Tuesday, 20 December 2011

We urge Her Majesty’s Government to make the wearing of helmets in the home a legal requirement

We urge Her Majesty’s Government to make the wearing of helmets in the home a legal requirement in order to prevent unnecessary deaths or serious and long lasting injuries.

The purpose of helmets is to reduce the risk of serious injury to the head. There is currently no legal requirement in the UK to wear a helmet in the home.

More accidents happen at home than anywhere else. The cost to society of UK home accident injuries has been estimated at £25,000 million annually.

Every year in the UK more than 5,000 people die in accidents in the home and 2.7 million need treatment at an accident and emergency department (this compares to 111 pedal cyclists killed and 2,620 seriously injured on the roads).

Falls are the most common accidents in the home - 55% of accidental injuries in the home involve a fall. Every year more than 4,200 children are involved in falls on the stairs and 4,000 children under the age of 15 are injured falling from windows. However, the risk of falling in the home increases with age. Falls account for 71% of all fatal accidents to those aged 65 and over. The most serious injuries usually happen on the stairs.

But falling is not the only risk. In the United States the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported a significant number of injuries and deaths in the home related to televisions falling on children. More than half a million people a year suffer injuries to the head at home, and accidents in the home account for about 40% of all head injuries.

Hence, helmet wearing in the home could encourage more people to spend more time at home - particularly the elderly. However, some may consider that this resolution is too narrow. Perhaps it should propose compulsory helmet wearing as just one part of a wider drive to encourage more people to stay inside, where they will be safe. Or even compulsory wearing of a helmet at all times.

And if you think this sounds bonkers, consider the WI 2012 resolution short list briefings


Simon Nurse said...

If you add to the frightening home statistics, accidents that include splashes from cooking oil, choking on bones and cuts from sharp knives, a compulsory diet of Gazpacho is surely the only way forward. Let's make our homes safe people!


The WI really shouldn't get involved should they?

Paul said...

Luckily the government has more urgent things to worry about than expanding the intrusive nanny state even further.
(But please don't put ideas into their heads!)

Doug said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Paul on this. My youngest daughter loves climbing trees and sometimes it's frightening seeing how high she goes just to scrape her knees.

We loathe the nanny state.

WillCycle said...

In a word, brilliant!

Sam Wilson said...

@Doug: I read that as "just to escape her knees"!

ndru said...

You are not dealing with the root of the problem here - ban the stairs instead! And hanging framed pictures on walls... and chandeliers... Will someone think about the children?!

Anonymous said...

It's compulsory here in Australia to wear a helmet when riding bicycles.
While I don't like the idea of a nanny state, it does save lives.
I've been caught up in a few bicycle accidents myself (involving cars and bicycles). Wearing a helmet has stopped me from getting head injuries.

gom1 said...

In the UK, road accidents cause more head injuries among pedestrians and motorists than among cyclists. It seems we should build on the excellent example of Australia, and make helmets compulsory for all road users.

Anonymous said...

I have been in several bicycle accidents where I wasn't wearing a helmet, and I was fine. Also, I have had falls wearing a helmet where I feel the result was worse than if I'd not been wearing a helmet.

Clearly this is strong evidence that helmets don't save life or limb!

In reality, having an accident wearing a helmet and being OK does NOT tell you the helmet protected you. That's as ridiculous as someone else pointing to an accident where someone wearing a helmet is killed or seriously injured and then saying that shows helmets are useless. Strong claims like that require statistically meaningful results, from data over a large number of accidents. Interestingly, when you do that, the case for helmets isn't as strong as many people think, and even weaker when the bigger picture of public health overall is considered, but that's another debate.

Rider said...

The sad reality is that if somehow this sort of law did come to pass, no doubt after a short time there would actually be people clamouring to tell us about the time "MY HOUSE HELMET SAVED MY LIFE!"

Praise that precious foam!

Many people possess this peculiar mix of servile reverence for authority and vitriolic disdain of anything individual or different, that leads to support of things like compulsory helmet laws.