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January 1990

Attitudes Toward Bicycle Helmet Ownership and Use by School-age Children

Author Affiliations

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

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(1):83-86. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150250093041

• To identify attitudes toward bicycle helmet ownership and use, questionnaires were sent to parents of 2178 third-graders; 1057 (48.5%) returned valid responses. Of 931 children who had bicycles, 24% owned helmets, but only 56% of children who owned helmets wore them. Helmet ownership, but not use, was associated with higher parental education. Fifty-one percent of 704 parents of bicycle owners who had not purchased helmets said they had never thought of it, 29% thought helmets were too costly, and 20% felt their children would not wear them. Of 792 children who did not wear helmets, 25% said they did not wear them because their friends did not; 22% never thought about wearing helmets; and 16% found them uncomfortable. Efforts to increase the wearing of helmets should address helmet design, awareness, peer pressure, and cost.

(AJDC. 1990;144:83-86)