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Does Wearing a Helmet Protect My Child?

Essential protection against head injuries.

Essential protection against head injuries.

Many jurisdictions have enacted laws that require children to wear helmets, even up to the age of 17, if they ride a bike, rollerblade, skateboard or do anything at all on wheels. Yet many children, and their parents, simply ignore these laws, or the helmets are worn haphazardly and offer little, if any, protection in the event of an accident. Each year there are hundreds of thousands of head injuries from bicycle accidents. Many result in hospitalization.

When it comes to head injuries, bicycles are twice as dangerous and any other sport. The only consumer product responsible for more accidents than bicycles in childhood is the automobile. We buckle up our children in cars and place them in safety seats, yet we allow them out on dangerous roadways without any head protection. Don’t you want to be sure your child is protected to the best of his or her ability as he or she peddles off to a friend’s house? Making sure the helmet is fitted correctly is as important as making sure that it’s being worn.

Guideline for a Proper Fit

According to the Canadian Institute of Child Health, here are some guidelines to ensure a proper fitting helmet:

  • The helmet should fit snug and be comfortable. It must be snug enough so that it cannot tip forward or backward.
  • The helmet should sit level on the child’s head, about two fingers above the eyebrows in front.
  • Adjust the foam pads and chin strap to ensure a proper fit. The front and rear straps should meet just below each ear.
  • Adjust the chinstrap so it is snug but doesn’t pinch. It may be wise to try on several helmets before you choose the one that has the best fit for your child.

It is critical that you buy a new helmet if your child has been involved in any type of crash. Even if the helmet looks okay externally, the inner liner may have been damaged, making it less effective should your child be involved in another accident. Need more information or have a question, please feel free to email me or call me at (330) 758-4446.

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