CHICAGO --Now that the weather is getting warmer, many children are hitting the sidewalks and streets on bicycles and scooters. The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission joined some members of the White Sox to remind children about the need to play it safe and wear helmets. We've all been waiting for the good weather to get outside. On Wednesday, there was a warning to take precautions when kids are at play, in particular when they're riding bikes. The danger is that most of the bike related injuries are head injuries. On a clear spring day, why not hop on your bike and go for a ride? It's a sure sign that warmer days are ahead. And according the federal officials, it's a sign that parents need to step up precautions for kids not wearing helmets. The head of the U.S. CPSC stood with White Sox catchers Toby Hall and A.J. Pierzynski, who themselves wear protective gear. They say wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent. "It's just good sense. It keeps your child on the playing field and out of the emergency room," said Nancy Nord, acting chairman, CPSC. The CPSC found skateboard injuries caused 65,000 ER visits in 2006. Baseball caused 85,000, football 221,000 and biking injuries accounted for 240,000 emergency room trips for kids age 10-14. The fifth graders at McClellan elementary school got free helmets at the press conference. The helmets were fitted and asked to promise to wear them. The players say it makes all the difference. "Make sure everything fits right, strapped on tight. When you do have bumps and bruises, you can come through and be able to go out and play baseball or whatever sport you play," said Toby Hall, White Sox catcher. "Safety gear isn't just for pros live Toby and I. No matter what your sport, wear your safety gear," said A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox catcher. Troylan Rodriguez is recovering from a soccer injury. He admitted he didn't wear a bike helmet before, but after hearing about the potential for injury he's changed his tune "From now on I'm going to wear helmets and wristbands and everything," the fifth grader said. "It will be? safer and I don't want to get hurt again." In addition to helmets, Chairman Nord recommends proper precautions for other sports, such as knee and elbow pads for skateboarding. Parents should take their children along when shopping for a bike helmet to get the best fit, Nord said.
On the Net: http://www.cpsc.gov/The Associated Press contributed to this report.