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Canadian Paediatric Society

Action on bike helmet legislation needed in time for 2014 season

Nov 1 2013

OTTAWA — All provinces and territories must legislate bicycle helmet use for all ages, says the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) in a position statement released today. Currently only 4 of 13 Canadian provinces and territories meet the CPS recommendations.

“Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries significantly, and studies show that legislation increases the use of helmets,” said Dr. Brent Hagel, statement co-author and member of the CPS Injury Prevention Committee. “We’re calling on all provinces and territories to enact legislation before the start of the 2014 bike season.”

Bicycling is the leading cause of sport and recreational injury in children and adolescents accounting for 4 per cent of all injuries seen in the emergency department and 7 per cent of all hospital admissions for unintentional injury. Head injuries are among the most severe injuries, often with devastating consequences.

“Everyone is at risk for head injury, regardless of age group,” said Dr. Hagel, an injury prevention epidemiologist and associate professor at the University of Calgary. “Children see adults and often adopt similar behaviours, so if we can get helmets on adults then children and adolescents will be more likely to wear them too.”

In addition to helmet legislation, the CPS is calling for public education programs and bicycle-friendly city planning.

Six provinces and territories have no legislation at all on bike helmets:

  • Saskatchewan
  • Quebec
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Yukon
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut

Three provinces have bike helmet legislation that only applies to children:

  • Alberta
  • Ontario
  • Manitoba

Four provinces meet CPS recommendations for all ages bike helmet legislation:

  • British Columbia
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

About the Canadian Paediatric Society

The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 3,000 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.

Last updated: Mar 24 2014