Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
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CPSC Press Release:
Bike Helmets on Playgrounds

Summary: The Consumer Proeuct Safety Commission's warning to not use helmets on playgrounds.

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ken Giles
February 22, 1999
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1184
Release # 99-065

After Recent Death, CPSC Warns Against
Wearing Bike Helmets on Playgrounds

WASHINGTON, D.C. - After the strangulation death of a 3-year old Pennsylvania boy, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that children should not wear bike helmets when playing on playground equipment. The boy died February 4 when his bicycle helmet became wedged as he apparently tried to slide through a small opening on the playground equipment near his home. CPSC is aware of a second strangulation death that occurred in 1997 when a 7-year old girl in Canada became entrapped in an opening on a playground structure. Both victims were wearing a bicycle helmet during play and died due to hanging from the helmet strap.

CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said, "Children should always wear a helmet while riding their bikes. Helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent* in the event of a crash. But when a child gets off the bike, take off the helmet. There is a hidden hazard of strangulation if a child wears a helmet while playing on playground equipment."

In addition to the deaths, CPSC also has reports of four cases in the United States where no injury occurred. In two of these cases, the children were climbing trees, and in the other two cases, the children were on playground equipment.

Copies of CPSC's Bike Helmet Safety Alert can be obtained through CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's web site.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC's web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. For information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call the above numbers or visit the web site at (http://cpsc.gov/about/who.html. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC's web site at http://www.cpsc.gov. To establish a link from your web site to this press release on CPSC's web site, create a link to the following address: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml99/99065.html

*BHSI note: more recent estimates are that helmets result in a 66 to 88% reduction in the risk of head, brain and severe brain injury for all ages of bicyclists.

This page was revised or reformatted on: February 24, 2019.
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