Yesterday, we reported about the frightening statistics concerning summertime childhood injuries. One excellent way to prevent these injuries, as we pointed out, is to wear a bicycle helmet while bicycling. The advice is not just for kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control, bicycling is the third most popular form of recreation for both adults and children in this country. Unfortunately, this form of recreation is also a leading cause of injury each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, bicycle accidents cause brain injuries that cause more than 150 deaths and 450,000 injuries among children in the nation annually. Only 24% of US child bicyclists wear helmets regularly, even though this has been proven to be one of the best ways of preventing serious brain injuries and other personal injuries in the event of a bicycle accident. The CDC has reported that more than 75% of bicycle-related deaths among children could be prevented if all children wore helmets each time they rode a bicycle.
Children who use a proper helmet while bicycling, skateboarding, or in-line skating can dramatically improve their chances of surviving any injury. There are many helmets bicyclists can choose from:
*No shell: These helmets have a soft-shell that is covered with a soft cloth or Lycra.
*Hard Shell: These helmets have a crushable inner shell and a hard outer shell. The two are separable in most cases. These helmets can be heavy and so may not be right for every bicyclist.
*Thin Shell: These helmets have two shells which are fused together. The inner shell is a crushable foam layer while the outer shell is made of thin, hard semi-rigid plastic.
Once you have chosen the right type of helmet, it is important to ensure a good fit to maximize protection. When buying a helmet, it is important to try on the helmet before buying it. A well-fitted helmet will cover the sides and back of the head as well as the crown and forehead. Any helmet you buy should meet the ANSI Z90.1 or Snell B-90 standard – this ensures maximum protection from brain injury.
When trying on a helmet, use the fitting layer of foam inside the helmet to obtain the right fit. Dot his by fitting the pads all the way around. Adjust the straps until the chin strap is snug against the chin and the side straps meeting in a V below the ear. It should be easy to insert only two fingers between the chin straps and the chin. A properly fitted helmet will be snug but not tight once the straps are fastened. The helmet should not pinch or hurt the head, but should also not move front-to-back or side-to-side.