Safe Routes Scoop
Getting Kids to Wear Helmets

Think Positive in Action

Point Pleasant is not the only town acting to increase helmet use by children. Beginning in June 2009, the Hoboken Police Department kicked-off a “Think Positive” program in collaboration with the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey and Jersey City Medical Center’s Trauma Division. Throughout the summer, children in Hoboken under 17 years of age seen wearing a helmet while participating in a wheeled sports activity were issued a “positive ticket” as a reward for practicing safe and responsible behavior. Each “ticket” included both a reward and information for children and their parents to read on brain injury and helmet use. The rewards, donated by Rita’s Ices and Johnny Rockets, were redeemable for a free water ice or an ice cream sundae. Throughout the summer, the Hoboken Police Department gave out approximately 200 positive “tickets.” At the same time, thanks to a grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety, 150 bicycle helmets were distributed to children who did not have one.

 

The Hoboken “Think Positive” program wrapped up this fall and sponsors are impressed with the results. Reports show that the child helmet usage rate increased from 40.4% to 63.1%, a gain of 23%. Referencing these results, Marissa Fisher, RN, the Injury Prevention Coordinator for the Trauma Division at Jersey City Medical Center, concluded that “using positive

incentives and education as a means to reinforce the importance of helmet safety and brain injury prevention obviously had a huge impact.” She feels that “the reward element made this program especially appealing to kids and encouraged them to get ‘caught’ wearing their helmet.” She is “confident that this is a behavior that most children will continue to practice.”

 

For more information about how your community can start a “Think Positive” program, visit http://www.bianj.org/think-positive-a-helmet-safety-reward-program

 

i. Delaney, Bonnie. “Cops: Use your head, wear a helmet.” Asbury Park Press 28 September 2009.

ii. Liberty Health (June 16, 2009) “Jersey City Medical Center and the Hoboken Police Department To Distribute “Positive Tickets” to Encourage Helmet Use by Children.” Press release. Retrieved 2009-12-4. http://www.libertyhealth.org/news.aspx?id=1084 iii. Liberty Health (November 17, 2009) “Jersey City Medical Center's ‘GOOD TICKET’ Promotion Found To Increase Bicycle Helmet Use Among Children.” Press release. Retrieved 2009-12-4. http://www.libertyhealth.org/news.aspx?id=1322 iv. National SAFE KIDS Campaign (may, 2002) “A National Study of Traumatic Brain Injury and Wheel-related Sports.” Retrieved 2010-1-22. http://www.usa.safekids.org/content_
documents/ACF160.pdf

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