Many children still not wearing helmets while bike riding

It's summertime and that means children are out riding bikes, skateboards, and scooters in the neighborhoods across the county.

Unfortunately, many of those kids will take to the streets without a helmet.

It's the first time in a long time that 11-year-old Victor Hopster has gotten on a bike. This one an exercise bike, with firefighters by his side.

It was nearly two years ago he was riding his bike in his neighborhood when he was bit by a SUV.

“I didn't know if he would survive from the ambulance to the hospital,” said Victor's mother, Phelicia Hopster.

His mother says he suffered a severe brain injury, but the bike helmet saved his life.

Phelicia Hopster works in trauma at Rady Children's Hospital, and she knew this would be a long road and that her son would never be the same.  But, he defied the odds.

“I've been blessed and have a really nice loving individual child back who walks and talks and plays sports,” Hopster said.

Firefighters are often the first to arrive when these kinds of accidents happen.  It was back in June in El Cajon that firefighters helped rescue a young boy hit by a car while on his bike – he too survived because he was wearing a safety helmet.

Wearing one is the law, and to prevent future injuries fire trucks in this city now carry helmets.

“If they see a child without a helmet they can stop and give the child a safety helmet,” said Mike Scott, Heartland Fire Chief.

Just how common are trauma injuries? At Rady Children's Hospital, from July of last year to April of this year, 81 children were admitted.

Rady nurse Sue Cox says the primary reason kids take helmets off is because of peer pressure, they don't feel cool.   She says having a child wear a helmet early on can counter that.

“That first little tricycle, that little Big Wheel you get for your child, make sure they have a helmet for that vehicle, because that becomes a part of the image,” said Cox.

“It's summer, they are having fun, they aren't paying attention, so the least you can do is pad them up with a bunch of stuff,” said Hopster.

Categories: KUSI