Master's Project Title:

“Pediatric Bicycle – Related Head and Facial Injuries: A Population – Based Study in a County with no Helmet Legislation”

MCH Student:

Dr. Ruchi Kaushik

Date of Defense:

June 16, 2014


INTRODUCTION: Head injuries are the leading cause of death among cyclists, 85% of which  can be prevented by wearing a bicycle helmet.  This study aims to estimate the incidence of  pediatric bicycle – related injuries in Olmsted County and assess differences in injuries between  those wearing helmets versus not.

METHODOLOGY: Olmsted County, Minnesota residents 5 to 18 years of age with a  diagnosis of accident involving a bicycle between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2011,  were identified. Incidence rates were calculated and standardized to the age and sex distribution  of the 2000 US white population.

RESULTS: A total of 1,189 bicycle injuries were identified. The overall age – adjusted incidence  rate of all injuries was 278 (95% CI, 249 to 306) per 100,000 person – years for females and 589  (95% CI, 549 to 629) for males.  The corresponding rates for head injuries were 104 (95% CI, 87  to 121) for females and 255 (95% CI, 229 to 281) for males. Of patients with head injuries  17.4% were documented to have been wearing a helmet, 44.8% were documented not wearing a  helmet and 37.8% had no helmet use documentation. Patients with a head injury who were  documented as not wearing a helmet were significantly more likely to undergo imaging of the  head (32.1% vs. 11.5%; p<0.001) and to experience a brain injury (28.1% vs. 13.8%; p=0.008)  compared to those wearing a helmet.

CONCLUSION: Children and adolescents continue to ride bicycles without wearing helmets, resulting in severe head and facial injuries and mortality.