Monday, June 23, 2014
Bike Helmets Should Be Law
I should have written this a week ago but busy schedules got in the way. A week ago today, on Father's day, Tim decided to take us all to a community about 45 minutes away to ride our bikes. The kids were excited and it was a great day for a bike ride.
Once we got to Carlyle, we took off on the bike trail. One part of the trail was closed so we took another route that led to downtown. It was really neat to ride through part of downtown and through some older neighborhoods. As the day started to warm up, the kids started complaining of thirst. That's when I realized that I didn't bring their water bottles. So, we stopped at a grocery store to buy water. We then headed back to where we started from and our plan was to go further down to another part of the trail. As we rode down one of the residential streets of Carlyle, I moved toward the front to avoid a collision with one of the kids. My kids have a tendency to cross their bikes right in front of mine so I often take the lead. We were all enjoying our time together on our bikes until I suddenly heard Jackie scream and then a crash. I looked behind me just in time to see Jackie take another hit on the concrete which, of course, caused me to whip my bike around to get back to her. Right as I reached Jackie, a 9-month pregnant lady was already helping Jackie. (I think running to help Jackie brought on contractions, seriously. And the lady was hoping that was the case as she was ready.). Jackie was screaming at the top of her lungs and yelling that her eye was coming out. Then she started screaming that her tooth came out. I saw blood around her mouth and panicked about the possible dental work ahead. I held Jackie close to me and said a quick prayer for strength to look in Jackie's mouth and at her face. Jackie hit the concrete curb at least twice. I finally mustered the courage to take a good look at Jackie and immediately noticed the swelling around Jackie's left eye. I then looked in her mouth and noticed that Jackie indeed lost a tooth. Thankfully, it was a baby tooth but we had no idea that it might have been ready to come out. We tried to find the tooth to no avail. I had Tim ride his bike to the SUV and bring it back to us so I could take Jackie to the ER. (Thankfully, we rode separately).
After Tim arrived with the SUV, I immediately put Jackie in and took off for the closest ER. All the way there, Jackie was still screaming in pain and fear. I couldn't help but cry myself because I felt like a terrible mom. How dare I get ahead of the group for such a selfish reason? I did everything I could to keep it together for Jackie. I had already put out a message on Facebook for my friends to pray for Jackie. I believe all those prayers and positive thoughts helped. We got to the ER and Jackie was immediately triaged and then we were given an ice pack for the swelling. As we waited to be seen by the doctor, I was able to take a better look at Jackie since she had calmed down somewhat by now. Jackie's face really took a hit as she had cuts and scratches all over her face. Her lip was also slightly swollen and she had a small goose-egg on the right side of her forehead. Jackie's glasses were also damaged. She also had cuts, bruises, and abrasions on her hands and legs. There was some concern about possible fractures.
When we were finally seen by the ER doctor, Jackie had calmed down. The doctor looked Jackie over and decided against a CT scan due to no displacement of bones. The possibility of fracture is still there but there was no obvious displacement of broken bones. Unless there is displacement, there really isn't anything to do for fractured noses and the bones around the eyes, except to limit activity and take care to avoid further trauma during the healing process. Jackie (as well as I) was very thankful for that.
The nurses and the ER doctor agreed that we were very lucky that day because, if not for the helmet, things could have been so much worse. The helmet saved Jackie from further injury. Judging by the damage to Jackie's glasses, it's clear that those also protected Jackie's eyes. There was debris embedded in the lenses.
Being a Florida native, I knew that for children under age 16, bike helmet use is required by law if operating a bike or scooter. When we moved to Illinois, I just assumed that it was law here, too, and I required my children to wear their helmets while riding their bikes. I learned that day of the accident that there is no such law in Illinois. There really should be! I'm so thankful that Jackie was wearing her helmet. I just shudder to think of how much worse it could have ended.
I'm so thankful for the prayers and thoughts of my friends who care about Jackie. I do believe in the power of prayer. Jackie's face has healed beautifully. Up until a couple of days ago, it was still quite obvious that something very serious happened to Jackie. Now it's a week later and the only evidence left on Jackie's face is a very light bruise on her right forehead, a very tiny scab underneath her nostril, and a very small shiner under her left eye.
Thank you to all my friends for caring so much for Jackie. Thank you to Jackie's sweet friend, Heather, for the pretty new helmet. I'm so thankful for good vision insurance that enabled us to provide Jackie with new glasses. And most of all, I'm so thankful for God's protection over my precious baby girl.
Illinois needs to make bike helmet use a law for minors. Bike helmets save lives!