Home children's health Helmets 101: A Parent’s Guide

Helmets 101: A Parent’s Guide

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A helmet is the most effective way to reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury when a child is riding a bike, scooter or skateboard. That should be enough to convince anyone to wear one, but unfortunately studies show only 30% of kids in Ohio wear a helmet when riding.

Apart from the automobile, bicycles are tied to more childhood injuries than any other consumer product, including trampolines, ladders and swimming pools.

The good news is, if your child is wearing a properly fitted helmet, their chances of sustaining a traumatic brain injury go down by almost 90%.

Why Kids Don’t Wear Helmets

Getting your child to consistently wear a helmet starts with you. Kids have heard from friends that helmets aren’t cool. It’s up to you as the parent to break through those misconceptions by being a good example for your child. That means when you’re on a bike, you need to be a good example and also have a helmet on. If you’re not wearing a helmet when you ride, your child will think they don’t need one either. 

The other key to getting a child to buy-in to head protection is to give them a say in what they’re wearing. Your son or daughter should be with you when you go to pick out a helmet. There are hundreds of cool designs to choose from and if your child likes the helmet they choose there is a much better chance they’ll wear it.

Make Sure It Fits?

As explained in the video above, helmet fit is key to the safety of your child. You can’t simply go by the helmet label that may say a helmet is the right size for a certain age group. It’s important to look for the actual size of the helmet and compare that with the size of your child’s head to make sure it fits.

Bike Helmets and Skateboard Helmets – What’s The Difference?

Bicycle helmets: Bike helmets are different from other helmets because they’re designed to take extreme force from one impact, as in a collision with a car, or major fall. But, once they take a hit, the helmet should always be replaced.

A bike helmet is considered safe if it is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC). Check the inside of the helmet for the CPSC sticker to make sure it’s certified before purchasing.

Skateboard helmets: Skateboard helmets are more versatile than bike helmets because they can be used while riding scooters, roller skates or skateboards. They fit closer to the head and have more coverage down the back of the neck. 

Skateboard helmets are made to withstand multiple impacts from small falls. They’re not designed to protect against the extreme force of a major bike collision. 

Bottom line:If your child likes to ride more than just a bike, he or she should have multiple helmets.

Too Young To Ride

Babies younger than 1 year old have weak neck structures and shouldn’t wear a helmet or travel on a bike. After a year old, toddlers can begin to ride tricycles and ride in seats or carts attached to an adult’s bicycle. Toddlers should wear a helmet every time they ride; their little brains need protection every, single time.  The earlier you establish the habit, the more it will stick as the child gets older. 

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