Clarkston students get helmets and lessons in summer safety

Safe Wheels and Heels program,Approximately 500 Clarkston second graders left school ready for a safe summer with brand new bike helmets and a lesson in potentially life-saving seasonal safety advice from representatives of McLaren Oakland's department of trauma services as part of its Safe Wheels and Heels program.

While less than half of children aged 14 years and younger routinely wear bike helmets, properly fitted helmets have demonstrated a reduced risk of head injury by 45 percent, according to Safe Kids Worldwide.

"As a result of the Safe Wheels and Heels program, the rate of head injuries reported and treated in our emergency department associated with riding bike, scooters and others has decreased dramatically," said Courtney Berry, RN, BSN, manager of the McLaren Oakland department of trauma services and coordinator of Safe Wheels and Heels. "We are very proud to be able to work with our community in helping to save the lives of our children."

Susan Foss, a second grade teacher at Springfield Plains Elementary School in Clarkston appreciates the program's goals, saying, "It's so important for students to learn about safety and the timing is great since the kids are starting to get outside and on their bikes."

Safe Wheels and Heels is coordinated by the McLaren Oakland department of trauma services and the McLaren Oakland Foundation along with the support of community partners: Brooksie Way, Four County Community Foundation, Genisys Credit Union, Kohl's Injury Prevention Program, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. Staff from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and Star EMS were also on hand to help fit the kids with helmets and answer any questions related to safety.

To learn more about McLaren Clarkston's life-saving emergency department, visit mclaren.org/clarkston.