Four year old killed by bike helmet.

For all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmet usage will be moved here.
User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 3405
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Cugel » 8 Jun 2020, 11:45am

Vorpal wrote:
Peter F wrote:Such a sad story, but my first thought was not about the helmet strap. This could just have easily been an item of clothing. How do strangulation by helmet straps stats compare to similar incidents not involving helmets.

But no, my first thought was what was a 4 year old doing playing out without an adult? Seriously? This isn't a "wrap your kids in cotton wool" thing either. When I was 4 back in the late 70s I wouldn't have been playing out without an adult there. Kids of that age have no sense of danger and need adult supervision. I have a 4 year old and there is no way he would be playing out with friends without me or my wife or another adult being present.

How old before he is allowed to play out on his own?

My kids were allowed to play out once I was confident that they understood & could follow the limits set (stay in the garden; don't go near the street, etc.) They were within hearing, and I could see them out the window. My oldest did climb up & fall out of a tree once, though she was not seriously injured. My youngest was more likely to do something potentially dangerous when there was a parent around. I think that when we were there, he tended to rely on what we told him, and when we weren't he thought about it for himself.


How to keep children safe is a very interesting subject, as it involves two kinds of humans (adults & children) interacting and developing a relstionship that has to deal with not just human behaviour but (in the case of a child) rapidly changing human behaviour in which one is supposed to become as skilled as the other (i.e grow up).

It's also illustrative of risk compensation psychology. As you mention, "My youngest was more likely to do something potentially dangerous when there was a parent around". In practice, I discovered the same; and that children asked to deal with dangers themselves became far more reliable at doing so - and therefore safer - than those closley supervised, who never themselves learn any form of mental risk assessment before acting.

An illustrative anecdote.... (yes, I know, anecdotes) .....

A friend was extremely paranoid about danger to his children from cars, even though they lived in a cul-de-sac. He would scream at them and impose some form of punishment if they so much as stepped off a kerb into the road. As a result, they had no skill development concerning traffic.

Of course, they got older and eventually escaped the cul-de-sac for a wander about. Inevitably one gor knocked over by a car, basically because he had no skill at assessing the danger they presented, He didn't know how to cross a road. Luckily it was a minor hit albeit requiring some hospital treatment.

It's an old story, this one. Kids in cotton wool end up being in far more danger than the other sort as they grow up. They never learn to assess or deal with various dangers until one day they have to and can't.

The syndrome is central to the whole cycling helmet debate (and perhaps that of other safety aids in many domains besides cycling). There is no doubt that protection from harm via a device detracts from the user's ability to assess and deal the associate dangers themselves. If the device fails or ir awarded far more ability than it actually possesses.....

Cugel

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 13756
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Cyril Haearn » 8 Jun 2020, 12:16pm

The head has evolved to be robust

I saw some tidy kiddies wearing helmuts at play with their parents
No-one thinks of taking a helmut off to play, but for a small child it greatly changes maneuverability and centre of gravity, makes the head much much bigger

Been looking at play equipment, one imagines there are all sorts of safety standards applied to it
Entertainer, intellectual, idealist, PoB, 60097
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

Peter F
Posts: 139
Joined: 25 May 2020, 8:16am

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Peter F » 8 Jun 2020, 12:22pm

profpointy wrote:
Yebbutt - for many here it would be argued as "obvious" that wearing a helmet makes cycling safer, yet the seemingly equally obvious safety benefit of wearing a helmet climbing trees is dismissed by the same people. The point is that neither is at as clear cut as claimed


No. This isn't about whether a helmet is safe for climing trees. Many rock climbers wear head protection. It is about whether the helmet is appropriately fitted and fit for purpose. The point is that tree climbing is insufficiently popular as a sport so no one really thinks about it.

Jdsk
Posts: 1292
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Jdsk » 8 Jun 2020, 12:24pm

The possibility of risk compensation should always be considered. It's possible to look for its occurrence in both laboratory and real word settings. But it's notable how often it's claimed compared to how often it's demonstrated.

Cugel wrote:There is no doubt that protection from harm via a device detracts from the user's ability to assess and deal the associate dangers themselves. If the device fails or ir awarded far more ability than it actually possesses.....

What does "There is no doubt... " mean, please?

Is it that you don't doubt it? Or that no-one doubts it? Or that the evidence is so strong that no-one doubts it? Or that the evidence is so strong that no-one should doubt it?

Because if it's either of the last two it would be helpful to quote that evidence. And if it's at the level of anecdote we'd all be wise to doubt it.

Thanks

Jonathan

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 13756
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Cyril Haearn » 8 Jun 2020, 12:25pm

Tree climbing is popular with kiddies
Climbers wear quite different helmuts that increase the profile of the head less than cycling helmuts do
Entertainer, intellectual, idealist, PoB, 60097
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

Peter F
Posts: 139
Joined: 25 May 2020, 8:16am

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Peter F » 8 Jun 2020, 12:30pm

Vorpal wrote:
Peter F wrote:Such a sad story, but my first thought was not about the helmet strap. This could just have easily been an item of clothing. How do strangulation by helmet straps stats compare to similar incidents not involving helmets.

But no, my first thought was what was a 4 year old doing playing out without an adult? Seriously? This isn't a "wrap your kids in cotton wool" thing either. When I was 4 back in the late 70s I wouldn't have been playing out without an adult there. Kids of that age have no sense of danger and need adult supervision. I have a 4 year old and there is no way he would be playing out with friends without me or my wife or another adult being present.

How old before he is allowed to play out on his own?

My kids were allowed to play out once I was confident that they understood & could follow the limits set (stay in the garden; don't go near the street, etc.) They were within hearing, and I could see them out the window. My oldest did climb up & fall out of a tree once, though she was not seriously injured. My youngest was more likely to do something potentially dangerous when there was a parent around. I think that when we were there, he tended to rely on what we told him, and when we weren't he thought about it for himself.


If you can see them through a window and they are within earshot then they are not unsupervised. I would let my 4 year old play in the back garden while I am in the kitchen looking through the window. I wouldn't trust him to not leave the garden on trust though so he can't physically open the gate.
In my experience kids are impulsive, they may know not to do something but in the moment they forget and do it anyway, like chasing a ball into the road.
It's the things you can intervene with if you are there, such as falling into water, getting a strap caught. They may be more likely to show off when you are there, but if it goes wrong you can react.

profpointy
Posts: 510
Joined: 9 Jun 2011, 10:34pm

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby profpointy » 8 Jun 2020, 12:49pm

Peter F wrote:
profpointy wrote:
Yebbutt - for many here it would be argued as "obvious" that wearing a helmet makes cycling safer, yet the seemingly equally obvious safety benefit of wearing a helmet climbing trees is dismissed by the same people. The point is that neither is at as clear cut as claimed


No. This isn't about whether a helmet is safe for climing trees. Many rock climbers wear head protection. It is about whether the helmet is appropriately fitted and fit for purpose. The point is that tree climbing is insufficiently popular as a sport so no one really thinks about it.


I'm not really arguing whether helmets are or aren't desirable for climbing trees as that's not the point at all. My point is that here we have a specific example of unintended harm caused by a helmet. You can't really deny the thrust of the cycle helmet advocacy is based on the "it's obvious" argument rather than statistics. Yet here we have an example of an equally obvious scenario for helmet wearing which has led to a child's death.

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 3320
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby The utility cyclist » 8 Jun 2020, 1:09pm

Peter F wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:The kid had their helmet on so they were obviously perfectly safe :roll:.

My point is that this story has nothing to do with cycle helmets.
Reminded me very much of a toddler that drowned in a garden pond in my local area 15 years ago. She was 15 months old unsupervised in the back garden. Despite calls to fill in ponds this was a story about not looking after your children.


yes it is a story about parents leaving their kids to their own devices when it's not suitable, but also about the potential effects of a so called safety device and how that influences parents feeling their children are safe, it absolutely is about helmets and the effects it has both whilst on a bike or even elsewhere.
Wearing the helmet is likely to have influenced the child's own risk taking whilst alone and playing and thinking they were safe due to wearing it, we know this to be a valid assessment.

Jdsk
Posts: 1292
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Jdsk » 8 Jun 2020, 1:14pm

The utility cyclist wrote:Wearing the helmet is likely to have influenced the child's own risk taking whilst alone and playing and thinking they were safe due to wearing it, we know this to be a valid assessment.

How do we know this, please?

Thanks

Jonathan

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18280
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Vorpal » 8 Jun 2020, 1:28pm

Peter F wrote:If you can see them through a window and they are within earshot then they are not unsupervised. I would let my 4 year old play in the back garden while I am in the kitchen looking through the window. I wouldn't trust him to not leave the garden on trust though so he can't physically open the gate.

And if I am not watching them every moment? If I look at Facebook on my phone for a couple of minutes or something? Are they supervised, then? Kids get themselves hurt playing in parks and things when their parents do something like answer the phone. My oldest fell on the monkey bars and hit her head quite hard when she was 5. Where was I? Chasing her little brother who at 3, figured out how to do the gates at the play park.

It's easy to blame the parents, but helmets that can strangle a child should not be legal. The clips need to release under that kind of pressure, so that tragedies like this do not occur. Kids at 7 or 8 forget to take their helmets off whilst playing and they are old enough to be playing without immeditate supervision.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18280
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Vorpal » 8 Jun 2020, 1:29pm

Jdsk wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Wearing the helmet is likely to have influenced the child's own risk taking whilst alone and playing and thinking they were safe due to wearing it, we know this to be a valid assessment.

How do we know this, please?

Thanks

Jonathan

I believe that TUC is talking about risk compensaiton, which has been experimentalyl verified, but not in a way that we can confirm would affect actions in this circumstance.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Peter F
Posts: 139
Joined: 25 May 2020, 8:16am

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Peter F » 8 Jun 2020, 1:56pm

Cugel wrote:
An illustrative anecdote.... (yes, I know, anecdotes) .....

A friend was extremely paranoid about danger to his children from cars, even though they lived in a cul-de-sac. He would scream at them and impose some form of punishment if they so much as stepped off a kerb into the road. As a result, they had no skill development concerning traffic.

Of course, they got older and eventually escaped the cul-de-sac for a wander about. Inevitably one gor knocked over by a car, basically because he had no skill at assessing the danger they presented, He didn't know how to cross a road. Luckily it was a minor hit albeit requiring some hospital treatment.

It's an old story, this one. Kids in cotton wool end up being in far more danger than the other sort as they grow up. They never learn to assess or deal with various dangers until one day they have to and can't.

The syndrome is central to the whole cycling helmet debate (and perhaps that of other safety aids in many domains besides cycling). There is no doubt that protection from harm via a device detracts from the user's ability to assess and deal the associate dangers themselves. If the device fails or ir awarded far more ability than it actually possesses.....

Cugel

First point, kids that act up when adults are present are looking for attention. If your child is more likely to do something dangerous when you're there it's because they want you to look.

The anecdote is well...not very useful. How do you know that the kid never learnt to cross the road and that is why he was hit by a car? Did your friend tell you this? Even children that know how to cross the road get hit by cars, this is why they have 20 limits past schools and crossing ladies/men. Children are impulsive and act without thinking. Also young children are very poor about judging the approaching speed of a car once itis travelling over a certain speed.

Yes, children have to learn to judge risk for themselves, but that needs to be done within certain confines. You don't let a 4 year old learn about climbing and falling off where if they do fall they die. You do it in a playground where if they fall they hurt themselves, but not seriously. You also make damn sure you're around because if it does go wrong, and it can in ways you wouldn't even imagine, you can help them, because at that age they have not got the ability to help themselves.

Peter F
Posts: 139
Joined: 25 May 2020, 8:16am

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Peter F » 8 Jun 2020, 2:05pm

Vorpal wrote:
Jdsk wrote:
The utility cyclist wrote:Wearing the helmet is likely to have influenced the child's own risk taking whilst alone and playing and thinking they were safe due to wearing it, we know this to be a valid assessment.

How do we know this, please?

Thanks

Jonathan

I believe that TUC is talking about risk compensaiton, which has been experimentalyl verified, but not in a way that we can confirm would affect actions in this circumstance.


I would be amazed if the child was even thinking about the helmet when they climbed the tree. Probably didn't take it off from when they were riding a bike, or maybe even put it on because they like it. My 4 year old wore a sun hat all day inside once because it had a picture of a dinosaur on it.

There is an awful lot of people making claims here for which there is absolutely no evidence. No one knows why the child was wearing the cycle helmet and so trying to say that this is evidence of risk compensation is just wrong.

Peter F
Posts: 139
Joined: 25 May 2020, 8:16am

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby Peter F » 8 Jun 2020, 2:33pm

profpointy wrote:
Peter F wrote:
profpointy wrote:
Yebbutt - for many here it would be argued as "obvious" that wearing a helmet makes cycling safer, yet the seemingly equally obvious safety benefit of wearing a helmet climbing trees is dismissed by the same people. The point is that neither is at as clear cut as claimed


No. This isn't about whether a helmet is safe for climing trees. Many rock climbers wear head protection. It is about whether the helmet is appropriately fitted and fit for purpose. The point is that tree climbing is insufficiently popular as a sport so no one really thinks about it.


I'm not really arguing whether helmets are or aren't desirable for climbing trees as that's not the point at all. My point is that here we have a specific example of unintended harm caused by a helmet. You can't really deny the thrust of the cycle helmet advocacy is based on the "it's obvious" argument rather than statistics. Yet here we have an example of an equally obvious scenario for helmet wearing which has led to a child's death.


You have unintended harm caused by a helmet not being used for it's intended purpose. It is not obvious that wearing a cycle helmet for climbing a tree is a good idea. This is a non sequitur.

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 3320
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: Four year old killed by bike helmet.

Postby The utility cyclist » 8 Jun 2020, 2:34pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:Tree climbing is popular with kiddies
Climbers wear quite different helmuts that increase the profile of the head less than cycling helmuts do


Not all climbers wear helmets though, and anything falling with a decent size or speed the helmet isn't going to do squat*, and like a cycle helmet increases the target size and does have the effect admitted or not, of increasing risk taking.

* 10kg rock falling from 50 feet up and striking a climber compared to a motorists conveyance hitting a person on a bike at 30mph are in the ball park of helmet doing sod all.

This is why across every single sport that I've looked at the data for since wearing helmets became more prevalent or enforced through compulsion, outcomes have got worse regards safety despite other apparent safety interventions. Boxing, gridiron, cricket, ice hockey and of course cycling.

Even skiing has seen many studies showing worse outcomes, Japanese study showed that children lose consciousness more often wearing helmets than non wearing, a 3 year study across 30 ski resorts 2011/12-2013/14 found that there were greater TBIs in wearers than non wearers. That said most ski helmet studies are so variable in their testing stringency and how they collate data it's easy for meta analysis to simply state helmets = good despite the huge holes in the individual studies.