News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Deploys "Hard Head Patrol" To Educate and Reward Kids Wearing Bicycle Helmets This Summer

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh today launched its "Hard Head Patrol" - a summer initiative aimed at increasing the number of children wearing helmets while riding anything with wheels, including a bicycle, scooter or skateboard.

Children's representatives wearing bright red buttons that read "Hard Head Patrol" will fan out across southwestern Pennsylvania between May and August in search of children on bicycles, scooters and skateboards. Children wearing helmets will receive a coupon for a free meal at Wendy's. Children who aren't wearing a helmet will receive a certificate to be fitted for a free helmet at a Children's neighborhood location on select days during the summer. Children's representatives have volunteered to identify kids in their own neighborhoods throughout the summer.

The program is sponsored by Kohl's as part of the ongoing Kohl's Cares for Kids ® program, which supports children's health and educational opportunities.

"We partnered with Kohl's to create the Hard Head Patrol in response to a troubling trend in the number of children injured in bicycle and similar accidents who weren't wearing helmets," said Barbara A. Gaines, MD, director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's. "Research shows that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of brain injury in a bike accident by 88 percent, so we know that wearing a helmet can prevent a severe head injury and potentially save your child's life."

Each summer, thousands of children pass through Children's Emergency Department with injuries sustained riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards and roller skates. In 2005, 139 children suffered serious bicycle-related injuries requiring admission to the hospital. Even more troubling is that fewer Children's patients admitted with bicycle-related injuries are wearing helmets. Helmet use by Children's patients decreased from 26 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2005.

"Head injuries account for up to 80 percent of bicycle-related fatalities. Last year, only one in five children injured on a bicycle and admitted to Children's wore a helmet," Dr. Gaines said.

"Kohl's is committed to playing an active role in promoting children's health and educational opportunities in communities throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the United States," said Gary Wingert, vice president/district manager for Kohl's Department Stores. "We're proud to partner with Children's on this worthwhile effort to increase helmet use by kids this summer."

Peter Hughes and his daughter, Claire, of Highland Park, learned of the importance of helmets firsthand. In 2001, Claire, now a high school junior, wasn't wearing a helmet when she fell off her scooter, suffering a blood clot that required brain surgery and a stay in the intensive care unit. She has since fully recovered, but the experience led her father to become an outspoken advocate for helmet use.

"Not wearing a helmet nearly cost my daughter her life. It took a very scary situation for us to realize the importance of wearing a helmet," Mr. Hughes said. "My hope in sharing our story and spreading the word about the Hard Head Patrol is that other parents will make sure their child wears a helmet at all times and won't have to go through what we did."

Children's will hold nine Hard Head helmet fittings this summer. Get the complete list of fitting times, dates and locations.

Read more about Children's Hard Heads program and bicycle safety.

For more information contact Children's Injury Prevention program at 412-692-8229 or Community Education program at 412-692-7105.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 18, 2008
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Last Update
February 18, 2008