Hard Hats for Little Heads Program

Hard Hats for Little Heads ProgramThe Orange County bicycle helmet giveaway is part of a statewide effort – Hard Hats for Little Heads – launched by the Texas Medical Association in 1994. The program promotes fun exercise and teaches parents and children about the importance of wearing a helmet.

TMA encourages wearing a helmet when bicycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, and when riding scooters. The event is sponsored by the Orange County Medical Society, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and the Texas Medical Association. On average, 250 children in the United States under the age of 14 die each year because of bicycle crashes. Another 300,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for severe head injuries. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if the children had worn bicycle helmets.

"Wearing a bicycle helmet is such a simple way to help ensure a child’s health and safety,” said Dr. Marty Rutledge, a local primary care physician. “We physicians want to encourage this easy and effective safety practice by putting a helmet on every child’s head.”

Any child can receive a free helmet. Local physicians – Dr. Marty Rutledge, Dr. Dan Martin and Dr. Kimberly Martin -- will be on hand to properly fit the helmets. Head injury is the most common cause of death and serious disability from bike crashes. Bicycle helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85%, yet only about 40% of cyclists wear one when they ride.

Since TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads Program began, physicians have given away more than 60,000 free helmets to Texas children. Funding for TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to a generous donation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Prudential Financial, and gifts from physicians and their families.

Baptist Hospitals is a not-for-profit healthcare system with a mission to provide quality healthcare in a Christian environment. With a 60 year history in Southeast Texas, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas provides a full range of clinical services.