Spring is here and the bikes are out. Here’s how to make sure your child’s helmet is road-ready.
1. Have your child try on the helmet for size first to find the fit that is best for him. (If it is uncomfortable, he won’t wear it.) If it is too big, adjust the dial (a common feature in newer models), or insert the different-sized foam pads that come with the helmet, until it fits firmly on his head.
2. Make sure you are buying a helmet approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Look for the certification right on the box and on a sticker inside the helmet. Do not buy a second-hand helmet.
3. The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should rest two fingers’ width (hers) above the eyebrows. It should be level on her head, not tilted back or too low on the forehead.
4. Adjust the side straps so they fit snugly around your child’s ears in a V shape. The buckles on the side strap should fit right under the ear.
5. Buckle the chinstrap. Tighten it until you can only fit one finger between the strap and your child’s chin.
6. The helmet should have snug fit. Have your child shake his head from side to side and from front to back. The helmet is too loose if it moves around.
7. Teach your child to check the fit of her helmet every time she puts it on. Helmets should be replaced every three years or as your child outgrows it.
8. Bike helmets are designed to protect against one single impact. Replace the helmet if he has a fall or crash, even if it appears undamaged.
9. Bike helmets should not be worn at the playground. The chinstrap can get caught on the equipment, making it a strangulation hazard.
For more helmet safety tips visit ParachuteCanada.org