Be a Helmet Mom

22 Aug

By Lori Buher

I have a confession to make.  I was not a helmet mom.  Twenty years ago, when our three children were small, I did not enforce the bicycle helmet rule.  In my defense, we lived in a small town; dirt roads, light traffic, country life.  I just didn’t see the need for helmets.  Sure, accidents happen, but I didn’t believe one could happen to my kids.  Fortunately, all three survived biking without helmets and I did not live to regret my casual parenting.  That’s the thing.  Too often we believe it won’t happen to us.  Sure, there are dangers out there, but they happen to other people.  We’re good parents.  We follow the rules (most of the time).  We practice good nutrition.  We help them do their homework; we drive them to soccer practice.  We are good parents.  Unfortunately that is not enough.  Bad things do happen to our children, even if we are good parents.  In 2003, our youngest son, Carl became a victim of meningococcal disease.  Sometimes called bacterial meningitis, this vaccine preventable disease can kill in 24 to 48 hours.  Carl survived, but like most survivors suffered catastrophic injuries; losing both his legs below the knee, three of his fingers and the skin on his arms and legs.  Six months in the hospital, eleven skin graft surgeries, years of healing and rehab and pain and suffering no one should have to endure; all from the effects of a vaccine preventable disease.  So, I guess I would say this to parents: there are many things we can’t protect our children from in this life.  Please, protect them from the dangers you can, like bicycle accidents and vaccine preventable diseases.  Bad things do happen to good people.

Lori Buher is a board member of the National Meningitis Association.  Find out more about NMA by visiting http://nmaus.org.

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