Helmet safety is not just for adults who ride motorcycles. It is for children too. From riding bicycles, playing team sports, and even horseback riding, more institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the long-term effects associated with head injuries. Though there is no federal law that requires the use of helmets when riding bicycles, many states have adopted their own laws. States that require bicyclists to wear helmets includes Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. It is citizens determine the laws governing their local areas and abide by them. Helmet use is required for in-line skating, playing football, and skateboarding as well.
Helmets Save Lives and Reduce Fatalities
Studies show that helmets save lives and reduce the number of fatalities in those that have suffered sports related accidents. The most vulnerable areas during contact sports are the head and neck. Brain injuries can cause permanent brain damage and neck injuries may result in paralysis or prove to be fatal. It is imperative that those who choose to play sports are fully aware of the potential complications they may endure. Due to the inherent risk of injury, those who play sports should wear helmets to give their head the best protection possible. While sports provide many benefits, such as regular exercise and the opportunity to work as a team, parents, educators, and players must recognize that sports injuries are part of the game. Though the risk of injury is great, the use of helmets can reduce the chance of permanent injury as well as decrease the chance of fatalities.
Helmets: Not just for Bicycles
Though helmets are most frequently associated with bicycle use, they are in high demand in other sporting fields. Helmets are used by those who ski, ride scooters, engage in snowboarding, enjoy in-line skating and roller skates, and skateboards. Regardless of the activity, children and teens must take steps to protect themselves from injury. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 5% of sports related injuries involve broken bones. The only effective way to prevent serious damage from occurring is to use caution when engaging in sports activities and to wear proper protective gear.
Four types of injuries that may occur to those involved in sports related accidents while not wearing a helmet include traumatic brain injury (TBI), skull fractures, facial trauma, and subdural hematomas (bleeding in the brain). According to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 3.5 million children under the age of 14 are injured during sports related accidents every year. Of all children hospitalized for injuries sustained during a bicycling accident, half suffered brain injuries. The long term effects of traumatic brain injuries is not yet known and researchers have discovered connections between repeated traumatic brain injuries and learning disabilities. It is not enough just to wear a helmet, but that it is worn properly. Statistics show that a properly worn helmet can reduce head trauma by 85%. That number increases up to 88% when talking about the prevention of brain injuries.
There are different types of helmets and in order to get the most protection, helmets should match the activity being performed. Helmet types include bicycle, BMX, skateboard, Go-Karting, Mountain, Equestrian, Football, Ski, and more. Federal safety standards determine the guidelines for bicycle helmets. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has established standards for testing helmet safety. Look for the (CPSC) code when choosing helmet types.
Bicycle helmets are typically made from thin plastic and have a layer of EPS foam underneath. This is in contrast to skating helmets that are made from hard ABS plastic. Mountain helmets often use fiberglass or carbon fiber in their construction. Mountain helmets vary from the others as they feature a visor. In addition to the CPSC, testing standard there is also the ASTM standard. Look for helmets that have both ratings to ensure the best protection. Many BMX, mountain, bicycling, scooter, and roller and in-line skating helmets feature both the ASTM and the CPSC ratings.
Written By: AndrewT