For many children, back to school means back to the school bus. But more and more, many students are walking or biking to school.
Back to school is a good time to introduce children to bicycle safety and this year, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to partner with the Waltham and Arlington police departments to give helmets to children.
On Saturday, August 28th, the Waltham Police Department gave away free Project KidSafe helmets to children at the “Meet the New Chief Day.” The Arlington Police Department also gave away free helmets at Bicycle Safety Day on August 24th at Gibbs Junior High School, where many students walk or bike each day to class.
Our Tips to Help Children Wear Bicycle Helmets Back to School This Fall in Massachusetts
A new school year means a new routine. Whether you or your child ride daily or on occasion, we urge you to commit to wearing a helmet.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a properly fitted helmet is the “single most effective way” to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports the majority of cyclists who ultimately die after a bike crash first sustained a head injury as their most significant injury.
Children Must Wear Bicycle Helmets Under Massachusetts Law. Under Massachusetts law, cyclists who are 16 and younger are required to wear helmets when riding a bicycle. Helmets should be properly fitted and meet the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Beyond safety, there are other consequences. A police officer can actually impound your child’s bike for up to 15 days if they are caught riding without a helmet in Massachusetts, though many officers work hard to avoid this step and would rather encourage helmet use.
Why Parents and Adult Cyclists Should Wear Helmets. Cyclists of all ages should wear helmets to protect themselves.
As a parent, if you wear a helmet and make sure your child wears one when you ride together, your child will take notice. They are more likely to wear a helmet even when you are not there and they will have some practice at fastening their own helmet.
Label Your Child’s Helmet. Write your child’s name inside the helmet, on the strap or on the outside of the helmet.
Wear Your Helmet; Do Not Carry It In Your Backpack. Many children (and adults) ride, then put their helmets in their backpack while they are at work or school. Encourage your child to keep their helmet outside their backpack so they put it right on.
Buy a Durable Bike Lock. Purchase a durable bike lock in case your child cannot find their helmet and has to walk or get a ride home from school or a friend’s house. Keep this on their bike at all times. Insist that your child should contact you and never ride without a helmet.
Buy Your Child a Spare Bike Helmet. Purchase your child an extra bicycle helmet now before they misplace theirs. Unless you live near a bike shop, it can be difficult to step away from your routine to go purchase a bike helmet right away, especially during the busy Fall season.
At the same time, purchase a spare helmet for yourself, too. Keep your spare at home or at the office. This will come in handy if you damage your helmet, lose it or decide you want to take the Blue Bikes bikeshare home.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Attorneys
With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been consistently recognized as a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm. Our attorneys specialize in representing those injured by negligent driving, bicycle accidents, premises liability accidents, defective and unsafe products, construction accidents, medical malpractice and wrongful death.
If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
February has delivered perfect sledding weather for Massachusetts families. But before you head out with your children, remember the risk for injuries can rise during outdoor winter activities. Sledding, skating and skiing push our bodies beyond our daily routines as we face the elements of cold weather, snow and ice.
More than 20,000 children are treated for sledding injuries on average each year, according to the National Safety Council. Children can be injured when a sled hits a stationary object, in collisions with other sledders or by flipping or falling off their sled. Sledding accidents such as these can result in broken bones, lacerations, bruises, concussions, head injuries or more serious injuries.
You can protect your children by sledding with them and teaching them safety fundamentals by example. Please read our tips and enjoy a fun and safe sledding experience:
Choose a Safe Sledding Spot
After asking friends for suggestions and searching online, visit a few local sledding hills on your own, without your children. Walk to the top of the sledding area. Check your cell phone service from that point. Sledding hills may look similar, but they are not all equal. Choose a sledding area that is free from trees or rocks that could cause your child injury. Avoid hills that are too close to streets and parking lots.
Look for sledding hills that are snow-covered, not ice-covered.
A walkthrough is particularly useful for parents of young children, who are most vulnerable to the cold. Time your walk and compare this to your child’s regular play time in the snow and their physical capabilities. Think about whether your child can the hill – both the steepness for sledding and walking up the hill.
Sled During The Day. There is less visibility and colder temperatures at night. Your best approach is to sled during the day, when the sun is out.
Sled With Your Children and Supervise.
Sled as a Family. Plan at least one sledding day for your family each year. Besides being a lot of fun, this will create special memories. Sledding is also great way to get some fresh air and exercise for children, which we all need during the winter months.
Sled with Your Child and Their Friends. If your child or teenager wants to sled with friends, go along and watch. Enjoy this time but consider it a parenting assignment. You should really watch them just as you would if they were swimming, with your full attention. Keep your cell phone and a first aid kit within reach.
Sledding Manners. Teach your children to use good manners on the sledding hill. Even if there are no formal rules posted, your children should walk up the hill along the side of the sledding area. When sledding, they should not overcrowd sledders or attempt to run into them on the course. Once they reach the bottom of the hill, children should step off their sled.
When children are having fun, they may not realize how cold they are or be able to tell you.
Before you sled, make sure your child is wearing a warm winter coat, snow pants, hats, gloves or mittens. Purchase waterproof clothing. Your child should be warm and clothes should fit comfortably.
Take scarves off children before sledding. Also remove strings from clothing and accessories which can cause strangulation or get caught while your child sledding.
Safe Sleds and Helmets
Wear a Helmet. Encourage children to be aware of their surroundings and stay in control of their sleds as a good starting point to safety. Parents should also buy young children helmets to protect against head injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents can purchase helmets which meet the ASTM F14922 or Snell N-942 safety standard. If you have questions, we suggest you check the CPSC website which offers guidance on helmet designs for different activities. Another resource is your pediatrician. Ask for their specific suggestion for protecting your child.
Check Your Sleds. If you see sharp edges or cracks, replace your child’s sled.
Purchase a Safe Sled. There are many types of sleds: snow tubes, saucers or toboggans. Read age recommendations and product safety labels. Look for sleds which can be steered or have handles. Specifically look for ropes. While many sleds come with ropes, you can purchase sleds without any to protect young children against strangulation or getting caught on something.
Before you purchase a sled, make sure to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for safety recalls. Sleds can be designed with defects, such as faulty brakes on higher end models.
No Make-Shift Sleds. Do not allow your child to make their own sled out of furniture, cardboard or household objects. These products are not designed to carry your children on the snow.
Safe Sledding Techniques
Sledding Techniques. Pull your sled up next to theirs and show your children how to ride their sleds safely. Children should generally sit, hold the handles and ride face-forward down the hill. They should not ride stomach down or face first because they could flip or fall off. This can cause serious head or spinal cord injuries.
Riding Alone or Together? It’s a lot of fun to sled with your children or watch them ride together. The key is to find the right sled for the right number of sledders. And of course, the right hill!
Adults can pull young children. But for the most part, children should sled alone as they get older. It is important for them to steer their own sleds and hold on for themselves.
If you want to purchase a sled or tube that carries more than one child or adult, that’s a special experience. Read the manufacturer’s age recommendations, safety warnings and instructions. Look for a few online videos.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to share our sledding tips as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Through Project KidSafe, our goal is to help families protect against child injuries.
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm, with more than 100 years combined experience. We represent clients in personal injury cases in Boston and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
According to new research, fewer children are visiting the hospital for sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries. This is being largely driven by changes on the football field.
After a decade of rising injuries and the passage of state concussion laws, fewer children have been participating in youth football, contributing to the reduction in injuries. Going forward, the researchers are focusing on studying safer play techniques which could limit contact in football. They will also continue investigating head injuries in other sports, such as soccer and basketball, where the numbers didn’t change significantly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the research in a recent weekly report. Researchers analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Database.
What the Researchers Learned
The number of children visiting the hospital for sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries fell 32 percent from 2013 to 2018.
Researchers attribute this to changes in youth football programs across the U.S. Since 2010, participation has fallen 24 percent. Meanwhile, there was a 39 percent decline in football TBI visits from 2013 and 2018.
This was an encouraging sign. Previously, from 2001 to 2013, there had been a 200 percent increase in children suffering football-related traumatic brain injuries and ER visits. This was among children age 5-17.
While football-related TBI ER visits decreased, there was not significant movement in TBI ER visits for basketball and soccer, two other contact sports.
The CDC and researchers are also studying safer tackling techniques in football. Several sports leagues have also introduced new approaches which limit contact during practice. These include the National Federation of State High School Associations and its member states, along with two major youth football programs.
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the CDC, a TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. It may be a penetrating head injury that disrupts the brain function. A concussion is a “mild” traumatic brain injury. A concussion may lead to brief changes in mental function and consciousness. Those injured may not realize they have a concussion and learning to recognize potential symptoms can save their life.
When it comes to your child, physicians, pediatricians, schools and caregivers have a responsibility to follow certain steps if they play sports and suffer a concussion or repeated concussions.
Massachusetts Concussion Protocols: Preventing Injuries and Caring for Students
CDC researchers noted that many children can recover from a sports and recreation-related TBI within 4 weeks. However, there is a continued focus on reducing long-term effects on a child’s brain development. Recovery must be carefully monitored.
Massachusetts and other states have passed laws to guide schools and sports leagues on how to prevent and treat injuries. Schools, leagues and coaches have a responsibility to follow the concussion protocols.
In Massachusetts, schools must provide students with training on how to recognize a concussion. Students must be removed from play if a concussion is suspected. They can only return with a doctor’s note. Read more about the Massachusetts concussion protocol on our website.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Concussion Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Boston head injury lawyers represent clients after traumatic brain injuries and concussions caused by negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured, receive medical attention right away. Then, learn your legal rights.
For a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.
Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign recently supported the Everett Police Department’s work to protect children on bikes. In June, our lawyers donated roughly 100 bicycle helmets to Everett Police Chief Steve Mazzie and his officers. Attorney David W. White was there to deliver the helmets.
This is the fifth year we have partnered with Everett Police so we know their commitment to children and bike safety runs deep. But we were really inspired this year. Officers wasted no time. They began distributing the bicycle helmets right away and found many children who could benefit from our donation. Great job to Everett Police again!
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers specialize in representing those injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. Our attorneys are advocates for safe cycling and encourage all cyclists to wear bicycle helmets to protect against head injuries. To promote safe riding, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated 30,000 bicycle helmets across Massachusetts through our Project KidSafe campaign.
Breakstone, White & Gluck has also been recognized as a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists.
Attorney David W. White was pleased to deliver 100 bicycle helmets to Wade Rubinstein of The Bike Connector in Lowell this morning. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the helmets as part of our 2020 Project KidSafe campaign for bike safety.
This was our first donation to The Bike Connector and it was a real pleasure to meet Wade and learn about his work. The Bike Connector provides bikes to income-disadvantaged youth and immigrants throughout the city of Lowell. This summer, The Bike Connector is working with the city’s high school summer programs to distribute 100 free refurbished bikes. Now, each cyclist will also receive a free Project KidSafe bicycle helmet from Breakstone, White & Gluck.
The bicycles are important donations. In Lowell, there is no school bus service for high school students. Students can ride the Lowell Regional Transit Authority, walk or get a ride. Bicycles open up new opportunities for students to stay connected and on track with school activities.
“These helmets are really going to help keep kids in Lowell safe,” Wade said. “I want to thank Breakstone, White & Gluck for providing us these helmets. They are going to go a long way.”
For the 6th year, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign are pleased to support Massachusetts Safe Routes to School. Once again, our attorneys have committed to donating 400 bicycle helmets to Safe Routes. From there, the Safe Routes coordinators will give the helmets to low-income children who want to participate in bike safety training and bike rodeos.
This morning, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School held its annual awards ceremony to honor schools and teachers which have excelled in reaching their walking and biking goals for children. Stephanie Pollack, secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), was the featured speaker. Before announcing the awards, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School thanked Breakstone, White & Gluck for our donation.
This is Massachusetts Safe Routes to School’s 15th anniversary. For those who don’t know, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School is a federally funded initiative of the MassDOT. Over 15 years, it has offered biking and pedestrian safety program to children in 237 communities and reached more than 420,000 students. Schools are committed to the programming. Safe Routes now has 920 partner schools. View this year’s awards list.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Commitment to Bike Safety
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck are committed to safety and preventing head injuries. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, we have donated 30,000 children’s bicycle helmets across Massachusetts. We founded our campaign in 2013 and have since partnered with Massachusetts Safe Routes to School, local police departments, bicycle committees and community groups. Our goal has been to work with community partners who really care and are committed to bicycle safety and preventing head injuries.
In Massachusetts, cyclists under age 17 must wear bicycle helmets. But every cyclist is encouraged to wear a helmet. We hope you are never injured on a bike, but you can recover from many injuries. Head injuries can be fatal and it is important to protect yourself.
Commit to wear a bicycle helmet every time you ride. Helmet use has been estimated to reduce the chances of head injury by 50 percent and the chances of head, face or neck injury by 33 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently gave Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign a nice mention. In 2019, our campaign donated over 4,000 bicycle helmets to children throughout the Boston area with help from more than 30 community partners and police departments. We look forward to continuing our work to protect children in 2020.
Read the article on the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly website (subscription access required).
It is a lot of fun to select a new bicycle or scooter for a child during the holiday season. But when you buy, remember to pick up a new helmet, too. This is a critical tool in protecting against head injuries and under Massachusetts law, children 16 and younger are required to wear helmets on bicycles, scooters, skateboards and inline skates.
Massachusetts Bicycle Helmet Law: Children 16 and younger are required to wear bicycle helmets when they ride bikes in Massachusetts, under M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B.
Massachusetts Scooter Helmet Law. M.G.L. c. 85, § 11B1/2 states children 16 and younger must also wear safety helmets on scooters, skateboards and inline skates, as well as other manually-propelled wheeled vehicles.
Helmet Buying Tips: Spotlight on Bike Helmets
Buy a bicycle helmet which meets the safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (16 C.F.R. part 1203). This standard is specifically designed to protect a child’s head with shock-absorbent material in bicycle accidents or falls. It requires chin traps be strong enough to keep the helmet in position on the head.
Buy a helmet separately from your bike. You may find it helpful to buy a helmet separately. To get started, measure around your child’s head with a cloth tape measure. Measure just above your child’s eyebrows. Start looking now online or visit your local bicycle shop.
Stick to traditional bike helmets. The CPSC discourages parents from buying helmets with decorative and costume pieces, such as horns or parts which protrude from the helmet. These will interfere with the helmet’s ability to protect a child’s head should they ever hit the ground.
How long has your child been wearing that helmet? If your child has been wearing a helmet for three years, this is a good time to buy a new one. But depending on your child’s growth and wear and tear, you may want to replace it sooner. Carefully inspect the helmet on the inside and outside.
Buy an adjustable helmet. Because children grow fast, we suggest an adjustable helmet which can be tightened or loosened in the back.
Helmets Designed for Other Activities
Safety helmets are designed for certain purposes. Each sport and activity involves a different impact.
But bicycle helmets can often be used for recreational in-line skating, roller skating or manual kick scooters, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) helmet guidelines. Check these guidelines whenever you buy a helmet.
Talk to your child’s sports coach about helmet guidelines for football, hockey, lacrosse and baseball.
Get your helmets ready for the winter. Helmets are recommended for skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding and snow tubing. Many skiers say helmets interfere with their peripheral vision and response time. If this is your thought, consider reading this New York Times blog on just how much protection they can provide.
Before we close, another point is there are times when children should definitely NOT WEAR HELMETS, including at the playground or when playing at home. Helmets and straps can get caught and strangle a child on staircases and step ladders.
CPSC Guide – “What Helmet for Which Activity”
Helmets are essential to protecting your child. Here is the CPSC’s Guide, “Which Helmet for Which Activity.” This guide provides you with recommended safety standard guidelines for different activities, so it’s definitely worth bookmarking. Another helpful site is the CSPC recalls website, which you can search for product recalls before you make a purchase.
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Boston Personal Injury Lawyers – Toy Safety Lawyers
At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our lawyers are consistently recognized for their awards for clients in personal injury, medical malpractice and product liability cases. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, we work to promote bicycle safety and the well-being of children in Massachusetts. To date, we have donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children across the state.
If you are shopping for a child, we invite you to read more of our holiday toy safety series.
Boston Police Commissioner William Gross thanks Attorney Marc L. Breakstone for our recent donation of 160 children’s bicycle helmets. This was the 4th year that Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign have partnered with the Boston Police Department to help protect children from head injuries.
“I would just like to thank you sir. What a great donation to the communities of Boston. You know oftentimes, people think that when someone has made it, they are affluential and doing well, that you don’t care, especially about the inner city, about people in the inner city. You’re helping me break negative stereotypical views by showing people that you do care. None of this stuff is hand me downs. These are expensive bike helmets. You are showing that you do care and that no matter what, good people are good people and are willing to give back. So you are making a difference…”
To learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck, visit our website.