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Physician: If it has wheels, wear a helmet

Physician: If it has wheels, wear a helmet (KRCG 13)

June is Summer Safety Month, and with summer comes more time for kids to play outside.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 spoke with SSM Health physician Dr. Christopher Paynter about why helmets are an absolute must any time kids participate in activities that involve wheels.

"As long as things have wheels on them, you should be wearing a helmet. Because they can tip over. Even with a tricycle, even with four wheels - you can still tip it over," he said. "It's common for people to forget that you should be wearing helmets when you're skating, skateboarding, riding scooters, many different things... you're supposed to be wearing your helmet as well."

Dr. Paynter said encouraging consistent use isn't always easy. "It is a big struggle that I consistently have to remind kids about. Wearing a helmet is cumbersome, and yes, it can be sweaty," he said.

Helmets - even if they seem unwieldy - can save lives, according to Dr. Paynter.

He said that's why parents need to be on-board with requiring helmet use for any activity with wheels.

"We get tired of our kids arguing with us, and you know, back in the day, we didn't have to wear helmets as much as we do now, so it's sometimes even hard for ourselves to get on board," he said. "Yes, kids are going to fall, and it's important that they toughen up, I get that - I get where that philosophy is coming from. But our brains are developing even up to 21 years of age."

Dr. Paynter suggested leading by example when it comes to protecting your noggin: "If I want my child to wear a helmet then I need to wear mine as well."

Keep Dr. Paynter's safety equation in mind as you enjoy the sidewalks, streets, and trails of Mid-missouri this summer: if it has wheels, it calls for a helmet, no matter how long the ride.

"It's true - most of the time, you'll never fall and hit your head and you'll probably be fine. But it just takes one time where you can get a serious injury to your neck, our a brain injury from hitting your head, so you always have to be careful," he said.

Watch KRCG 13 next Friday at 5 pm for our next Family First segment. We'll talk with a health expert about some tips and tricks for sunscreen use this summer.

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