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Children get free bicycle helmets in May

Two ETMC First Physicians clinics in Center and Carthage will participate in the Texas Medical Association’s Hard Hats for Little Heads campaign, offering bicycle helmets to patients ages four and older who undergo a Texas Health Steps examination this month.
Head injury, the most common cause of serious disability or death in bicycle accidents, can be reduced by as much as 85 percent when a helmet is worn properly. The Texas Medical Association created the Hard Hats for Little Heads campaign in 1994 to combat head injury among Texas children.

The ETMC First Physicians family medicine clinic, located at 304 Logansport St. in Center, and the ETMC First Physicians well child clinic in Carthage, located at 704 N. Davis, are participating. A limited number of Texas Health Steps examinations are available during the campaign.

“This is the first time Hard Hats events have been held in either Panola or Shelby counties,” said Tena Yeary, clinic manager of the ETMC First Physicians family medicine clinic in Center. “While wearing a bicycle helmet offers tremendous injury prevention benefits, we’re also excited because we can encourage safe bicycle riding as part of regular exercise to prevent childhood obesity.”

Parents will be provided with instructions – in both English and Spanish – on how to fit the helmet properly to the child’s head. An educational video provided by TMA will play in each clinic’s lobby, and coloring books about bicycle safety will be available.
According to the Texas Medical Association, an average of 250 children under the age of 14 die each year in the United States because of a bicycle crash. Another 300,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for severe head injuries. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if the children had worn bicycle helmets.

Hard Hats for Little Heads is funded by a grant from the TMA Foundation, through gifts from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Prudential Financial, as well as contributions from physicians and their families. Matching funds were then provided by the ETMC First Physicians clinics, which doubled the number of helmets available to children in Panola and Shelby counties.