Plain and simple: helmets save
lives. “Some of the most serious and life-changing injuries are injuries to the brain.
Helmets are made to protect the brain
from concussions and other injuries.
Helmets also prevent injuries to the face,”
explains Kim Cochrane, Injury Prevention
Project co-ordinator for Alberta Health
Services. “Recent research on skiing and
snowboarding found that helmet use can
reduce the risk of head injury in these
sports by nearly a third.”
Choosing the right type of helmet for
your child’s winter sport is just as impor-
tant as wearing a helmet.
“Helmets have different safety features
depending on the sport, so it matters
what kind of helmet your child wears,”
Most ski and snowboarding helmets
are single-impact helmets. These are
designed to protect your child’s head
*For more information on helmet safety, visit thinkfirst.ca or safekidscanada.ca.
Visit applemag.ca to download a handout with additional safety information.
against a single hard fall, and are only
meant to withstand a single fall before
being replaced. Multi-impact helmets, like
hockey helmets, are designed to keep your
child safe with repeated moderate falls or
collisions. Either type of helmet must be
replaced after a major hit or fall. As soon
as you notice a change in the shape of the
foam lining, any external damage or missing parts, it is time for a new helmet.
Even helmets in pristine condition
need to be replaced as your child grows.
And while buying a second-hand helmet
might be good for your pocketbook, it
can be bad for your child’s safety. If you
don’t know if a helmet has been in a
crash or how old it is, don’t buy it. The
material, even in new helmets, will dry
out and become brittle, so follow the
manufacturer’s recommendations on
when to replace them.
Of course, a helmet only works when it
is being worn — and worn properly.
“Whenever possible, let children choose
their helmets,” Cochrane suggests. “They
are more likely to wear something that
they have picked out themselves.” And
don’t wait — as soon as your kids start an
activity that requires a helmet, get them
into the habit of wearing one.
One of the best ways to get your child
into the helmet habit is to be a good role
model. “Wearing your helmet, along with
other safety gear, when you take part
in sports speaks volumes,” Cochrane
emphasizes. “You set the tone to make
safety a family affair.”— Abby;Miller
choosing the right helmet
Sport Helmet type
Look for certification