The absence of an important item was blatantly obvious at the opening of the new Yarmouth skatepark last month. The vast majority of youths whizzing down and around the cement slopes and bowls were not wearing helmets.
Helmets appeared to be rare for youths at the official opening of Yarmouth’s skateboard park last month
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO
A study by the Canadian Institute for Health says that 30 per cent of brain injuries in Canada are suffered by children and youth – many of them happen while participating in sports and other recreational activities.
njuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk can range from bruises and abrasions to sprains and strains, fractures and dislocations. Wrist fractures are quite common. Facial injuries include breaking your nose and jawbone
Severe injuries include concussion, closed head injury and blunt head trauma.
Youths can suffer permanent impairment or even death if they fall off the skateboard and strike their head without a helmet. Most brain injuries happen when the head hits pavement.
Skateboarding youths may not be aware that they are breaking a Yarmouth bylaw that could result in a summary offence fine of $227.41.
Bylaw No. 44 (helmet bylaw) states that no person shall ride on a skateboard or skate on in-line skates in, on, or near a public place or a place that is open to the public, in the Town of Yarmouth, unless that person is wearing a helmet that complies with the Bicycle Helmet Regulations. Every person who violates a provision of this bylaw is guilty of an offence.
Mayor Pam Mood says interim signs advising that helmets are required have been posted until spring when permanent ones will replace them.
She believes it is a matter of enforcing the laws.
“I’ve spoken with the group of people involved and I think the best way to handle it is to encourage them to police themselves and have the leaders step up to set the example. The bylaw is there and yes, needs to be enforced, but will be next to impossible all the time,” she said.
Frank Grant, director of Yarmouth Recreation, doesn’t pull any punches on the issue.
“Parents have to have a major role in this rather than the RCMP,” he said.
“You wouldn’t send your kid to play in a basketball game wearing dress shoes.”
He added that funding for helmets and knee and elbow pads for skateboarders under 16 may be available through the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program.
Contact Yarmouth Recreation for more information at 902-742-8868.
Emergency Health Services is also providing 20 helmets for the Yarmouth skatepark, available through Yarmouth Recreation.
As part of a provincial program, in partnership with Child Safety Link, the IWK Health Centre has developed helmet resources, which are located on their website.