Objectives: To assess the impact of a community based bicycle helmet programme aimed at children aged 5-12 years (about 140,000) from poor and well off municipalities.
Methods: A quasi-experimental design, including a control group, was used. Changes in the risk of bicycle related head injuries leading to hospitalisation were measured, using rates ratios.
Results: Reductions in bicycle related head injuries were registered in both categories of municipalities. Compared with the pre-programme period, the protective effect of the programme during the post-programme period was as significant among children from poor municipalities (RR= 0.45 95%CI 0.26 to 0.78) as among those from richer municipalities (RR=0.55 95%CI 0.41 to 0.75).
Conclusion: Population based educational programmes may have a favourable impact on injury risks in poor areas despite lower adoption of protective behaviours.