As a parent, you teach your child the importance of wearing their seat belt while in a car. Just as important, is teaching them to wear a bike helmet while riding their bicycle. Across the US, there are 22 states as well as the District of Columbia with bike helmet laws already in place. Whether required by law or not, wearing a helmet to protect your head while riding a bike just makes sense.
According to the Center of Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 800 fatalities due to bicycle accidents and an estimated 515,000 bicycle related injuries across the U.S in 2010. Children and adolescents made up approximately half of this number. Each year, at least ten percent of these injuries to young cyclists are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Helmets only work to protect the head if they are worn, so the first step to protecting your child is to pick a well-fitting helmet that your child will actually wear. For older children, talk to them about the type of helmet they’d like to have. Let them help pick the style and color. More brightly colored helmets will greatly increase visibility to drivers and other cyclists, so encourage your child to choose a highly visible helmet color.
Bicycle helmets are available for purchase in many locations, from bicycle specialty shops to discount stores. Since choosing the right bike helmet for your child can prevent serious and life changing injuries, it’s important to choose intelligently. Price isn’t always an indication of guaranteed quality and comfort. A less expensive helmet can offer just as much protection if it fits correctly. Test-fitting a range of brands and styles will help you select the best helmet for your child.
The first thing to look for when choosing a helmet is safety certification. In the U.S., helmets must meet the US Consumer Product Safety Commission standard, and will be labeled with a CPSC sticker.
You can narrow down the size range of the helmets to start with by measuring your child’s head prior to shopping. Heads should be measured by wrapping a tape measure around the head, just above the ears and on a level line across the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Child and youth helmets are often adjustable when it comes to size, with interchangeable pads of different thickness that allow you to really customize the fit, as well as give your child some growing room.
When testing the fit, the helmet should fit snugly on your child’s head, even before you have buckled the strap. Adjust the chinstrap for size and test that there isn’t more than a finger’s worth of space between the chin and the strap. Ensure that the side straps wrap comfortably and snugly around both ears, and that the V points sit just below the ears. Once the straps are adjusted, have your child gently shake their head from side to side and see if the helmet slides around on their head. Try pushing the helmet back and then forward on their head. A properly fitting helmet will not move more than an inch in any direction.
Straps can loosen over time so check the fit regularly. Inspect the helmet for signs of damage and replace it after any crash where the helmet absorbs an impact. Although there might not be outwardly visible signs of damage, the foam inside a helmet is compressed during a crash.
Once you’ve selected the right helmet for your child, help them get into the habit of wearing it every single time they’re on their bike, even if it’s only a short ride. Riding safely and wearing a helmet are great habits to practice at any age.
If your child has been injured in a bicycle accident by a reckless driver, it is important to speak to an experienced Denver bicycle accident lawyer immediately. We are ready to fight for you and your family during this difficult time to ensure that you have the money you need to help your child recover. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, P.C., for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
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