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Child Helmet Safety

South Portland Fire Department

Fire and Life Safety Message

 

If you insist that your child wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, you’re giving your youngster a caring gift. During an accident, that helmet might save your child from a serious injury. According to the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 278,725 children ages 5 to 14, were rushed to the U. S. hospitals emergency rooms for bicycle related injuries during 2001.

 

Why stop at just bicycles? Your child faces similar dangers from skateboards, in-line skates, and scooters. For example in 2001 our countries emergencies rooms treated over 56,000 for in-line skating injuries, 42,000 for skate board injuries, and over 76,000 for scooter related injuries. Many of these cases involved head injuries.

 

The good news is that CPSC believes that helmets can reduce the severity of head injuries by 85%. To give your child this 85% edge, follow these safety headgear guidelines from the National Safety Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

 

Start the helmet habit early, as soon as the little ones ride that first “big wheel” or tricycle. Let your child participate in choosing the helmets style and color. Letting them take ownership in this decision will make them want to use the helmet. 

 

Buy approved helmets that display the CPSC or other testing laboratory labels.

 

Get a proper fit. Sit the helmet straight on the head, not tilting forward or back. Place it only two fingers above the eyebrows, but leave a clear field of view. Rest the junction of the chinstraps just below the ears and adjust the straps evenly so the helmet stays in place when the head moves quickly from side to side or up and down. Skateboarders often use helmets that provide more coverage to the back of the head than regular bicycle helmets do.

 

Purchase a helmet that fits your child now, not one to grow into Replace any helmet that has been in a crash, even if it shows no visible damage.

 

Another good idea, parents and caregivers should set an example for children by wearing their own helmets. Helmets are affordable; they range in price from $15 to $35 for standard models. So whatever the wheel sport, your family can be safe each time you hop on, lace up, or glide off.

 

 

Yours In Life Safety,

Lieutenant Rick Urban

Fire and Life safety Educator