Always wear a helmet. You should wear a helmet regardless of your age or experience whenever you bike, skate, ski or participate in other activities in which your head is vulnerable to injury.
Wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of serious head or brain injury by 85 percent. Wear a helmet during every ride, no matter the distance you bike.
Children ages 5 to 14 have the highest injury rate of all bicycle riders. Bike accidents are a leading cause of death for children. In 2012, bike-related crashes killed 900 individuals and injured more than 532,000.
- Serve as a role model. Wear a helmet on every ride.
- Purchase a new helmet after a crash. Even if the helmet appears fine, the interior may be damaged.
- Talk to children about wearing a helmet when biking, skating, skiing and using a skateboard or scooter.
- Your child is more likely to wear a helmet if he or she likes the way it looks.
- Choose a helmet with the right fit. A helmet should be:
- Snug: It does not slide from side-to-side or front-to-back.
- Level: It should sit on top of the head, covering the top of the forehead and not tilt in any direction.
- Stable: A chinstrap keeps the helmet from rocking. Replace a chinstrap is any part of the buckle breaks.
- Use appropriate helmets for activities, such as a bike helmet for biking and a ski helmet for skiing.
- Use lights and reflective gear, especially at dawn, dusk and night.
How to properly fit a helmet
Follow these tips:
- Eyes: Put the helmet on your head and look up. You should see the bottom rim of the helmet.
- Ears: Make sure the straps form a “V” under your ears when buckled. The straps should be tight but comfortable.
- Mouth: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Does the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten the straps.
Sources: Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute: www.helmets.org, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov, OrthoInfo: www.orthoinfo.aaos.org, and Safe Kids Worldwide: www.safekids.org