Baptist Easley Foundation and Safe Kids Upstate to provide helmets to children

EASLEY — Spring has arrived and families are gearing up to enjoy the outdoors on their bikes. While inflating the tires and checking the brakes are important, wearing a helmet is essential.
Thanks to a generous donation from Baptist Easley Hospital Foundation, more children in the city of Easley will receive this safety device that could save a life. Baptist Easley Foundation recently presented a $5,000 check to Safe Kids Upstate to provide free helmets to second graders at all five Easley elementary schools.
“With the city of Easley developing a bike-friendly community and bike paths, the foundation wanted to make an allocation to encourage children in our community to live active healthy lifestyles, while also taking the important safety precautions,” said foundation board member Jon Foster. “We look forward to distributing more than 500 bicycle helmets to children in the fall through this effort.”
Baptist Easley Foundation is partnering with Safe Kids Upstate to distribute and fit the approximately 500 children receiving a bike helmet. Safe Kids Upstate serves Pickens, Oconee and Greenville Counties, and is part of a worldwide coalition dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to children.
“Accidental injuries are still the leading cause of death and disability for children 14 and younger, and bike accidents certainly account for a number of those injuries,” said Cortni Nations, expansion coordinator for Safe Kids Upstate. “Last year, Safe Kids Upstate provided bike safety education to nearly 1,000 children in Pickens County. We’re grateful to Baptist Easley for their contribution which allows us to fit an additional 500 children this year with the life-saving device as we educate them on the importance of staying safe while cycling.”
Safe Kids Upstate offers bike safety tips to celebrate May’s National Bike Month
Safe Kids Upstate urges parents, caregivers, and children to use helmets each time they ride their bike — no matter how long or short the distance traveled.
Each year, approximately 135 children in the United States die from bicycle-related injuries and more than 267,000 nonfatal bicycle injuries occur. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent; however, only 15 to 25 percent of children 14 and under usually wear a bicycle helmet.
“A bike helmet is essential safety gear,” Nations said. “Helmets could prevent an estimated 75 percent of fatal head injuries and up to 45,000 head injuries to children who ride bikes each year.”
Sometimes, children mistakenly believe that they don’t need to wear helmets when they’re riding near home. Unfortunately, about 53 percent of vehicle-related bike deaths to children happen on minor roads and residential streets.
“Teach kids to obey traffic signs and the rules of the road. Kids should not ride without supervision until they have demonstrated that they always follow the rules,” Nations said.
A helmet should also be labeled to indicate that it meets the standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“As long as it’s certified, let kids pick out their helmets,” Nations said. “If they think a helmet looks cool, they’ll be more likely to wear it when you’re not around.”
Safe Kids Upstate also reminds parents and caregivers to do the following:
• Make sure the helmet fits and your kids know how to put it on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock forward and backward or side to side. The helmet straps must always be buckled, but not too tightly. Safe Kids recommends the “Eyes, Ears and Mouth” test:
Eyes: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
EARS: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
MOUTH: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.
• Make sure the bike is the right size for the child. There should be about one inch of clearance between the bike frame and the child’s groin when the child’s feet are flat on the ground. Also, make sure the bike is in good repair — reflectors are secure, brakes work properly, gears shift smoothly and tires are tightly secured and properly inflated.
• Remember, bike helmets are for biking. Kids should not wear bike helmets on the playground (where the straps can get caught on equipment and cause injury) or for activities that require specialized helmets (such as skiing or football).
• Model and teach proper bicyclist behavior. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stop lights.
• When in doubt, get help. The sales staff at any bicycle shop or outdoor recreation store should be able to provide expert advice on fitting and adjusting bikes and helmets.
The single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet.
For more information about bicycle safety, call 864-885-7390 or visit
National Bike Month has been coordinated annually since 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists; for more information, visit
Safe Kids Upstate works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Its Pickens County coalition includes members from Easley Fire Department, Easley Police Department, Baptist Easley Hospital, Cannon Hospital, Central Police Department, Clemson Police Department, Pickens County School District, American Red Cross, Pickens County First Steps, Pickens County DSS, United Way Childcare Resource & Referral, Environmental Sales, Pediatric Associates and community volunteers.
Safe Kids Upstate is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Upstate is led by the Children’s Hospital of Greenville Hospital University Medical Center.