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Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh gives away bike helmets to kids

Learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of childhood for most people. Being able to ride gives kids increased independence and expands their world. However, riding a bike can mean serious injury in an accident, especially if the child hits his or her head.

That is why children (and adults, for that matter) are encouraged to wear a helmet while riding their bicycle. No matter how careful and alert a rider is, he or she may not be able to avoid a negligent motorist, or someone carelessly opening a car door right into the bike lane without looking first. Having a helmet on can significantly reduce the chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Unfortunately, not every child in Pittsburgh has a bike helmet. That is why Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Kohl’s Department Store of have teamed up for the past eight years to pass out kids’ helmets free of charge, KDKA-TV reports.

The most recent giveaway took place in Boyce Park, with nearly 300 helmets handed out. Children who showed up were measured for helmet size, to ensure they got a helmet that fit properly. Kohl’s paid for the donated helmets. The program also distributes ski helmets in the winter, and multi-sport helmets each summer, a hospital official said.

Children’s Hospital participates because it wants to reduce head injuries among children. The official said that the number of kids arriving at the hospital injured in bike accidents has dropped since the free helmet program began.

Brain trauma can be devastating. Helmets can protect bicyclists in many cases, but they cannot guarantee that a brain injury will not occur due to someone else’s negligence. When this happens, the victim should be able to get compensation, perhaps in court.

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