Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bike Helmets: Or How My Kid Didn’t End Up With a Head Injury…

Rarely do we get the chance to prove our children right.  Usually my cries of ‘look both ways!’ and ‘PLEASE, for the love of all things holy, put your seatbelt on, cause we’re not leaving this driveway til you do and we’re really late’ are begrudgingly heeded by the *BLT.

*Not the kind you eat.

Because, as my kids are quick to point out, they have neither been in a car accident or hit by anything while crossing the street.  BUT…

This past Sunday night, T Bub walked in from selling Boy Scout wreaths and said, ‘I’m really glad you make me wear this thing’, referring to his bike helmet.

While riding his bike home from selling Boy Scout Christmas Wreaths (yes, it’s that time of year again) he was flying down a hill and went to take a sharp turn when his wheels slid on some leaves and flung him into a tree.  Head first. 

The top of his helmet took the first and hardest hit, and the tree gouged out the hard plastic on top.  His face and leg were pretty scratched up, but it was clear that the helmet took the brunt of the impact. 

So I will use this opportunity to remind you all out in the Internets of the correct way to wear a bicycle helmet.  I am constantly readjusting my kids helmet, because for some reason, kids seem to think that a bike helmet should fit like a hockey helmet:

MN Wild


Yeah… I get it.  They don’t like the chin strap (my kids, as well as hockey players).  However, at no time should my kids need to quickly flip off their helmet in order beat the daylights out of another person, so I really must insist they keep the chin strap tightened.

Realistically, the chin strap is only half the problem.  Incorrect positioning of the helmet can also be an issue.  This chart shows how the helmet should sit on your head:



Clearly, the helmet in the top left ‘wrong’ picture is going to fall down over her eyes and impede her vision.  Obviously, that’s dangerous.  But what I see most often is the lower left ‘wrong’ picture or what I call the ‘gangsta’ helmet position. 

Me: T Bub, why do you have your helmet slung back all gangsta-like? 

T Bub: What does that even mean? That doesn’t even make sense.

Me:  Whatever.  You’re exposing your frontal cortex, which is responsible for rational thought and emotions.  That stuff’s important.  Fix the helmet.

I have to fight with Bitty to get her to wear her helmet, and she hears my constant refrain of ‘no helmet on the head, no butt on the bike’.  Truthfully, she only bikes in our yard, and can’t go any faster than a snails pace.  But I want the habit of wearing a helmet to be firmly engrained in her head for when she does take to the streets someday.

And now, here is a not-so-fun fact from the Allina Bike Team:

  • Head injury is the leading cause of death in bicycle crashes. Statistics show that anywhere from 45 to 88 per cent of cyclists' traumatic brain injuries can be prevented by a helmet.

*Stepping off soapbox*

In other news, this might have been the longest title I’ve ever given a post on my blog. 


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