Helmet safety

by Lara As we got ready to go for a bike ride earlier this week and I fastened helmets onto all three of kids' heads I thought to myself "these helmets don't seem to fit quite right".  I also thought, I bet I'm supposed to get the kids to wear helmets even when they're riding trikes in the driveaway aren't I?  (something I honestly have never really bothered with even on a walk around the block on a push trike.)

So I asked Karyn from Tail Wags if she might have some information to share on helmet safety.

Here's what she sent me:

Kids should take advantage of the warmer months to be active outdoors. Riding tricycles and bikes is as much a part of summer as ice cream and running through the sprinkler. It’s our responsibility as parents to protect our children from unnecessary injury.

Biking is a fun sport and family activity but it can be risky without a safety helmet, particularly for children under three years of age. Babies are born with soft skulls to facilitate the birth process and allow their brains to grow, but this means their heads are especially susceptible to harm. The “soft spot” usually disappears around 2 years of age but children can still sustain a head injury even from a relatively minor fall if they are not wearing a proper safety helmet. I encourage parents to keep this in mind: if you dropped a ripe melon on concrete from 2 feet off the ground, what would happen? Of course, the melon would break open. The risk to children is equally great if they are not wearing a helmet. In Canada, children 16 years of age and under are required by law to wear safety helmets while riding tricycles and bicycles. Helmet use is also mandatory for children riding in a bike carrier on an adult bike, as well as riding in a “Chariot” pulled by a bike.

Please make sure your child's bike and safety helmet are the right size. A child must be able to straddle the bike with both feet on the ground. The fit of the safety helmet is incredibly important. When choosing a helmet, your child should try on several helmets carefully. Level the helmet over your child's forehead and adjust the chinstrap to fit snugly and comfortably. It should protect the forehead without slipping forward or backward and it should not move unless the scalp moves. A trained salesperson will help you ensure the fit is right. Today, there are several manufacturers producing helmets that are adjustable in size, enabling it to grow with your child and still provide a comfortable and proper fit.

Insist your child always wears a helmet when riding and that he or she buckles it up. It goes without saying that parents must set an example by always wearing their helmets when cycling as well. Remember, a helmet only works when you wear it!

Do you have helmets for all your kids?

Karyn Climans is the owner of Tail Wags Helmet Covers, a company devoted to encouraging more children and adults to wear their safety helmets. One of her goals is to prevent unnecessary head injuries and it is her passion for safety awareness.

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