Posted by Joseph Trexler
Our guest speaker this morning was Dr. Margaret Stefani from Pediatric Associates of Barrington. Dr. Stefani spoke to the membership about the health benefits of teaching children at a very young age to wear a helmet when riding a bike. A bicyclist herself, she encourages parents to be the role model for their children by wearing helmets when they ride. She is so passionate about this that she has offered to pay her own children $1,000 if she is ever caught riding without one.
Nationally, there are over one thousand bicycle related deaths annually, and over 50 thousand people are hospitalized as a result of bike accidents, a cost to the health industry of over $2 billion. Children and teens account for 60% of these accidents. Head injuries are the most prominent result of these incidents and most of them can be prevented by wearing a helmet. In fact, statistics have shown that 70% of these injuries could be prevented by a properly fitted helmet. Yet, just 40-48% of children admit to wearing them.
To help combat this, Dr. Stefani has teamed with the local Police Departments of Cary, Fox River Grove and Crystal Lake to help promote the idea of safe bicycling. Children seen riding their bikes while wearing a helmet are stopped by the Police Officers and presented a gift certificate from sponsoring local companies. While still relatively new, the program is gaining awareness. According to Police Chief Finlon, when kids see a patrol officer approaching, they point to their helmets. Can't get much better than that. Thank you, Dr. Stefani for your concern and passion surrounding this important issue.