5 Helmet Safety Tips to Prevent Head Injury While Participating in Winter Sports
Common winter sports injuries include sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures. However, head injuries are one of the most serious injuries children can sustain while participating in winter sports.
According to the National Pediatric Trauma Registry, almost half of winter sports injuries result in head-related injuries, ranging from concussions to traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults.
A child’s risk of head injury can be reduced by nearly half if a properly fitted helmet is worn while skiing or snowboarding. Helmets can also reduce the chance of head injuries for sled riders and ice skaters.
You can protect your child by insisting he or she wear protective gear, which will protect them without compromising their fun. A helmet partially absorbs the force and dissipates the energy of the blow, protecting the brain. Your child should wear a helmet that fits properly for the following sports or activities:
- Ice skating
- Ice hockey
- Bike riding
- Inline skating
- Horseback riding
But just as important as wearing a helmet is wearing the right helmet. A helmet that does not fit properly or offer sufficient cushioning can give you a false sense of security while not actually providing the level of protection you need. To ensure optimal protection, your helmet should:
- Feel comfortable but snug
- Sit evenly on the head but not be tilted back on the top of the head or pulled too low over the forehead
- Not move in any direction, back to front or side to side
- Have a secure buckle to keep it from moving or falling off through successive impacts
- Be easy to adjust and fit properly after initial fitting. Once adjustments have been made, the helmet should not move
In many cases, a helmet can make the difference between serious injury and walking away from an accident unharmed.