Helmet Safety

Elbow pads? Check. Shin guards? Check. Skates? Check. You’ve packed all the right equipment for your child and the trunk is full, but have you remembered the most important item – the helmet?

Why are helmets important?

Why are helmets important?

Helmets can reduce the risk and severity of brain injury during a fall or hit to head and they work by absorbing the energy of the impact . Serious brain injuries may result when the head is unprotected. Wearing a helmet can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a traumatic injury to the head, which can result in long-term disabilities.

Protect yourself and your family: Wear the gear

Protect yourself and your family: Wear the gear

When getting ready for a sport, make sure that the proper gear is worn, including the helmet. Each sport is different. Ensure that the appropriate helmet is worn for the activity (for example, a bike helmet is not a good substitute for a hockey helmet).

When buying a helmet, make sure it fits your child’s head

When buying a helmet, make sure it fits your child’s head

Helmets must meet approved safety standards. The markings ASTM, CPSC, CSA or Snell should appear on the helmet. It is important to note that there are sport-specific helmets.
The Montreal Children’s Hospital recommends the following additional injury prevention tips to reduce the risk and severity of injuries:
  • Replace a helmet if it is more than five years old or if it is damaged in any way;
  • Never use a helmet that has been involved in a collision or if you do not know its history;
  • Make sure the helmet is properly fitted and adjusted: a helmet should fit squarely on top of the head;
  • The chinstrap should be attached tightly and adjusted to allow for only one finger’s width between the chin and the strap;
  • The distance between the eyebrows and the edge of the helmet should be no wider than one or two fingers;
  • For bike helmets, adjust the slider on the side straps to form a “V “under the ears and slightly in front of the earlobes. Ensure that all straps are well aligned and not twisted.
Make sure your child wears a helmet during:

Make sure your child wears a helmet during:

  • Wheeled sports and activities (e.g. cycling, skateboarding, inline skating and scootering)
  • Winter sports (e.g. skiing, snowboarding, toboganning)
  • Organized sports (e.g. hockey, skating, football)

Set a good example by wearing one yourself ! It’s a no-brainer, helmets keep you in play.

To learn more about helmets, click here.


Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Last updated: january 2014, december 2015, June 2016


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