To The Editor:

I moved with my family to Washington five years ago to enroll my three children in the wonderful schools here.

One of the very first events we attended after arriving here was the Bike Rodeo, which is jointly sponsored by the Washington Police Department and the Washington Optimist Club. The event emphasizes, among many things, the importance of having children wear safety helmets when riding their bicycles.

As I navigate around our beautiful city, I am appalled on a daily basis at the number of children I encounter riding bicycles who are not equipped with the proper safety helmets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “an average of 384 children die annually from bicycle crashes, and 450,000 more are treated in emergency rooms for bicycle riding-related injuries.” Analysis of CDC data further indicates “that an estimated 135-155 deaths annually could be prevented, among children aged 4-15 years of age, with universal use of helmets.” Additionally, “39,000-45,000 head injuries and 18,000-55,000 scalp and face injuries could be prevented with the universal use of bicycle helmets among children.”

The evidentiary data is clear, convincing, and compelling!

I implore the parents and adults of Washington to require their children to wear bicycle helmets. A simple and economical investment in a safety helmet can prevent a needless and completely avoidable tragedy for our precious little ones.

The experts at Mercy Hospital, the Washington Police Department, and the Washington Fire Department also can serve as resources for parents on this vitally important topic. I thank you for listening and publishing this call-to-action to parents.