News Releases

News Releases

For Immediate Release

Kids Treated for Summertime Traumas at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Often Lack Appropriate Safety Gear

More than three-fourths of the kids treated at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh for bicycle-related injuries last summer were not wearing helmets.

Children's injury prevention experts are warning parents that children of all ages - as well as adults - need to wear properly fitted helmets and use caution when biking and participating in other summertime activities. The warm summer months traditionally bring an increase in the number of traumas at Children's as kids head outdoors for activities like swimming, sports and bicycling.

The number of kids admitted to Children's for injuries sustained in bike accidents rose 26 percent between 2002 and 2003, from 129 to 163. And of the 163 admitted for injuries last year, 77 percent were not wearing a helmet.

Helmets reduce the risk of brain injury in a bike accident by 88 percent, and head injuries account for up to 80 percent of bike fatalities, according to the National Safe Kids Campaign, of which Children's is a member.

"The long, hot days of summer can be a lot more dangerous than many parents realize. Kids are glad to be out of school and they're busying swimming, playing sports and riding bikes," said David Hackam, MD, PhD, a trauma surgeon at Children's Hospital. "Children don't always think safety first, so parents need to watchful and to remind them."

Summer-related traumas at Children's include injuries from scooters, swimming, lawnmowers ATV crashes, fireworks and trampoline and playground falls. Trauma injuries are the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 21 and account for more than 16 million emergency department visits nationwide each year, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Children's Emergency Department and trauma program treat more than 50,000 children annually. For children who are admitted, the trauma program is one of only 15 accredited Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Centers in the nation and the only one serving western Pennsylvania.

For more information about preventing summer traumas, visit Children's Injury Prevention Web site at and click on Injury Prevention.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008