News + Insights  |  June 26, 2017  | 

How Does a Bike Helmet Protect My Child’s Head?

Summer is finally here and outdoor activities are in full swing. From organized sports teams to family trips to the pool, it’s the perfect time of year to get outside and stay active.

One of the most popular activities to do in the summer — and fun transportation — is to go for a bike ride. Dr. Townsend’s blog explained that bike helmets are extremely important to protect your head and brain during any falls. But, not all bike helmets are created equal. We can agree that wearing a helmet is vital, but proper fit should also be a top priority.  

Check List for the Best Bike Helmet Fit

  1. Size: We all like to buy something a little big for our children to “grow into.” This approach, however, can be extremely dangerous when it comes to helmets. Make sure your child’s helmet fits snug and secure, with no side-to-side movement.  If you want your child to be able to use the helmet for longer, consider buying one with sizing pads. The extra cushion that can be removed as they grow.
  2. Position: With a helmet on, there should only be room to place one or two fingers on the forehead between the eyebrow and the rim of the helmet. Your child should be able to look up and see the edge of the helmet, but it should not come down so far that it’s obstructing vision.
  3. Straps: When the chin strap is buckled, only one finger should be able to slide between your child’s chin and the strap. The side straps should look like the letter “Y” and meet right below the ear. Adjusting the straps may be easier when the helmet is off your child’s head.

When to Replace a Bike Helmet

If a bike and helmet have been stored away for winter, you may be tempted to pull them out and jump right on. However, children can grow a lot in just a few months. Make sure that you regularly check the helmet for proper fit, replacing when necessary. Always check your helmet for cracks and damage. If a helmet has been dropped on a hard surface, like the concrete floor of your garage, it may no longer provide the same protection.

In the event that your child is in a bike accident, be sure to check out the condition of their helmet before they jump back on their bike. If there is any damage to the helmet, a crack, a significant scrape, compressed areas or any tearing, you’ll likely need to replace the helmet. Common guidelines support replacing a helmet after any incident where it comes in contact with a hard surface.

If someone in your family does have a bike accident this summer, be sure to monitor for signs of a concussion. This may include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, headache, nausea or sensitivity to light. If any of these symptoms are present, contact your primary care provider immediately. If a head CT or MRI is ordered, Wake Radiology’s team of dedicated pediatric radiologists is trained to interpret this type of medical imaging.

Summer is a time for fun and getting outside, but make sure your child stays safe during the process. Wearing a helmet, checking proper helmet fit and replacing damaged helmets are all ways to help keep your family safe this season

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