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Ir Med J. 2013 Apr;106(4):102-4.

Bicycle helmet wearing in a sample of urban disadvantaged primary school children.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co Kildare.


Bicycle helmet wearing is currently not legally enforced in Ireland and little is known about the self-reported practice amongst young children. The principal aim of this study was to assess self-reported helmet wearing amongst a sample (n = 314) of primary school children (aged 8-13 years) attending disadvantaged schools in Dublin. Approximately 86% of the sample owned a bike and provided a response to the question on helmet use. The findings indicate that helmet wearing is not a widespread practice (50.4%; 136/270 report never wearing helmets). As children get older, reported practice is also less likely with 67% (27/40) of 12/13 year-olds compared to 38% (31/81) of 8/9 year-olds reporting never wearing protective headgear. Regardless of age, more girls (61%; 82/135) than boys (39%; 52/135) indicated always/sometimes using helmets when cycling. Conversely, the findings show that (mandatory) seatbelt wearing is standard practice for the majority (93%; 252/270). The findings relating to helmet wearing add further to the debate around the mandatory introduction of protective headgear for cyclists.

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