12:15 PM

4 Tips When Buying a Helmet for Your Child

More than 70 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 ride bicycles. In-line skating and skateboarding are also popular among this age group. Although a great form of exercise, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) experts caution that these activities can be dangerous without protective gear.

“A head injury is the most common – and often most serious – injury sustained with a bike, in-line skates, scooter or skateboard,” says Deanna Shisslak, parenting education manager with LVHN.

Head injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in these types of crashes. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk for injury and the severity of an injury in the event of a crash.

Make sure that wearing a helmet is a habit for your kids when riding a bicycle, skateboard or scooter or wearing in-line skates. Here are some tips for buying a helmet:

1. Approved by experts

Ensure that the helmet is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Snell Foundation or ASTM International.

2. Fits right

The helmet should fit comfortably and snugly. It should sit on your child’s head in a level position and not rock from side to side.

3. Proper fasteners

The helmet should have a chin strap and buckle to keep it in place.

4. Shock-absorbing material

Make sure the helmet is made of a hard outer shell and a shock-absorbing liner at least one-half inch thick. Parents should look for a helmet that can easily adjust to fit the child’s head, and the helmet should be consistent with the outdoor activity the child is involved in.

Many children (and adults) don’t wear helmets. “Remind your child that athletes wear helmets for their protection. Suggest ways he or she can decorate the helmet to personalize it,” Shisslak says.

And don’t forget about other protective equipment: Elbow pads can prevent 82 percent of elbow injuries and knee pads can thwart 32 percent of knee injuries.


Visit LVHN.org/children to learn more about how Lehigh Valley Health Network cares for children and to find a doctor in our network.