Friday, April 18, 2008
Like Cracking an Egg
I’ve been noticing for a while now – at least a year – that children aren’t wearing helmets much anymore when riding their bikes, skateboards, and scooters. At first, I thought it might only be in my neighborhood. But, I’ve been to other neighborhoods and parks and noticed the same thing – no helmets. My kids are tired of me commenting and asking “What are their parents thinking?”, but I still do it every time I see a child riding without a helmet. I would really like to take the parents on a field trip to our local children's rehab hospital. I would like the childen in that facility to tell the parents what it is like to have a traumatic brain injury. Maybe if the parents heard it first hand, I'd be seeing more helmeted children. Unfortunately last night, my fears for what might happen to one of the helmetless children became reality.
I had taken Lizzie the dog out for our nightly stroll around our neighborhood. Many of my neighbors had the same idea and were walking also. I heard the laughter and squeals of children behind me, and soon, a young boy, maybe 8-10 years old, comes speeding by on his bike. I heard his mother behind me telling him to slow down, which, of course, he chose to not hear. His mom and his younger sister were also riding their bikes, and were still a little ways behind me. Neither the mom, the little boy or the little girl were wearing a helmet.
And then it happened. I heard the little girl yell, heard her bike fall and scrape the roadway, and then I heard a sickening thump. I was almost afraid to turn around and look because I knew that thump was probably her head striking the pavement.
Her mother threw down her bike and she and I rushed to the little girl at the same time. The little girl was unconscious and completely unresponsive. While her mother was understandably starting to panic, I called 911 on my cell phone. Within minutes, the rescue squad arrived. The little girl never regained consciousness, and the emergency medical technicians loaded her into the ambulance, along with her mother and brother, and drove away. I moved all their bikes off the side of the road, and because I was too shaky and upset to continue my walk, Lizzie and I returned home.
I don’t know how the little girl is doing. I had never seen these particular neighbors before, and I don’t know where they live. If I find out anything, I will update this blog entry, but in the meantime, please, please, please don’t let your children ride their bikes or skateboards or scooters without a helmet. The same goes for roller blades.