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MRC News

Published on November 26, 2001
Jim Albritton
Health and Research News Service

Sammy Safety, Methodist Rehabilitation Center's injury prevention mascot, places a safety information tag on a bicycle at the Bike Rack in Flowood.

JACKSON, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center is placing safety information tags on bicycles, scooters, roller blades and skateboards in Mississippi stores—all in an effort to encourage parents to remember to buy safety helmets and knee and elbow pads when they purchase any toy with wheels that children can ride.

The safety tag campaign is part of Think First, Methodist Rehab’s statewide safety and injury prevention program that aims to prevent spinal cord, brain and other traumatic injuries by focusing on bicycle, automobile, firearm, boating, swimming and diving safety.

Sammy Safety, the Jackson hospital’s injury prevention mascot, kicked off the campaign at the Bike Rack. Sammy and members of the Think First team placed safety tags on bicycles and scooters in the Flowood store.

“We’re proud to be part of this effort,” said Tom Martin, owner of the Bike Rack. “We always encourage parents and children to wear safety helmets anytime they ride a bike or scooter. These tags provide valuable safety information and will serve as reminder of the importance of protective gear.”

Methodist Rehab is offering the safety tags to any Mississippi store that sells bikes, scooters, skateboards or other toys with wheels. Stores interested in distributing the tags should call (601) 364-3451.

“Parents must remember that for bikes, scooters, skateboards, roller skates or in-line skates, a helmet is a necessity, not an accessory,” said Dr. Vohra. “And children who are outside riding bikes or scooters or skating should always wear reflective clothing or stickers or use bike reflectors.”

Each year an estimated 580,000 cyclists are treated in emergency rooms and more than 20,000 others are admitted to hospitals.

“Wearing bike helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and the risk of brain injury by as much as 88 percent,” said Think First director Lauren Fairburn. “We work closely with schools and other health care professionals to do all we can to prevent traumatic, often life-changing injuries. Students are very responsive when they meet our speakers and our injury prevention mascot, Sammy Safety. They really seem to understand the message and we hope they learn to think first about safety and injury prevention.”