By JENNIFER FLEMINGER, Associated Press Children and youth riding bikes have been getting more protection than ever, but there are still some challenges ahead for the technology.
A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan suggests that the helmets may not always be the most effective way to protect children and teens from head injuries.
“The problem is that children and young people aren’t riding bikes as much as they used to, and there are some things that they can’t do,” said Mark Shulman, an associate professor of pediatrics at the U-M School of Medicine.
Shulman and colleagues looked at data from more than 13,000 children ages 4 to 12 who participated in the annual Pediatric Helmet Initiative, a nationwide study of helmet use.
They found that helmets made of aluminum and other materials were most effective at protecting young people.
But helmets made out of plastic or other materials weren’t effective at preventing injuries, according to the study.
ShULMAN: We have some things we’re not going to be able to get right and we’re going to have to find other ways to protect kids, he said.
Shulsman said the helmets have to be designed with a particular kind of head protection that doesn’t involve a motorized belt, like a safety belt or a wrist strap.
Shulmen said some helmets have the safety belt attached to the helmet itself, but not all.
He said a lot of parents aren’t aware of this.
Shullman said it’s important for parents to have their kids riding with a helmet because it can protect children’s heads and shoulders.
“It is a very good idea to have a helmet,” he said, adding that helmets can be a good way to reduce injuries and help kids get the best protection possible.
Shushman said some of the helmets he looked at were designed for kids to ride with, such as helmets with straps, and others were designed to protect a child from a parent.
He said it may not be a problem if kids don’t ride with a motorcycle helmet because of the protection.
But Shulmans research also found that the helmet could be a little bit tricky to put on a child.
“You can put it on your child, and then the child may want to put it back on, or the child might be a bit more reluctant to put the helmet back on,” he explained.
Shumacher said he thought parents should take a look at the technology before they buy a helmet.
“We need to look at what’s going on in the world,” he told reporters.
“We need more research and better data to find the right helmet.”