Free on Tuesday: 700 bike helmets for kids

Children's Hospitals and UnitedHealthcare will be giving out 700 free children's bicycle helmets and reflectors Tuesday afternoon at three Twin Cities parks and selected boys and girls club camps.

Children's Hospitals, which last week was designated a Level I pediatric trauma center, is trying to prevent common injuries in children.

The hospital's program manager for injury prevention, Kristi Moline, said volunteers will also be on site providing safety education.

"We know that kids ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency departments related to biking more than any other sport," she said. "And now that entering summer season and children are out of school, we will see an increase in bicycle-related injuries."

A helmet is the single most effective safety device that can reduce the risk of severe injury on a bicycle, Moline said.

Properly worn, bike helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injury by 88 percent, she said. In the past year, Children's Hospitals treated about 450 biking and skateboarding-related head injuries in the Twin Cities.

The three parks hosting the giveaways are Minnehaha Park, Lake Nokomis Park and Lake Harriet, all in Minneapolis.

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