WORCESTER, Mass. — UMass Memorial Health is launching a Pediatric Helmet Distribution Program.

Dr. Jonathan Green said helmets protect the brain from injury.

The pediatric surgeon wants kids to stay active and says riding a bicycle is great exercise, but children need to be safe while doing it.

He said about 26,000 head injuries a year are caused by bicycle injuries and about 87% of the time the child wasn't wearing a helmet.

He said wearing one is easy and effective.

If kids come into the hospital with any injury from a bike or scooter accident, the physician will start the process of getting them a helmet.

"They protect against brain injuries as well as skull fractures and those are the majority of head injuries we're seeing from bicycle accidents,” said Dr. Green. “As part of injury prevention, we go hand in hand with our community so it's a multidisciplinary approach to make our community safer. And so, wearing helmets, we found that there was kind of a need for this. We see in the summer months and actually all year-round head injuries and kids not wearing bicycle helmets."

The helmets also come with a safety brochure, and a hospital staff member will fit the helmet and adjust the straps properly, so patients leave knowing how to wear it correctly.