Ottawa Ontario Brain Injury and Head Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth…There are far too many injuries resulting in traumatic head injuries and traumatic brain injury every year. A traumatic brain injury can happen in a split second and change your life forever, as well as the life of your friends and family. Not all head injuries and brain injuries are preventable, but you can take steps to reduce the risks in some activities. ThinkFirst is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries. It has some very valuable resources that I thought I would share with you….Have fun, play safe and protect your head ! -Ottawa , Ontario Brain Injury Lawyer David Hollingsworth
Brain Injury Facts:
- Damage to the brain and spinal cord can rarely be repaired. Life after a brain or spinal cord injury is never ever the same
- Injury is the leading killer of Canadian children and youth. 50 % of all deaths from injury are from a brain injury
- 30% of all traumatic brain injuries are sustained by children and youth, many of them while participating in sports and recreational activities
The good news on brain injury..
- Bike helmets can prevent up to 88 % of brain injuries when used properly
- Skiers and snowboarders who wear helmets reduce their risk for head injuries by 60 %
What you can do to help prevent a brain injury…
-Encourage kids to be active, but ensure they get proper training, wear the gear, and are able to effectively navigate risks.
-Be a role model: as parents, coaches and educators it is important to model safe, responsible behaviours like wearing a properly fitted helmet during appropriate activities, and buckling up in the car
Each severe brain injury costs our medical system over $400,000 at the time of injury. Costs remain approximately the same each year following the incident due to indirect expenses and follow-up treatment
Although catastrophic brain injuries in sports and recreation can affect anyone, boys/men are affected four times as frequently as girls/women
Wondering what helmet to wear?
· Skateboarding, In-line skating and Scooters – Because falls are common in these activities, helmets for skateboarding, in-line skating and scooters should cover the back of the head to better protect against backward falls and withstand multiple impacts. A skateboard or in-line skating helmet should not be used for bicycle riding unless specified on the label. No standards have been set for scooter helmets.
Multi-sport helmets – Some helmets are marketed as “multi-sport” meaning they meet safety standards for more than one activity (such as skateboarding and in-line skating). Be sure the helmet you buy has been tested for the activities you will be using it for.
Field Sports – Team field sports, such as football, baseball/so-ball and lacrosse, have helmets specific to the kinds of hazards each sport presents. Football and lacrosse require face protectors on helmets because of the level of contact between players and equipment.·
Hockey – Multiple impact helmets are intended to protect your head from impacts due to falls on ice and collisions with the boards. Hockey helmets are also recommended for ice skating and tobogganing.
Skiing and snowboarding – Ski helmets can be single- or multiple-impact helmets (check the manufacturer’s label) and cover more of the back of the head than a bicycle helmet.
Ice skating and Sledding/ tobogganing – While specific ice skating and sledding helmets have not been developed, ice hockey helmets (skating and sledding) and ski helmets (sledding) are an option because they are designed to protect the head in all directions in icy conditions.
Researchers estimate that 90 % of all injuries are predictable and preventable Remember: Most crashes aren’t accidents, but predictable, preventable events. Change the way you speak about these events to change social perception
I have 3 very young children who are constantly out on their bicycles. Thankfully we have instilled in them to always wear a helmet. As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I meet regularly with Ottawa cycling accident victims who have suffered serious personal injuries such as a head injury, brain injury and I often meet with family members who have lost a family member, because he or she was hit while riding a bicycle and died. It’s hard to remember but we all need to be reminded that a bicycle is a motor vehicle and that cyclists need to follow the same rules as other motor vehicle. As an Ottawa bicycle accident lawyer, I feel this is especially important to teach our kids at a young age. For now, yes they are always close by on their bicycles, but before we know it,they will be biking to school, to a friend’s house,to the pool and we won’t be there to remind of the rules of cycling safety. Let’s teach them now !!
As adults, we take for granted that our kids know how traffic works and what safety signs mean. Practice, review and years of experience with adult supervision will help reinforce these lessons. Most importantly, lead by example. I’m constantly amazed and what my children do and say and realize that they are copying me and what I do and say. Set a good example by wearing bike helmets themselves and practicing safe cycling skills. Remember all bicycle helmets should be CSA CPSC or Snell certified and fit properly. All cyclists under 18 must wear a helmet.
As a parent, we all struggle with figuring out when our child is ready. When are they ready to bike to school without an adult? Your child wants to ride a bicycle to school and naturally you worry. Maybe they will need to cross a busy street and maybe they won’t. What to do? You need to feel at ease with your decision. Keep in mind that most kids under the age of 9 will not have the skills to bicycle safely without supervision.
The following may help you make the decision:
- Can your child cycle well enough to:
- check over their shoulder while cycling in a straight line ?
- quickly and confidently apply brakes to stop ?
- ride with one hand while displaying safety hand signals ?the ability to know the speed of other vehicles ?
- Avoiding a bicycle accident: Can your child?
- know their right from left ?
- the ability to avoid distractions ?
- lock up the bicycle on their own ?
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident: Does your child understand:
- what yield means ?
- what “right of way” means ?
- what road signs mean and where to look for them ?
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with an infant:
As an Ottawa bicycle accident lawyer, I would advise against cycling with infants who do not have sufficient neck strength to hold their heads up while wearing a helmet . It is best to wait until your infant is able to sit up on their own and can wear a properly fitted certified bicycle helmet.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a toddler:
As an Ottawa bicycle accident lawyer, in my opinion, toddlers are safest on a bicycle when they are in a bicycle trailer or in a seat mounted to a bicycle frame. Again, please make sure your toddler is wearing an approved and properly fitted bicycle helmet and that your trailer or seat is firmly attached to the bicycle.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a bike trailer:
Bicycle trailers offer a more stable and secure environment for your toddler. Not to mention that extra space can be valuable for bringing along toys, snacks, extra clothing or other supplies; which can extend the life of your bike ride and possibly avoid a melt-down. The dangers with bike trailers are that they are less visible and your child is farther away. For safety, it is recommended that you attach a bright coloured safety flag to the trailer for greater visibility, and if possible, ride with another adult behind the trailer.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a rear-mounted seat :
Bicycles equipped with rear-mounted seats allow you to keep your child close to you. However, they also shift the centre of gravity, which may make cycling challenging. It is recommended that you first practice riding with a weight comparable to the child’s in the seat. It is also important to make sure your seat has a high back, a shoulder and lap harness, and foot guards to protect feet from the spokes.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a front-mounted seat:
There are many types of front-mounted bicycle seats. As an Ottawa Bicycle accident lawyer, I feel that bicycle seats mounted to the handlebars should be avoided, as they may affect steering control. Other front-mounted seats that attach to both the seat and handlebar may be more stable and keep your child in front of you. This would allow you to keep an eye on your child, as well as the road.
Avoiding an Ottawa cycling accident : Cycling with a bike-trailer:
Young children can ride with an adult using a trailer-bike. The bike trailer attaches to the seat post and allows an adult bicycle to become a tandem bike for kids. It is especially useful for longer trips where young children may get tired pedaling on their own.
All this to say, we need to use common sense and exercise absolute caution when cycling. There are many Ottawa bicycle accidents daily and sadly some involve children and are very serious. Cycling is an amazing activity to do with children, which is why it is so important at a young age to teach them right , as we all want our children to enjoy a long life of cycling. Be safe and happy cycling Ottawa.