Ottawa Helmets on Kids initiative 2009


    OTTAWA, June 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
(OTLA), an organization committed to justice and advocacy on behalf of injured
persons, announced today that it will distribute almost 300 bicycle helmets to
students attending schools in both the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
and the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
    The Helmets on Kids initiative has been running annually in London,
Ontario for many years. Following up on that success, OTLA is expanding the
initiative across the province last year, including to the Ottawa area.
    In its second year locally, lawyers and law firms in Ottawa who are
members of OTLA , have donated $2,500 to the Helmets on Kids campaign,
allowing OTLA to purchase about 300 helmets for distribution to elementary
school students. The campaign is also being supported locally by a number of
community partners including the Head Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley,
Ottawa Public Health, Plan-it-Safe (CHEO), the Ottawa Safety Council, Safe
Communities Ottawa, Citizens for Safe Cycling, ThinkFirst, and the Vista
    In a press release dated August 30, 2006, the Canadian Institute for
Health Information reported that, in 2003-2004, the "highest proportion of
hospitalizations due to cycling-related head injuries was seen in children and
youth (60%)," stating that, "cycling is one of the leading causes of sports
and recreation-related head injury."
    "The majority of head injuries in children can be prevented by wearing a
properly fitted bicycle helmet during cycling," said Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, a
pediatric neurosurgeon at CHEO and Ottawa Chapter Director for ThinkFirst
Canada. Dr. Vassilyadi, who sees firsthand the devastating outcomes when
children, not wearing helmets, are injured in bicycle accidents, pointed out
that, "every year there are hundreds of head injuries in Canada, with some of
them resulting in death. Of the survivors, there are a variety of injury
levels that have an altering factor, not only to the injured individual, but
also to the family and community at large. Wearing a bicycle helmet is the
single most important way to protect the brain. This is especially important
in children where the brain continues to develop. Once a traumatic brain
injury occurs, there may be long-term, irreversible sequela."
    "Helmet use is key to injury prevention. In a city like Ottawa, with all
the opportunities for outdoor activity, we wanted to help ensure that children
are wearing their helmets when participating in activities such as cycling,
rollerblading and skateboarding," said Laurie Tucker, an Ottawa personal
injury lawyer and organizer of the OTLA initiative in Ottawa.
    Lawyers and law clerks who are members of OTLA will distribute the more
almost 300 helmets to students at 4 schools on June 5th and 8th. Ms Tucker
said, "Each time we go to a school to distribute the helmets, we spend time
talking to the students about helmet safety and proper fitting. When we can,
we make the presentation to the entire school and we always leave the
principal with a video on helmet safety."

    OTLA gratefully recognizes the generosity of the following law firms and
individual lawyers who donated funds to the 2009 initiative:

    Burn Tucker, the Personal Injury Group of Doucet McBride LLP
    Burke Robertson LLP
    Tierney Stauffer LLP
    Laurie Tucker
    David Hollingsworth
    Christine M. La Casse
    Eliane Lachaine
    Colleen L. Burn

For further information:

For further information: about this initiative in your community, please
contact Laurie Tucker at (613) 233-4474 or

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Ontario Trial Lawyers Association

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