Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

School Board's Bike Helmet Policy Deserves Praise

August 02, 1992

Dana Parsons' column, "Irvine School Board Teaches Dumb Parents Who's Boss" (July 24), makes it obvious that he has never had experience raising children. It is also quite clear that he has never lived in Irvine. Irvine is a diverse community where they have mandated low-income housing, the city has addressed the issue of child care, and many groups of political and philosophical thought are represented.

As researchers in pediatric injury, we have found that parents, regardless of educational level and socioeconomic status, are generally unaware of the risks of serious and even fatal injury from bicycle riding. Even if they are aware, changing the child's behavior is often extremely difficult.

Peer pressure plays a critical role among students that parents might be unable to overcome but that a law can most certainly address. It is quite clear among those of us involved in injury control that in changing behaviors education is critical and requires legislative backup to secure behavioral changes.

The Irvine Unified School District should be commended for the initiative it has shown. This ordinance should be regarded as a public health measure needed to immunize children against the hazard of bicycle-related head injuries, much as mandatory polio vaccinations have worked to quell the spread of that danger to children. This will only help parents to do the right thing.

Might we suggest that Mr. Parsons speak to some families of children whose lives otherwise might have been saved had they been wearing bicycle helmets?

PHYLLIS AGRAN, MD, MPH

DIANE WINN, RN, MPH. Phyllis Agran and Diane Winn are co-directors of the Pediatric Injury Prevention Research Group within the UC Irvine department of pediatrics.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|