Bicycling causes more emergency room visits for children ages 5-14 who have suffered personal injury than any other sport. In addition, bike crashes are one of the most frequent causes of injury related deaths for young children.
There’s no sure-fire way to protect children from every source of personal injury, but getting them to wear bicycle helmets is a good start. Children without bike helmets are 14 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their helmet-wearing counterparts. In fact, a bike helmet is the single most effective device to reducing head injury and death from a bicycle crash.
Just strapping one on isn’t enough. A bike helmet must fit properly to guard against personal injury. It only takes ten to 15 minutes to properly adjust a bike helmet to the rider.
Keep reading for tips on how to properly fit a bike helmet to avoid personal injury:
- Make sure your bike helmet has a sticker indicating it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). If it doesn’t, get one that does.
- Wear your helmet every time you ride to prevent personal injury.
- Don’t abuse your helmet. Throwing it could damage it leaving you vulnerable to personal injury.
- Child safety car seats need to be replaced after a car accident. The same holds true for bike helmets. After a bike accident, get a new helmet to ensure protection.
- Make sure your helmet is not too big or too small to derail personal injury.
- Helmets should be worn level and cover the forehead. When fitting your helmet for the first time, make sure to use fit pads or rings to ensure a proper fit.
- Straps should be fastened and adjusted until snug. First, adjust rear strap, then front strap and last, under the chin.
- While wearing the helmet, do the eye-ear-mouth test. While looking up, the front rim should be barely visible with your eye. The Y of the side straps should meet just below your ear. The chin strap should fit snug against the chin when you open your mouth wide. The helmet should feel comfortable and stable when you shake your head vigorously.
- Avoid “strap creep.” Some helmets don’t have locking pieces on the side where the straps come together under the ear. This can cause the straps to loosen. To prevent personal injury from an ill-fitting helmet without locking side pieces, sew the straps to secure them at the proper fit or put a rubber band snugly under the side buckle.
- Wear a bike helmet only for bike riding. If a helmet gets caught on a tree branch or playground equipment, it could cause strangulation. Remove your bike helmet and keep it in a safe place when done with bike riding to avoid personal injury.