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PITTSBURGH, PA - May 27, 2014 - The Kohl's Hard Head Patrol, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC's community-based program aimed at educating children on the importance of wearing helmets while riding anything on wheels, returns this week, adding new locations to the 2014 fitting schedule.
Children's Hospital will hold helmet fittings this summer at Kohl's Department Store locations throughout the area where families can redeem coupons for free helmets that will be properly fitted by trained Children's representatives. New fittings added to this year's schedule include locations at Boyce Park's Action Park and in Lawrenceville during the National Night Out event.
Running through August, trained Children's employees and medical staff will span across communities in western Pennsylvania to create awareness about the importance of helmets and the dangers to kids who aren't wearing them or aren't wearing them properly.
Any child spotted not wearing a helmet will be given a coupon for a free helmet and fitting. The Hard Head Patrol will reward kids wearing helmets with Cookie Cards from Giant Eagle. If the helmet is worn incorrectly, staff will educate them on how to make proper adjustments.
Thousands of children treated at Children's Hospital every summer have been injured while riding bicycles, scooters and other wheeled devices, plus hundreds sustain injuries serious enough to require hospital admission. In 2013, 115 children were admitted for bicycle-related injuries, and 62 percent of those were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident, which is a decrease from 2012, in which 168 children were admitted and 65 percent of those were not wearing helmets.
"Our main goal is to educate parents and children that the simple act of wearing a helmet can save lives," said Barbara A. Gaines, M.D., director of Trauma and Injury Prevention at Children's. "We are heading into our ninth year of the Hard Head Patrol, and we have seen injuries decrease, but we know we still have to put in hard work to continually enforce these safety standards to our kids."
Last year, more than 75 Kohl's Hard Head Patrol volunteers scoured across over 100 communities in the area. They gave out more than 2,000 Giant Eagle Cookie Cards as rewards and fit and supplied 4,000 helmets to children free of charge.
While the Hard Head Patrol is implemented during the spring and summer, it will now be expanded throughout the coming year. Partnering with Kohl's, Children's will incorporate helmet fitting programs during the school year and at local winter sport events.
"As we expand the program to a year-round initiative, we are very excited about forging partnerships with local police departments and skate parks to increase our reach and keep more kids safe when they are on wheels," said Chris Vitale, R.N., M.S.N., manager, Injury Prevention at Children's. "These added opportunities allow us to get the word out and continue the trend of decreasing serious injuries related to wheel activities."
The first fitting is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 31, at the Kohl's Department Store in South Hills. This is a bike safety event in conjunction with the Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair police departments.
The Hard Head Patrol program is made possible through the Kohl's Cares® cause merchandise program, which supports injury prevention programs at Children's through the hospital's Kohl's Safety Initiatives.
For a complete list of fitting times, dates and locations, as well as more information on the Hard Head Patrol, visit www.chp.edu/injury-prevention/safety/wheels/kohls-helmet or call 412-692-8229.
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Pittsburgh, PA 15224
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