Kids, (and many adults,) don’t know the importance or reasons why it’s so important to wear the right helmet.
Serious Head Injuries Do Not Ever Heal Completely.
If your child has a crash while riding their bike, scooter or skateboard their life can be changed forever, in an instant. As they mature and begin to play football or ride a motorcycle you will want them to already have developed a healthy helmet habit.
Kids, (and many adults,) don’t know the importance or reasons why it’s so important to wear the right helmet. When riding or engaging in other potentially dangerous sports wearing a helmet reduces the risk of brain damage. No helmet can prevent a concussion, but a good helmet certainly will absorb much of the power of an impact.
Modern helmet designs incorporate game-changing technology making them more effective than ever. Continuing development of football helmets, spearheaded primarily by Seattle based company Vicis, is bringing significant changes to helmet effectiveness. Other new technologies, such as MIPS have vastly improved on the older less advanced designs many of us grew up with. The introduction of gel caps is another new innovation helping to protect your children’s heads when they need it most.
Overcoming the Biggest Safety Issue
According to statistics, the biggest problem is not with how effective helmets are. The problem is when there is not a healthy helmet habit. A helmet hanging from the handlebars or left behind in a locker is not effective at all.
Statistics show overwhelmingly that most serious head injuries are sustained by people who are not wearing their helmet at the time of an accident. This is shown across all sports and activities where it’s either written into law or helmet wearing is made mandatory by a sporting body.
You never know when an accident will occur. If you did, you would avoid them every time. No matter how experienced you are unpredictable situations occur that are unavoidable and out of your control.
Wearing a helmet yourself and teaching your kids to wear there’s will protect your heads. If you already have helmets and they are not being worn or not fastened correctly, they are a waste of time and money.
Important Helmet Safety Statistics and Facts
Here’s just a few statistics and facts to back up with your kids why you’re teaching them about wearing a helmet
Head injuries from crashes can occur on sidewalks, driveways, bike paths, parks as well as streets.
You and your children cannot predict when a crash will occur.
You love them and value them and their intelligence.
They can hurt their heads permanently or even die from a head injury.
More children are in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport.
Helmets can reduce the risk of severe head injury and brain injury by 88%.
50% of kids in the USA don’t wear helmets when they should be.
In bicycle crashes, 2/3 of the dead and 1/8 of the injured suffered brain injuries.
Most cyclist who die as a result of an accident are not wearing helmets at the time.
Do You Have Difficulty Getting Your Kids to Wear a Helmet?
Many parents have a hard time convincing their children to wear their helmets. Kids need to develop a healthy helmet habit and wear them every time they ride. Even if it’s just for a short distance, and regardless if it’s on or near a road. You would be surprised at the number of accidents kids have being hit by dogs or swerving to avoid them.
The best way to encourage them is to teach them the benefits of wearing a helmet. Of course you want them to be safe, but it’s not always clear to children why they need to wear their bike helmets at all times.
Two of the Most Common Objections to Wearing a Helmet
1. It’s Uncomfortable!
Comfort is essential in a helmet. If a helmet is uncomfortable there’s a high likelihood it will not be worn. Anything we wear can be a little uncomfortable at first. Putting a helmet on your head can feel especially weird, particularly if you are not a hat wearer. It can take time and a little stamina to develop a healthy helmet habit.
Listen to your child if this is their complaint and check to see why. The helmet may be the wrong size or not adjusted correctly.
Helmet must fit well. If it’s too small it will be tight. Pressure points will occur and begin to cause pain and even headaches. If the helmet is too loose it may seem comfortable at first, but it will move around on your child’s head as they ride. This can cause irritations and rubbing. It can also obscure their vision if it’s so loose it can slide forward. Not having a properly fastened helmet can cause the same problems.
Most helmets can be adjusted. They will have a small wheel at the back to adjust the inner part of the helmet. Alternatively they will have been supplied with a selection of replaceable pads of various sizing. These should be fitted appropriately to fit the helmet wearer.
The chin strap may also be a source of discomfort if it’s too tight or too loose. Chin straps need to be checked and adjusted regularly as they tend to loosen over time. Kids will often carry their helmet by the chin strap which will cause it to become loose more quickly.
For further information on correctly fitting a helmet for your child please read our article How to Fit a Bike Helmet for a Child.
2. It’s Not Cool!
It’s not cool to wear a helmet is a very common retort from kids who don’t have the habit.
They might tell you it’s not cool to wear a helmet because other kids don’t wear them. You might want to point out to them that kids with brain damage are rarely considered cool.
There are a huge variety of helmet styles and designs. Most kids will be able to choose one they will be confident wearing. Your job convincing them will be made easier if you teach them the reasons why it’s important to wear a helmet.
Practical Steps Can You Take To Teach Your Kids About Wearing Helmets
As adults we readily understand the risks involved of not wearing a helmet. But when kids are riding bikes and skateboards or doing other wheeled activities, they may not consider the dangers. Their focus and concerns are different.
Most kids want to fit in, be cool and accepted. Children may think wearing a helmet is unnecessary. They are not aware of how important a helmet is in protecting their head.
Teach Your Children the Reasons to Wear a Helmet
You want your kids to choose to put their helmet on every time they ride their bike or skateboard or do any other wheeled activity. They need to know to put their helmet on without hesitation and without concern for what their friends might say. This is unlikely to happen if you just insist they obey your rules and offer no explanation, education or encouragement.
Teaching them will build an understanding and a healthy helmet habit will form more freely. It’s far easier to teach them when they are younger than when they are teens. As they grow they will likely to be travelling at greater speeds and at higher risk. Having a good habit formed early will keep them safer.
Establish a Habit Early
We all do things our parents taught us when we were kids. We formed habits. I can never figure out why bad habits are so much easier to form than good ones and why we form them without help!
Helping our children to form good habits is essential responsibility of every parent. We all want our children to be polite, well mannered and respectful of others. It is our obligation as parents to establish these habits at an early age and to reinforce them until they are natural reactions. These are qualities most every family wants its children to learn. Most cultures instill these character traits in children as part of regular communication in the family.
Looking both ways before you cross the street, brushing your teeth properly, making your bed and wearing a helmet are all non-negotiable good habits. These and other practical life skills must be more methodically taught. It can be more difficult for some kids to learn them than others.
Teaching a healthy helmet habit can’t be left to school teachers or scoutmasters. You as a parent must take responsibility. It can make the difference between growing a happy healthy family or nursing a brain injured child all through their adult years.
As parents, we must help our kids form good solid habits by making learning fun and interesting. We know it’s important for them to wear their helmets and we need to teach them to form this good habit early.
At HelmetGeeks.com our main aim is to teach and encourage healthy helmet habits. We aim to provide easy to read, practical information. For parents, we also supply a whole selection of teaching aids. These are designed to instill in your children a desire to always wear their helmets when they need to.
Make time to teach your child more than once about topics like:
The advantages of wearing a helmet
How a helmet will protect their head
How easy it is to damage their head and how difficult it is to repair
Helmet safety facts
How to avoid accidents
Not to make fun of kids wearing helmets (even if they don’t think they are cool.)
Encourage their friends to always wear a helmet
Be a good example of helmet safety to others
Give them a helmet safety course and even have a test. You can tell them, it’s just like learning to drive a car. It’s dangerous so they must learn to be as safe as possible. Their bicycle, skateboard, scooter or whatever they ride are not toys, but are their first vehicle and should be treated with respect.
Pretty much anything they ride with wheels will propel them faster than they can move on their own. This significantly increases the risk of injury. A helmet may not prevent an injury, but it will certainly reduce the risk of serious injury.
Make their helmet safety education process an enjoyable time. Present them with rider training that focuses on the importance of wearing their helmet. You can also teach them about being aware of how fast they’re going, (many kids are not aware.)
Encourage them to be looking at what is beside and behind them, not only what’s in front. If they are riding a bike, make sure to teach them hand signals and when to use them.
All these things will support the fact that riding can be dangerous and a wearing a helmet is a good habit to have. It will equip them with more understanding of potential accident situations. This in itself will keep them safer.
Don’t Try Developing A Healthy Helmet Habit In One Session
Habits take time to build. Most often good habits take discipline and motivation for them to stick.
Sitting with your child for too long and teaching them they may get bored. Once boredom sets in the will not be paying attention so well and not retain what you are teaching them. Revisit HelmetGeeks.com as often as you need to make best use of the resources we offer.
Building a habit over time it is more likely to become solid. Whenever you can speak positively to your kids about wearing their helmet. Don’t force it, make it natural.
Engage them in discussion. Ask them questions about what they remember from the last time you sat with them to teach them.
Demonstrate to them the different safely aspects of helmet wearing. Aim to build up an overall positive impression of having a healthy helmet habit.
Be a Good Example – Wear A Helmet!
Don’t be a do as I say, not as I do parent. Show your children that you have a good and consistent healthy helmet habit. If you are riding anything or playing a sport in which helmets are worn you must provide a good example.
Hopefully your research into buying your kids helmets and training them to wear them is good encouragement for you also. At HelmetGeeks.com we have a huge range of helmet available which are suitable for parents. You can even shop together with your kids to buy helmets that will look great when you ride together.
We have designed our website to give you an interesting and informative experience. The variety we offer outstretches any what any walk in store anywhere is likely to provide. You can sit with your kids and have an enjoyable time learning about helmet safety. You can also shop for helmets that you will all feel good about wearing.
Further Effective Encouragement to Help Teach Your Kids
You can get imaginative in how you encourage your kids to wear their helmets. We like to keep it as positive as possible most of the time. Tossing in a statistic or fact that’s on the negative side occasionally can be effective as a shock treatment also. Kids need a wake up call sometimes if they are losing interest or becoming complacent.
Encourage Helmet Wearing in Their Friend Group
Be part of your kid’s relationships. Talk to their friends about the importance of wearing their helmets, especially if you see they have one and are not wearing it. Invite the neighbor kids over for your watermelon demonstration, they will think you are a cool dad.
Praise your child for wearing their helmet so their friends will hear and be encouraged.
Point out professional sports people wearing helmets
Having good role models to reinforce your teaching about helmet wearing is very effective. Point out sports heroes your kids like when they are wearing their helmets. If you find photos or video of these celebrity sports people putting their helmets on this is better still.
Professional people wearing helmets provides you with another topic for encouraging conversation. Talk to your children about how these people are highly trained and educated. They make the choice to wear a helmet because they know it is sensible and safe. They must care about what they do and their personal safety because it is their job, their whole life.
You can also search youtube for videos where your kids sporting heroes talk about the importance of wearing a helmet… reinforce your messages with the endorsement of someone your kids look up to.
Provide Extra Incentive For Your Children To Wear Their Helmets
Have a reward scheme in place. You could have a wall chart or a card you can sign each time your child chooses to wear their helmet without being told to. When they reach a set number, maybe ten or twenty times, you can reward them. By having an incentive it will help them to remember.
Consider having a penalty worked into your scheme as well. So if they go riding without their helmet they go back one, two or even three steps.
Don’t make it too difficult to achieve at first and maybe ease up on the penalties if your child is genuinely having a hard time remembering. If they just forget to wear their helmet, it’s one thing. If they purposely choose not to wear it, that is different.
True Or False?
When you children first learn to ride a bike it’s an exciting time in your family. The bicycle, a child’s first vehicle, will become a source independence. A bike can provide new freedom to get around like they will not have experienced before.
Kids need to become more aware, more quickly than they have before, of the dangers. They must learn to follow basic bicycle safety rules. Here’s a list of common bicycle safety misconceptions and corresponding facts. You can use these to help teach your children about safe bike riding. These facts will help you and your children make every bike ride safe.
Myth: My child doesn’t need to wear a helmet every time they take a short ride.
Fact: Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home. Many accidents happen in driveways, on sidewalks, and on bike paths, not just on streets. In fact, the majority of bike crashes happen near home. A helmet protects your child from serious injury, and should always be worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps children develop the helmet habit.
Myth: A football helmet will work just as well as a bicycle helmet.
Fact: Only a bicycle helmet is made specifically to protect the head from any fall that may occur while biking. Other helmets or hard hats are made to protect the head from other types of injury. Never allow your child to wear another type of helmet when riding a bike.
Myth: I need to buy a bicycle for my child to grow into.
Fact: Oversized bikes are especially dangerous. Your child does not have the skills and coordination needed to handle a bigger bike and may lose control. Your child should be able to sit on the seat, with hands on the handlebars, and place the balls of both feet on the ground. Your child’s first bike should also be equipped with foot brakes, since your children’s hand muscles and coordination are not mature enough to control hand brakes.
Myth: It’s safer for my child to ride facing traffic.
Fact: Your child should always ride on the right, with traffic. Riding against traffic confuses or surprises drivers. Almost one fourth of bicycle-car collisions result from bicyclists riding against traffic.
Myth: Children shouldn’t use hand signals, because signaling may cause them to lose control of their bikes.
Fact: Hand signals are an important part of the rules of the road and should be taught to all children before they begin to ride in the street. They are an important communication link between cyclists and motorists. Any child who does not have the skills necessary to use hand signals without falling or swerving shouldn’t be riding in the street to begin with. Many accidents involving older children occur when they fail to signal motorists as to their intended actions.
Myth: Bike reflectors and a reflective vest will make it safe for my child to ride at night.
Fact: It’s never safe for your child to ride a bike at night. Night riding requires special skills and special equipment. Few youngsters are equipped with either. Never allow your child to ride at dusk or after dark.
Myth: I don’t need to teach my child all of this bicycle safety stuff. I was never injured as a child. Biking is just meant to be fun.
Fact: Riding a bike is fun – if it’s done safely. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize hundreds of thousands of children are seriously injured each year in bicycle falls. Worse still, more than 600 children die from them each year. While you may have been lucky enough to survive childhood without a serious bicycle-related injury, you shouldn’t count on luck to protect your child.
This information sourced from: TIPP: The Injury Prevention Program (Copyright © 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 9/2005)
Teach Your Child These Basic Safety Rules:
Wear a helmet.
Ride on the right side, with traffic.
Use appropriate hand signals.
Respect traffic signals.
Basic safety measures like these can keep bicycle riding enjoyable and safe for your child.