“If your feet are on wheels or not touching the ground, you should have a helmet on your head,” says Mary McCarthy, Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator for Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). That includes skiing, sledding, biking and skateboarding. School-age children, especially those over 8, forgo helmets the most — yet they run the highest risk of bike-related brain injury. Correct helmet use is key. “Kids tend to tip them backward, so they’re more comfortable,” McCarthy says. “But that doesn’t given the protective buffer to the brain.” Proper fit means the helmet sits flat on the head, with one to two fingers able to fit above the eyebrows and between harness strap and chin. McCarthy gives children an egg to demonstrate how tightly the brain (yolk) fits inside the skull (shell). When an injured brain swells and bleeds, it has no room to expand, causing damage that can be traumatic.
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on eight campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. From Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, homecare services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State, today WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit WMCHealth.org.