About 20 East Carolina University nursing students helped fit elementary students with new bicycle helmets to encourage safe rides on Feb. 26.
The undergraduate students, led by College of Nursing clinical instructor Rachelle Denney, worked with 125 fourth-graders at Ridgewood Elementary School in Winterville. The students are in a pediatric clinical rotation this semester.
The event was sponsored by the Eastern Carolina Injury Prevention Program and Safe Communities Coalition of Pitt County at Vidant Medical Center.
The injury prevention office usually works in about six to eight schools and fits helmets for 800 to 1,000 students annually, said Jennifer Smith, manager of the program.
Many parents and children are not aware of local and state laws about helmets and why it’s important to wear a helmet.
On July 5, 2001, North Carolina enacted the Child Bicycle Safety Act. The law requires every person under 16 years old to wear an approved bicycle helmet when operating a bicycle on any public road, public bicycle path or other public right-of-way.
The purpose of the law is to reduce the number of head-related injuries and deaths from bicycle crashes. Studies show that helmets prevent 60 percent of head injury deaths and reduce the overall risk of head injuries by 85 percent. Every year, about 300,000 kids go to the emergency department because of bike injuries, and at least 10,000 kids have injuries that require a hospital stay. For more information, call Smith at 252-847-8668.