Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s “Hard Head Patrol” to Monitor Kids Wearing Helmets this Summer

May 24, 2011

The Hard Head Patrol, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC’s annual initiative to increase helmet use by children riding bicycles, skateboards or anything else with wheels, kicked off this month.

Running from May through September, trained Children’s volunteers will scour communities in western Pennsylvania to identify kids who aren’t wearing helmets or who aren’t wearing them properly while riding on anything with wheels. When volunteers see kids without helmets, they will be given coupons for free helmets and invited to attend a free helmet-fitting event sponsored by Children’s Hospital. Kids who are wearing helmets will receive a free Cookie Card from Giant Eagle.

“For the past six years, we have grown the Hard Head Patrol program significantly and have helped many children in the area learn about the benefits of wearing a helmet,” said Barbara A. Gaines, M.D., director of the Benedum Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s. “But, we are also still concerned about the number of children injured while not wearing helmets and want to continue this program for many more years to educate children and families.”

Thousands of children treated at Children’s Hospital every summer are injured riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards and other wheeled devices, and hundreds sustain injuries serious enough to require admission. In 2010, 145 children were admitted for bicycle-related injuries, 72 percent of which had not been wearing a helmet.

Last summer, more than 70 certified volunteer patrollers fanned out across more than 55 communities. They gave away approximately 2,000 free Rita’s Italian Ice coupons as rewards and fit and supplied 2,700 helmets to children free of charge.

The Hard Head Patrol program is generously sponsored by Kohl’s as part of the Kohl’s Cares for Kids® program, which supports injury prevention programs at Children’s through the hospital’s Kohl’s Safety Center.

Children’s Hospital will hold nine helmet fittings at various locations throughout western Pennsylvania this summer where families can redeem coupons for free helmets that will be properly fitted by trained Children’s representatives. The first fitting is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday, June 12, at the Kohl’s Department Store in Robinson Crossroads Shopping Center in Pittsburgh.

For a complete list of fitting times, dates and locations, as well as more information on the Hard Head Patrol, visit Children’s Hospital’s website at or call 412-692-8229.

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919,
Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254,