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Helmets On Kids looks to protect kids, keep parents out of trouble

Helmets On Kids program started eight years ago and has handed out close to 4,000 helmets in Simcoe County
Helmets On Kids 2019-05-08
From left, Steve Rastin, Sarah Orr-Shaw (RN with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit), Barrie police Const. Colin Hopper and Cundles Heights vice-principal Kevin Stapleton show the Jell-O brain that is popular with the kids during an event on May 8, 2019 in Barrie. Shawn Gibson/BarrieToday

A tour today of some local schools was showing kids the importance of protecting their heads while riding their bikes now that the good weather is here.

Helmets On Kids takes approximately 150 helmets and distributes them to both the public and Catholic school boards in the region, as well as the local police department, in hopes of getting as many protective devices on kids as the program can.

Steve Rastin, the principal lawyer at Rastin Law on Wellington Street West, told BarrieToday that he and his law firm purchase the helmets and start up the program around the time when kids are getting their bikes out of the garage. 

“We purchase approximately 550 helmets a year, head out in the warmer weather and distribute them to both school boards and now we are also partnering with the two First Nations school boards in Simcoe County,” Rastin said. “We also give some helmets to the local police service boards for bike rodeos and things like that.” 

Partnering with the Barrie Police Service and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Rastin Law was out at Cundles Heights Public School and Sister Catherine Donnelly Catholic School on Wednesday to talk to students and interact with fun exercises.

“We have a nurse who does a great presentation with a brain made out of Jell-O. The officers make the helmet demonstrations fun with humour, but the whole thing always provides lots of insight and information,” said Rastin. “We find that kids at the elementary school level really do listen and hear the negative impact of not wearing a helmet and they get on their parents to get one for them.”

Parents should also be active in getting helmets for their children 16 and under, as the law states if they are not wearing one and are caught, the parents will be charged.

Rastin hopes to see the law change for those over 16, as there is no law currently for that age demographic. 

“We know exactly what can happen if you smack your head on the ground or somewhere else yet there is no law for adults,” said Rastin. "It boggles my mind.”

The Helmets On Kids program was started eight years ago and has handed out close to 40,000 helmets in the county.

The goal is one helmet for every 10 Grade 3 students in Simcoe County, which Rastin said became an initiative when the firm saw the many injuries kids were suffering.

“We’re a law firm that handles personal-injury cases and we’re still seeing kids come in having been injured in an accident and they were not wearing helmets,” Rastin said. “In some cases, the families can’t afford the helmet and that's a sad situation, for sure. We try to assist when and where we can.” 

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based on Barrie
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