With summer time in full effect, many of us are enjoying the outdoors, including kids on their bicycles, skateboards, and scooters. Lori Morgan is an injury prevention specialist with UCHealth Memorial, and she says making sure your kids are protecting their brains with a helmet is only half the battle when it comes to helmet safety. The first step is making sure they have a helmet they want to wear.
Morgan says, "You want to go with your child and let them pick out their helmet so they are more likely to want to wear it, and you want to look for the consumer product safety sticker right here, to make sure it's approved and safe. And of course parents will want to wear their helmets when they are riding bikes with their kids so they are setting that good example."
Once you have a helmet, you want to make sure it fits properly and the straps are correctly adjusted.
"You want to make sure the helmet fits snugly on the top of the head and do 3 things,” Morgan says. “The first is make sure there are 1 to 2 finger lengths above the eyebrow is where the helmet should sit, then you want the straps over the ears in the v, and third, when you cinch the chin strap you want to make sure you can fit 1 finger inside nice and snug, so you’re set to go."
Once a helmet is properly fitted and adjusted, then it can do its real job of preventing traumatic brain injuries which is important for everyone but especially kids.
"The front of your skull is thinner than the back of your skull, so it's very important to have the front protected properly,” according to Morgan. “Your brain is still developing until you’re in your early 20's so you really want to protect that brain and not end up a patient in the emergency room."
About 300,000 kids go the emergency room every year because of injuries on a bike, and the most serious of those almost always involve traumatic brain injures, many of which can be avoided by wearing a helmet.