The province’s low-cost bicycle helmet program, which has distributed more than 80,000 helmets to Manitoba children and their families, has been renewed for another year.
“The decision to put on a bike helmet could mean the difference between life and death,” Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs Minister Jim Rondeau said Wednesday.
“We are continuing our low-cost bike helmet program to help increase the number of Manitoba children wearing this essential piece of safety equipment, which is fundamental to decreasing childhood injuries and fatalities.”
In Manitoba, from 2005 and 2009, one child died from a cycling-related injury and 374 children were hospitalized, including 54 with significant head injuries.
Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 per cent and the risk of brain injury by 88 per cent, Rondeau said.
In partnership with the Manitoba Healthy Schools initiative, all schools and licensed child-care centres in the province are provided with information and order forms to enable the purchase of low-cost helmets that are certified by the Consumer Protection Safety Council.
Helmets are priced at $10 for bicycle or toddler helmets and $13 for multi-sport helmets that can be used for bicycling, in-line skating and skateboarding.
A total of 605 schools and child-care centres participated in the 2011-12 program and 9,561 helmets were purchased by Manitoba families, with 1,116 helmets provided at no charge to families who could not afford one.
Since the start of the program in 2006, more than 7,000 helmets have been made available at no charge to families with financial barriers, the minister said.
The low-cost bike helmet program is part of a multi-pronged provincial strategy to reduce injury, deaths and hospitalizations, Rondeau said.
Earlier this month, the province introduced legislation that would require cyclists under the age of 18 to wear a properly fitted and fastened protective helmet.
For more on the low-cost bike helmet program, visit: www.gov.mb.ca/healthyschools/lcbh.html.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 31, 2012