Children with Medicaid and minorities were more likely to ride a bike without a helmet than children with private insurance or white, according to a new study, Reuters reports.
Researchers looked at over 7,000 bike accidents involving kids younger than 16 and found “just 22 percent of them wore helmets at all.”
“Our findings are unfortunate but not surprising,” said lead study author Dr. Obinna Adibe, a researcher in pediatric surgery at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. “Head injuries are the most lethal type of injury in these children, and one of the most common.”
The researchers also found disparities based on geographic region.
Children affected by traumatic injuries for not wearing a helmet were more common in the South and Midwest regions than in the Northeast.
“Disparities in helmet use based on race and income aren’t surprising because inequality persists across many other types of childhood injury,” said Dr. Greg Parkinson, a pediatrician and injury prevention specialist in Falmouth, Mass.
Doctors can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a helmet every time a child rides a bike and ask parents to lead by example.