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Choosing and Fitting a Kid's Helmet

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Choosing and Fitting a Kidís Helmet

Is a kid's helmet worth it? The following article details how a helmets saved a childís life:

Headlining Helmets

Worldwide, advocates for helmet use in childrenís sports have taken a strong stance in their effort to reduce head injuries. In the U.S., 20 states have bicycle helmet laws on the books for children, while the International Inline Skating Association supports legislation requiring persons under the age of 18 to wear helmets while inline skating, and strongly recommends voluntary use of helmets by all skaters. France recently launched a nationwide campaign to promote ski helmets for children and, back in the U.S., both the Aspen Skiing Company and Crested Butte have announced that all ski and snowboard students age 12 and younger are required to wear helmets while attending lessons. In another example of the growing emphasis on helmets, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission also recommends using a bicycle helmet while on a scooter.

Helmet Dos and Doníts

Having established that helmets are a good idea, what do you do next? To help you decide your next step, Snowshack offers a short list of Dos and Doníts for parents:

  • Donít buy a helmet thatís too big, thinking that your kid will grow into it.
  • Do make sure the helmet fits properly. It should be level and rest solidly on the head, snug enough that when you rock it back and forth it doesnít fall over a childís eyes or off the back of his or her head.
  • Donít use an adult helmets for kids.
  • Do fit goggles or eyewear comfortably inside the face opening, with ear wells aligned over the ears for the best sound reception.
  • Donít use a helmet that pinches, creates hotspots, or pressure points. Remember, kidsí heads are still growing!
  • Do check to be sure the helmet isnít so tight that itís causing headaches or yanking on your childís hair when her or she turns his/her head.
  • Donít let kids re-use a helmet after a ski or bicycle crash without having it examined by a professional at a ski or bike shop! Ski and bicycle helmets are designed to be single impact helmets; their Styrofoam core may become compressed in an accident.
  • Do upgrade helmets every few years, as plastics and composites break down over time, especially when exposed to the sun at high altitudes.

Tips for Choosing A Helmet Online

First, determine what type of helmet your child needs. We carry bike/BMX helmets, which are also appropriate for inline skating, as well as whitewater rafting and kayaking helmets for kids at www.hardheadedsports.com, while www.snowshack.com features skiing and snowboarding helmets for kids.

To find the right size helmet, you need to measure your childís head. Take a tailor's measuring tape and measure his or her head above the top of the ears and just above the eyebrows. Make sure you measure the largest part of the head. The tape should be snug but not pulled tight. Then use the online chart to convert inches to centimeters. Sizes are listed in a range of centimeters, fitting pads and straps provide the final adjustments.

See the fitting guides for each make of helmet. Logic suggests that more shell means more protection, however we have yet to see a study that confirms this. Ski/snowboard helmets have to go through the same set of tests (drop, puncture, crash, etc.) in order to gain certification and again I don't know of separate tests for each shell design.

  • Advantage to full shell - more protection, slightly warmer
  • Advantage to 3/4 shell - many 3/4 shell helmets have removable ear flaps so when temps rise the ear flaps can be removed.