SickKids scientists confirm Ontario's bike helmet law saves lives



    TORONTO, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - Using data spanning 12 years, researchers at The
Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have established that the bicycle helmet
law introduced in Ontario in 1995, has helped to make our children safer on
the roads. According to research published this week in the journal Pediatrics
by Dr. Patricia Parkin, SickKids Senior Associate Scientist, Director of the
Paediatric Outcomes Research Team and Fellowship Program in Paediatric
Medicine and Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Health Policy,
Management and Evaluation, and the Institute for Medical Sciences at the
University of Toronto, the average number of bicycle-related deaths for
children one to 15 years of age decreased 52 per cent - from 13 to six deaths
annually.
    "Our team understands the importance of bike helmets for safety," says
Parkin, the study's lead author. "We have previously shown a significant
increase in children's helmet use in our community. Our goal for this research
was to demonstrate how bicycling deaths have been cut in half, and hopefully
influence more Canadians - young and old - to wear helmets while cycling."
    With 85 per cent of children owning bicycles in our community, safety is
of the utmost concern. The researchers studied statistics from the years 1991
to 2002. This includes the pre-legislation period leading up to passing of the
bicycle helmet law which came into effect in 1995, and several years
post-legislation. The researchers used time series analysis to determine
whether the introduction of legislation was associated with the reduction in
the numbers of childhood deaths. Their analysis showed that legislation
significantly reduced risks for bicycle riders. In contrast there was no
significant change in bicycle-related deaths for older adolescents and adults
to whom the legislation does not apply.
    Ontario's helmet law currently compels only individuals under age 18 to
wear helmets. While education and promotion contributed to an increase in
helmet use and subsequent decreases in deaths, the introduction of Ontario's
helmet law a key contributor to saving lives. Extending the law to cyclists of
all ages is supported by this research.

    The Paediatric Outcomes Research Team is supported by a grant from the
SickKids Foundation.

    The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University
of Toronto, is Canada's most research-intensive hospital and the largest
centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. As innovators
in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care,
research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and
specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our
knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible,
comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information,
please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for
a better world.





For further information:

For further information: Janice Nicholson, The Hospital for Sick
Children, (416) 813-6684, janice.nicholson@sickkids.ca

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