Davis County officials have declared May 21-28 as Safe Kids Week and are launching a program to encourage children and adults to wear bike helmets.

Bicycle accidents rank sixth on the list of childhood killers nationally, and 31 young persons were killed in bike accidents in Utah in the past four years, according to health officials."Every day in America at least one child is killed and another 1,000 are seriously injured in bicycle crashes," according to Davis health director Dr. Enrico Leopardi. "These numbers represent a dramatic 27 percent increase over the last 10 years.

"In Davis County, numerous incidents with injuries have occurred, many of which could have been prevented had riders been wearing a bicycle helmet," Leopardi said.

According to figures supplied by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, more than three-quarters of bike-related deaths involve head injuries.

"Bike helmets could save many of these young lives," said Koop. "Unfortunately, few parents recognize how dangerous bicycle riding can be. They didn't wear helmets as kids, so neither do their children."

According to Leopardi:

- A child is four times more likely to die in a bike crash than to be kidnapped by a stranger;

- Most bicycle crashes result from bicyclist error and not road conditions or motorist error; and

- Most bike crashes and collisions occur within one mile of home.

More information is available from the county health department, 451-3340.