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Summer is here, and with it comes outdoor activities, such as skating, skateboarding and biking. It is important to practice safety measures when participating in wheeled-sport activities.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported safety helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent, yet only 55 percent of children typically wear a bike helmet.

Head injuries are classified as any trauma that leads to injury of the scalp, skull or brain. They can range from a minor bump on the skull to a serious brain injury.

Head injuries are divided into two types, closed-head injuries and open-head injuries. An open-head injury is an injury in which the head is struck with an object that breaks the skull and enters the brain. This usually occurs when a person is moving at a high rate of speed. A closed-head injury is one in which the skull is not penetrated.

Closed-head injuries in children are, unfortunately, a common occurrence in emergency rooms. Incidents can range from a mild bruise to a skull fracture with brain hemorrhage, requiring urgent neurosurgical intervention.

A study published by the medical journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that simply wearing a bicycle helmet is not enough to protect a child’s head—a helmet must be properly fitted. Surprisingly, only 4 percent of children in the study wore helmets that were in acceptable condition with a good fit. Too often, helmets are loose, not buckled or ride too high on the forehead, allowing them to slide or fall off. When a helmet doesn’t fit properly, it is of little or no use.

A properly fitting helmet can turn a potential emergency into a minor occurrence. The helmet is designed to absorb the impact and protect the vulnerable brain underneath.

To help ensure children are safe when biking, skateboarding or skating, the St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center trauma department partnered with the Texas Medical Association to distribute and fit bicycle safety helmets during H-E-B Wellness Days in Round Rock. On Saturday, June 14, St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center donated 50 helmets.

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