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Article
October 27, 1989

Bicycle Helmet Use by Children: Evaluation of a Community-wide Helmet Campaign

Author Affiliations

From Children's National Medical Center and the Department of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC (Dr DiGuiseppi); and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (Drs Rivara and Koepsell) and the Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Rivara), Epidemiology (Drs Rivara and Koepsell), Health Services (Dr Koepsell), and Biostatistics (Dr Polissar), University of Washington, Seattle.

From Children's National Medical Center and the Department of Pediatrics, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC (Dr DiGuiseppi); and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (Drs Rivara and Koepsell) and the Departments of Pediatrics (Dr Rivara), Epidemiology (Drs Rivara and Koepsell), Health Services (Dr Koepsell), and Biostatistics (Dr Polissar), University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 1989;262(16):2256-2261. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430160078034
Abstract

To assess the effect of a community-wide bicycle helmet campaign on helmet use, we observed 9827 children riding bicycles at sites in high-, middle-, and low-income census tracts in Seattle, Wash (intervention city), and Portland, Ore (control city); observations were made during 2-week intervals before and 4,12, and 16 months after the campaign's start. Helmet use increased from 5.5% before the campaign to 15.7% afterward in Seattle and from 1.0% to 2.9% in Portland. Strong associations were found between helmet use and white compared with black or other race; riding geared vs nongeared bicycles; riding at playgrounds, in parks, or on bicycle paths vs on city streets; and riding with adults or other children compared with riding alone. The proportions of helmet wearers, adjusted for these variables, increased from 4.6% to 14.0% in Seattle and from 1.0% to 3.6% in Portland, a significantly greater increase in use in Seattle compared with Portland. We conclude that a community-wide bicycle helmet campaign can increase helmet use among children.

(JAMA. 1989;262:2256-2261)

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