A helmet can reduce your risk of sports injury by 30 percent. Whether you enjoy biking, boarding, or blading in the summer, or skiing, skating and sledding in the winter, pick the right helmet for the job and always wear it.
There are two basic types of helmets: single-impact and multiple-impact. It’s important to select a helmet that fits you properly and that is appropriate to the activity you’re doing. The following tips will help you choose the appropriate helmet:
The Right Helmet for the Job
Skiing and snowboarding helmets are designed to protect your head against a single hard impact. They should be replaced after they’ve been in one crash, even if there does not appear to be any damage. Hockey helmets are designed to withstand several impacts. Unlike a bike helmet, ski, snowboarding and hockey helmets protect the back of the head — which is especially important for winter sports.
Don’t Settle for Second-hand
While it may be tempting to buy a second-hand helmet or to use a hand-me-down, plastic becomes brittle and weakens with age. Make sure you know the answer to two questions:
- Has this helmet been in a crash?
- Is it more than five years old?
- Look for Safety Certification
Also, older helmets may not meet current safety standards. Look for safety certification by CSA (Canadian Standards Association), or CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission).
The Right Fit
Proper fit is just as important as choosing the right helmet. It should comfortably touch your head all the way around, and be snug enough to stay firmly in place. Your helmet should sit level on your head and ride as low as possible to protect the sides of your head. Don’t assume that the first helmet you try on will be right for you. People’s heads come in different shapes and sizes and you may have to try on a few different brands and models to find the right one.
A Heads Up to Parents
You should keep in mind that wearing a helmet while on a bicycle is now mandatory in many provinces. A parent or guardian of a person under the age of 16 years commits an offence if the parent or guardian authorizes or knowingly permits the person to operate or ride as a passenger on a cycle on a highway if that person is not properly wearing a bicycle safety helmet.