to the fact that
they are not high profile enough to be readily seen by any motor vehicle operator."
And we should add: Warning! No Helmets on Playgrounds!
In February, 1999, the first strangulation incident in the US involving a bike helmet on playground equipment occurred.
Be sure to teach your child to remove their helmet before using playground equipment or climbing trees! Here is a page of
information on that problem