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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Winners Wear Helmets - Safe Streets Healthy Kids 2012

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Sometimes the best advice comes from an 8-year-old.

"If you fall off your bike and you don't have a helmet you could bust your head, or you could die or something because your brain could turn off," Maya, an MPS third grader said.

She's absolutely right.  Riding a bike without a helmet is extremely dangerous.  This summer, too many kids will end up in the ER -- or worse -- just because they didn't wear a helmet while on wheels.

But Children's Hospital is aiming to change that with a program called Winners Wear Helmets.  The program is in its tenth year.

More than 600 MPS third graders gathered at State Fair park for a bike rodeo.  Police officers led seminars where students learned the basics of bike safety.  But first things first -- all the kids received free bike helmets donated by Habush Habush and Rottier.

With those new helmets strapped on, the kids split into groups and navigated a bike obstacle course which recreated typical hazards they may see on the road.  Among many new skills, kids learned how safely come to a stop and how to navigate around debris in the road.

Organizers of the event say wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of brain injury up to 88 percent.  That means almost nine out of ten times a child is in a bike accident, he or she will walk away from it.

Lisa Klindt-Simpson, co-organizer of the program, says helmets aren't only for bikes.  Kids should be wearing a helmet anytime they're on wheels.  This includes scooters, skateboards, and roller blades.  She says it's a matter of life and death.

Just this year, Winners Wear Helmets celebrated donating its 10,000th helmet to kids in need.

And it's a message one third grader said adults could take to heart, too.  He said simply, adults could "bust their head" without a helmet. After a short pause, he added "their head could be bleeding or their head could crack."

Again, sometimes an 8-year-old knows best.

 

To hear the audio version of this story, click the player below.