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Helmets for Kids: Getting Children to School Safely
helmets for kids

When I rode my bicycle to school in the seventh grade, I pretended I was my hero at the time – the great Arthur Fonzarelli. As evidenced by my low-end Huffy (and lack of a leather jacket and girlfriends), I was nowhere near as cool as “The Fonz.” Or my classmates who drove a Mongoose or Schwinn.

But let’s make one thing clear: I was no nerd. And I would never – repeat – never wear a helmet as I popped my wheelies and darted in and out of traffic.

Crazy, right?

Yes, but this was also an era when children would slide around, unbuckled, in backseats of enormous Buicks and Cadillacs while their parents drove . . . um . . . 55 miles per hour.

We’ve since rocked around the clock several decades, coming to our senses for the most part, but do you realize that nearly 30,000 children in Southeast Asia travel to and from school – not by bicycle – but by motorcycle? Many of them without helmets?

The UPS Foundation recently granted $450,000 to the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation to fund the existing Helmets for Kids program over a three-year period in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The grant helps the AIP donate more than 3,000 helmets to children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s District 12, where helmet usage is the lowest in the country.

According to the World Health Organization, road traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and injury in Vietnam and young children are particularly vulnerable. Motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation in major Vietnamese cities and helmets can be a simple and inexpensive safety precaution.

“Road safety is of paramount importance to UPS, as our drivers, 70 of whom are in Vietnam, are the front-line of our organization. Trained in safe driving methods, UPS drivers are some of the safest on the road,” said Jeff Mclean, general manager of UPS Vietnam.  “We are proud that our ethos for safety extends to the safety of the local communities in Vietnam.”

Over the past two years, 39 UPSers volunteered 169 hours during the Helmets for Kids rollout in a District 12 school. They helped children find the right helmet size, participated in the helmet handover ceremony, and were involved in the road safety education program.

As my childhood hero would say: Ayyyyyyyyyyyy!

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