Purpose Bicycle helmet use has increased in the past three decades, but roughly only half of all cyclists wear helmets. Use is lowest among minority children, among children whose parents have less than a high school education and among poor children.
Methods We conducted focus groups with urban youth aged 8 to 15 to better understand their perceptions of barriers and facilitators to helmet use, and to solicit their preferences for a video to promote helmet use to urban youth. We partnered with students from two urban schools to produce a 4 min promotional video. Finally, we tested the impact of the video coupled with receipt of a free helmet and proper fit instructions with families attending a paediatric well-child care clinic in our city.
Results Two focus groups were completed with a total of 11 youth in November 2016. Several important themes emerged that informed the video, including that youth were responsible for keeping themselves safe and that most youth had cell phones (and used cases to protect them). A video script was finalised in February 2017 that asked youth why they protect their phones but not their heads/brains with a helmet. We will enrol at least 25 parent-child dyads in our full intervention: viewing video, receiving helmet and fit instruction, and completing baseline and two follow up surveys. The pilot will be completed by September 2017.
Conclusions Soliciting information from urban youth is important to developing an effective and persuasive bike helmet promotion video.
Significance We must develop persuasive and creative ways to encourage urban youth to wear helmets to reduce bike related injury disparities.