Every year thousands of children are seriously injured while riding their bikes, some of them die as a result of the injuries suffered. Three-quarters of these deaths were due to head injury. Many of these accidents could have been avoided by using simple safety measures. Learn these measures and choose the best equipment to protect your child. All children under the age of 14 are required by law to wear a bicycle helmet when bicycling or riding as passengers on bicycles in New York State. A fine of $50 can be imposed. However if a parent can prove that a helmet has been obtained, the fine may be waived.
Bicycles, even with young children riding them can reach speeds of 20+ mph. Sports players, including individuals who play football, hockey, and baseball wear helmets to protect them against serious injury. Cyclists are at special risk for head injury and need to protect themselves as well. When a person's head hits the ground their skull stops, the brain continues to travel and crashes against the skull. Helmets help absorb the shock of impact preventing or reducing the crash between the brain and the skull. Helmets also have bright colors and reflective tape can be added that make riders more visible.
- When buying a helmet for your child, buy only helmets that meet the U.S. consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard.
- Look for a CPSC sticker when purchasing your helmet. All helmets manufactured after 3/10/99 must meet the CPSC standard, both the hard shell and the newer soft-shell helmets.
- The helmet should be constructed with thick firm polystyrene or other shock-absorbing material. Foam pads found inside many helmets are for sizing and comfort, not crash protection.
- The helmet should have a strong strap and fastener to ensure it stays in place in the event of a crash. Straps should be adjusted to fit snugly.
- The helmet itself should cover the top of the forehead to be in the proper position.
- It should only have limited movement either front to back or up and down.
- If the helmet cannot be adjusted to minimize both types of movement you may need to try another size, style or brand. This is important because if a helmet doesn't fit or isn't adjusted properly it does not protect the rider.
Once you've fallen and hit your head, your helmet has done its job. Don't use it again. The essential shock-absorbing material may not retain its cushioning properties after a fall. Damage is not always easily seen so either have your helmet checked by the manufacturer or better yet buy a new one.
Bicycle Helmets Save Lives & It's the Law
So when you go biking, have fun riding but stay safe head out with a helmet.