Monday, August 21, 2017

A Local Story: Bike Helmets Save Lives

Gracie Leftin practices helmet safety while riding her scooter.
What was a relaxing day on summer vacation turned into an event the Leftins of Fort Thomas will never forget.

The Leftins 8-year-old daughter, Gracie was out for a ride on her scooter when she hit some uneven pavement and fell to the ground hitting face first. Katy, her mother who was on a bike ride ahead got the call from the relative who was with Gracie and remembers hearing the ambulances, rushing back and seeing her daughter scared with no color in her lips.

"It was one of the most frightening moments as a mom," Leftin said.

At the scene, paramedics and police officers thanked Gracie for having her helmet on and commented that it probably saved her life and from more serious injuries. Fortunately, Gracie only suffered some cuts and scrapes to her face and hands. At the hospital, Leftin said the nurses and doctor also thanked Gracie for wearing her helmet.

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Although Leftin says she often let Gracie take her scooter out at home without a helmet, she now says never again. She and her husband also plan on buying helmets because they are not just for kids. This incident has made them realize how extremely important bike and scooter helmet safety is. Leftin also commented she often observes kids in the neighborhood riding in the street without them.

According to statistics, helmets reduce the risk of severe brain injuries up to eighty percent and the odds of head, face or neck injury by 33 percent.

The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that in 2015 in the United States, more than 1000 bicyclists died and there were almost 467,000 bicycle related injuries.

Wearing a properly fitted helmet and following bike/scooter safety procedures such as riding in a bicycle lane where possible can greatly reduce these stats.

Although it is not illegal not wearing a helmet, Lt. Rich Whitford of the Fort Thomas Police Department says he encourages everyone to wear a helmet.

"Helmets protect bike accidents in 8 out of 10 wrecks involving head injuries, said Whitford.

I've worked a couple bad accidents where helmets were not worn and the brain damage was debilitating.  And, I've worked accidents where someone wearing a helmet probably saved their life.  It's a parents choice for their children, hopefully making a decision with safety in mind."

With the winter months fast approaching, 12-year-old Fort Thomas resident, Coby Kramer wants to remind people it is also important to wear a helmet for all activities including winter sports like sled riding.

In 2009, Kramer, then 4, was in a bad sledding accident resulting in his family launching a campaign called Sled Safe Jo's Way, encouraging everyone to get a helmet for sled riding.

Whatever the activity, remember to stay safe, and wearing a helmet could very well save your life.

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