Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

An Evaluation of a Classroom Science Intervention Designed to Extend the Bicycle Helmet Safety Message

Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

An Evaluation of a Classroom Science Intervention Designed to Extend the Bicycle Helmet Safety Message

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Background: Wizards of Motion is a program of curriculum delivery through which experts in Kinesiology introduce grade 7 students to applications of physics for human movement. The program is linked closely to Ministry of Education curriculum requirements but includes human movement applications and data analysis experiences. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate students' head safety knowledge and attitudes toward helmet use after participating in the program. Methods: Data were collected from five grade 7 classrooms. Two classrooms (n = 37) receiving the program, while three classrooms, (n = 37) formed the control group (no intervention). Results on the Knowledge Test, and the Student Helmet Use Questionnaire were compared between intervention and control students. Results: A significant pre-post change in level of knowledge scores was observed in the intervention group. Likewise, intervention group students showed a significant increase in their intention to wear a helmet in future. Discussion: The successful program delivery illustrated the usefulness of linking public health promotion to standard classroom curriculum. Translation to Health Education Practice: This program exemplified the fundamental elements of knowledge translation and knowledge development, and is therefore recommended as a positive approach to delivering the public health message of helmet use for head safety.

BACKGROUND

It is commonly recognized that injury prevention and the development of programs that promote safety are central tenets of public health. Similarly, promotion of participation in sport and recreation at all levels of society is a major emphasis of public health promotion. Yet, participation in sport and recreational activity is not without risk of injury. For example, in 2000 the Canadian Institute of Child Health (CICH) (1) reported that unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death and a major cause of injury in children and adolescents. Likewise, in 2002, the World Health Organization (2) reported that over 700,000 children ages 14 and under died as a result of injuries, of which 90% were classified as unintentional. Among the risks associated with participation in sport and recreation is the risk of head injuries. In Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (3) reported that in 2003-2004, participation in sport and recreation was the third leading cause of hospital admission due to traumatic head injuries for children and youth. Clinical studies of moderate to severe head injuries show that the consequences can include impairment of cognitive, emotional, social and physical functioning.

Cycling, Head Safety and Helmet Use

Although there is little research devoted to the cause of injury in many different activities, there is considerable information related to the cause of injury associated with participation in cycling both at the competitive and recreational levels. There are several published reports that describe the incidence and prevalence of cycling related injuries. For example, according to SmartRisk, (4) a Non-Government Office (NGO) safety advocacy group, there were 1266 Ontario cyclists hospitalized in 2002-2003 due to cycling related injuries. The impacts of these injuries become more profound when one considers that the rate of hospitalization accounted for more than 5000 days in acute care hospital treatments. (4)

With respect to head injuries, the ThinkFirst safety advocacy group reported that cycling is the leading cause of hospitalization due to head injuries among school age children, (5) while Safe Kids Canada, (2) also a safety advocacy group, reported head injuries are the leading cause of severe injury to children on bicycles. The prevalence of mild traumatic brain injuries has been estimated to be 29% of all cycling-related hospital admissions.

Most research has indicated that the risk of head injuries related to cycling can be reduced considerably by simply ensuring that cyclists wear size and age appropriate helmets. …

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