Helmet Safety – Choosing the Correct Helmet

November 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Currently a University of North Texas student, Kelly Dillard has been active in school functions and other extracurricular activities. In addition to participating on the university dance team for two years, she has been a successful beauty pageant contestant. In her pageant appearances, Kelly Dillard strives to raise awareness about public health issues, such as helmet safety.

Wearing a safety helmet is important in activities where the head is vulnerable to injury, such as cycling and in-line skating. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), bike accidents kill over 800 people annually and injure another 544,000. Because helmets absorb a substantial portion of the impact in an accident, the AAOS estimates that they lower the risk of serious head or brain injury that may cause death or permanent disability by 85 percent.

When shopping for a helmet, consumers should select one that complies with the standards issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission or the even stricter standards formulated by the Snell Memorial Foundation. Since helmets are designed specifically for each sport, individuals will require different helmets when they play different sports. Helmets worn during a previous accident should be discarded because the interior polystyrene cushioning may be damaged.

The proper helmet fits snuggly on an adult or a child. Unlike clothing, parents should buy their child a helmet that fits now and not a size that they will grow into. To select the best-fitting helmet, individuals should comparison shop before deciding on a helmet. Second, the chinstrap should fit comfortably snug around the ear and under the chin to keep the helmet stable. The buckle should be replaced immediately if it breaks. A third criterion is that the helmet should be straight and fit squarely on the head and low on the forehead. It should not tilt sideways, nor should it slide backwards or too far forward. Fourth, shoppers should seek a certification sticker from the Snell Foundation or the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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