Plain and simple: helmets savelives. “Some of the most serious and life-changing injuries are injuries to the brain.
Helmets are made to protect the brainfrom 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 featuresdepending on the sport, so it matterswhat kind of helmet your child wears,”says Cochrane.
Most ski and snowboarding helmetsare single-impact helmets. These aredesigned 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 onlymeant to withstand a single fall beforebeing replaced. Multi-impact helmets, likehockey helmets, are designed to keep yourchild safe with repeated moderate falls orcollisions. Either type of helmet must bereplaced after a major hit or fall. As soonas you notice a change in the shape of thefoam lining, any external damage or missing parts, it is time for a new helmet.
Even helmets in pristine conditionneed to be replaced as your child grows.And while buying a second-hand helmetmight be good for your pocketbook, itcan be bad for your child’s safety. If youdon’t know if a helmet has been in acrash or how old it is, don’t buy it. Thematerial, even in new helmets, will dryout and become brittle, so follow themanufacturer’s recommendations onwhen to replace them.
Of course, a helmet only works when itis being worn — and worn properly.
“Whenever possible, let children choosetheir helmets,” Cochrane suggests. “Theyare more likely to wear something thatthey have picked out themselves.” Anddon’t wait — as soon as your kids start anactivity that requires a helmet, get theminto the habit of wearing one.
One of the best ways to get your childinto the helmet habit is to be a good rolemodel. “Wearing your helmet, along withother safety gear, when you take partin sports speaks volumes,” Cochraneemphasizes. “You set the tone to makesafety a family affair.”— Abby;Miller
choosing the right helmet
Sport Helmet type
Look for certification