Do your kids wear helmets? I recently learned two very important things about helmets…First, the St. Louis County Health Program offers free bike helmets for children. Second, the St. Louis County Helmet Ordinance says that helmets are required in St. Louis for all children ages 1 to 17 years. Children must wear a secured helmet for ALL wheeled sports. This includes bicycles, skates, scooters, tricycles, etc.
After getting Mister a tricycle and ordering a bike trailer, I knew a trip to county health was in order. Because of our location, we chose to go to Saint Louis County Department of Health – North Central Community Health Center, but you can check for your nearest location by visiting the St. Louis County DOH Free Safety Helmet Locations listings.
I actually did call ahead to ask if an appointment was necessary. I was instructed that I could come in any time. So, I put the kids in the car and headed over. When I arrived, the front desk called the RN from Special Programs- Maternal and Child Health. Bridget, who would normally do the fitting, apologized profusely that she was swamped and needed in a meeting. She asked if I could wait a just a few minutes while checked to see if another nurse, from the Pediatrics department, would be able to fit the kids. After placing a call, she came back over and said that Vera would be out to help us in a few minutes. She also gave me her card and asked me to call her if I had any questions and said that if I was unable to wait for any reason, just to call her for an appointment. Bridget was very sweet and apologetic, and I appreciated that she took the time to find someone else to fit the kids for helmets when she was unable to do it.
Within a few minutes, Miss Vera arrived from Pediatrics. She was extremely cordial. We followed her back to an exam room, where she had me complete the forms (one for each child) that the county requires for distribution of the helmets. Then she measured Mister, fitted a helmet for him, and instructed me on proper usage. Next, she measure Sister, fitted a helmet for her, and again reiterated the instructions for proper usage. She gave me a brochure with each helmet, as well as an extra set of velcro straps that could be used if we needed a snugger fit. She also showed me how to use the dial on the back of the helmet to adjust the cap size. After asking me if I had any questions, she bid me a good day. When we thanked her, she stated, “My pleasure. I enjoy helping others enjoy the outdoor sports safely.” Miss Vera was gentle with the kids, informative, and courteous—despite the fact I know we were an unscheduled interruption in her routine.
Here are the kids in their new helmets…
There are also Free Safety Events, where you can take your child to be fitted.
Some municipalities are also offering free helmets to residents. Call your city hall to check.
As a former healthcare worker, I am all too aware of how quickly criticisms of health care workers, and/or facilities or programs, will spring forth, but compliments are rarely spoken. That is one of the reasons I chose to write about our experience with the Free Safety Helmet Program. Bridget and Miss Vera deserve to be recognized for both their professionalism and their customer service. A hearty “Thanks!” to Bridget and Miss Vera for being so kind, and to St. Louis County DOH for the helmets. Our kids look forward to a safe summer of riding now!
*This is an unsolicited post*