In May, 11-year-old Cleveland resident Jeffrey Hussey, Jr. went down the street to ride bikes with a friend. Minutes later he rode out into the street and into a sports utility vehicle, smashing the driver side window and door. The injury sent him to the hospital near death with a cracked skull and a badly bruised brain. The fifth grader was not wearing a helmet.

In summer and every season of the year, there is always a temptation to ride a bike or a motorcycle without a properly fitted helmet. Excuses come in the form of it takes too long, it is uncomfortable, I cannot see right. But there are no excuses for not wearing a simply formed piece of foam, rubber and plastic that can save your life.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 16 percent of pedalcyclists injured in vehicle accidents were age 14 or younger. Take note of these tips to keep your child safe on their bicycle:

  • Make sure your child wears a properly fitted helmet every time they ride.
  • Your child should ride a bicycle that fits them and that they can operate comfortably.
  • Ensure your child understands the rules of the road and uses hand signals whenever appropriate.
  • Teach your child to wear bright colors when cycling and to assume motorists may not see them.

Wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, bicycle or even a horse can make the difference between life and death. Stay safe and if you or a loved one is injured, get good legal help.

Jeffrey Hussey Jr. is making a strong recovery. His mother told reporters, if we can at least get to one child and have them wear a helmet, it’s going to make the world of difference.