For Immediate Release
Dec. 6, 2011
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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If you are buying your child a new bike this
holiday season, throw in a new helmet too, suggest Texas Medical Association
(TMA) physicians. Your child’s old helmet or a sibling’s hand-me-down helmet may
not provide the head protection needed, and could be dangerous to your child’s
Even if your child’s old helmet appears in good
shape, “there may be unseen dangers that could lessen its benefit,” cautions
Craig Manifold, MD, emergency physician and a member of TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads
“It’s hard to see if a child’s helmet is damaged
or not,” he says. When a helmet is involved in a crash, the inside foam crushes
to absorb the impact. After the crash, the crushed foam no longer protects
properly, even if the outside shell appears unharmed. To guarantee safety, Dr.
Manifold says parents should always discard helmets after an accident and
purchase a new helmet.
Used or hand-me down helmets also carry safety risks:
Worn-out chin straps let helmets sit incorrectly on heads, and ozone and
sunlight weaken and crack the outer plastic shell over time. The tiniest of these
cracks can split open during a fall, injuring a child’s head. During scorching Texas
summers, Dr. Manifold says, it’s important to “keep helmets stored in areas
away from extreme heat” to prevent further damage.
Helmet manufacturers recommend replacing helmets
every three years, even if they have not been involved in a crash. Inexpensive,
new helmets are safe and as effective at preventing a head injury as expensive ones.
Texas physicians work year-round to encourage
safe cycling. TMA’s Hard Hats for
Little Heads program encourages children and adults to wear helmets. The program
has donated more than
100,000 new helmets to Texas children since 1994.
TMA urges children and adults to stay active and
safe this holiday season: Wear the appropriate helmet for the appropriate
sport, and ensure it is properly fitted and structurally sound.
“Always wear a helmet, not just when bicycling,
but also when skateboarding, horseback riding, and participating in other
sports,” adds Dr. Manifold. “It can save your life.”
TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads is sponsored by the association's philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, thanks to generous donations from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Prudential Financial, and gifts from physicians and their families. TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 45,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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