Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kids and Helmet Safety

There is no good excuse for why children should not be wearing a helmet when riding their bikes, including tricycles, scooters and skateboards.

And, when our children do wear helmets, they need to be worn properly. Just having it be on their head is not good enough. Helmets need to fit snug with the brim of the helmet on forehead and straps taught versus loose. For a helmet to work well, and to keep our kids safe they need to be worn the correct way. Here is a visual and tips on proper helmet fit.

I have been especially sensitive to this cause after seeing too many children riding or whizzing past without helmets on at all or them worn improperly.

A child may wear a helmet for years without ever falling off their bicycle or scooter. However, the one time they don't wear it something could happen. We may not think that the distance from a child's bike to the ground is high enough for them to injure themselves, but they can indeed. It's not the space between the riding object and the ground but what they may hit or ride over to cause a fall or take a turn too sharply.

To help provide tips on proper helmet safety, I have invited my brother, Brian Wagner, uber cyclist who rides hundreds of miles monthly to share with you important safety information available here, which he wrote for as the Hudson Country cycling writer.

My brother knows first hand the importance of proper helmet fit and safety. This past year, he was the victim of a terrible accident in which a moving vehicle faulted and hit him while he was riding his bicycle. Had it not been for helmet properly on his head, which took a beating in the accident, he might have suffered even greater injury than he already did, or worse, died. (This was such a scary time for all of us).

Another, very important point to know, which Brian addresses in his story, is that once a helmet has either been involved in an accident whether it be serious or not, or even falling on the floor especially from a high place, or wear and tear the old helmet should be discarded for use and a new helmet be secured in its place.

As parents, we do everything to protect our children from harm. Therefore, making sure they wear helmets while riding their bikes and scooters is certainly one way of doing this.

Even the most skilled cyclists and skate boarders wear helmets to protect their heads, which can sustain serious injury if not well protected.

Having heard of too many instances personally or seeing stories about other's experiences online where a child was riding too fast, took a turn too quick, or rode over a branch or rock that caused a fall over the handle bars are all reasons why children need, and should, wear helmets.

Even for our pickiest of kids, there are many helmet options to choose from that can keep our kids looking "cool." And, since kids in general can be feisty about being told what to do it's best to really institute this important behavior early on in their lives so they don't know any other way as they get older.

Sarah has been wearing a helmet since her first year when it was safe to put her on the back of a bicycle. She wears her pink helmet with Snoopy and Woodstock on it every time she rides her bike, scooter or big wheel. We soon will need to get her a new one as her head is getting bigger.

We may not think our kids need a helmet for a short ride or scoot, or because they are so skilled and careful. Anything can happen. Anything is possible. An analogy to consider, it's like driving a car. You can be the best driver and extremely cautious, but can still become victim of an accident due to unplanned variables or other careless drivers.

One other thing we need to do to help remind our children of the importance of wearing helmets is to wear them ourselves when we are riding our bikes, skate boards and more. We are to be good models for our children and showing them by setting the right example.

Let's continue to keep our kids safe.

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