Cycle Safe: Find the right bike helmet for your child – Consumer Health News
SATURDAY, July 9, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Wearing a bicycle helmet can save your young child or teen’s life, but it needs to fit properly to really do its job.
According to experts, a properly fitted bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of serious head injury or death from a bicycle, scooter or skateboard accident.
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles offers some tips for getting a helmet that’s not too small or too loose, while convincing skeptical teens of the benefits.
A helmet is like a pair of jeans, experts say. Those of the same size may fit differently, so be sure to have your child try on helmets when buying a new one. Buy a helmet that fits you now, not a helmet to “grow into”.
Check that the helmet is certified by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which means that it has been tested for safety and meets the federal safety standard.
Do not buy or accept a used helmet. It won’t offer protection if he’s been in an accident, and that can be hard to see, according to a hospital press release.
A well-fitting helmet fits snug all around, without moving side to side or back and forth on your child’s head, but not so tight that it hurts. It sits level and low, but not too low. There should be room for no more than a finger’s width or two above the eyebrows. The back of the helmet should not touch your child’s neck.
Adjust the straps when the helmet is removed. The left and right straps should form a “Y” and meet just below the ear when the helmet is worn. Roll the small rubber band as close to the side straps as possible to prevent slipping.
Tighten the chin strap until it is snug and only one finger can fit under the strap.
Make your child yawn while wearing the helmet. If you open your mouth wide, the helmet should pull down on your child’s head. If not, readjust the chin strap.
Have your child look up and make sure they can see the front of the helmet visor. If not, the straps need to be adjusted.
Ask your child to shake their head. The helmet should not move or slide. If so, readjust the sizing pads or the universal fit ring.
Next, have your child look around and make sure they can see straight ahead and side to side.
Replace any helmet that has been in an accident or has been dropped suddenly on the road. They only protect against a single impact. Periodically check the size and get a new helmet as needed or at least every five years.
More than 240,000 children and teens aged 19 and under were seen in emergency rooms for cycling-related injuries in 2014, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Another 140,000 young people were seen for skateboarding and skating injuries.
Brain damage is the most serious injury risk, with 26,000 children seen in the emergency room each year for bicycle-related head trauma.
Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by at least 45%, brain injury by 33%, facial injury by 27% and fatal injury by 29%.
All runners – including adults – must wear a helmet, the hospital has advised.
Older teenagers may think they’re invincible, but more than half of people aged 19 and under who were killed in bicycle-related incidents in 2014 were between the ages of 15 and 19, almost all of them boys .
When older children and teens resist wearing a helmet, use technology to help them get through it, the hospital suggests.
Parents could ask them to take out their cell phones and look at the phone case. Ask what the case protects, and if it makes sense to protect the computer inside your phone, why wouldn’t you protect the computer inside your head?
If logic doesn’t prevail, insist on a helmet anyway. So model good bike safety by wearing your own helmet.
The US-based National Safety Council has some cycling safety tips.
SOURCE: Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, press release, July 5, 2022