Does My Child Need a Helmet?
Whether it is the law where you live or not, the short and simple answer is yes. More than 200 children are killed each year in the United States in bicycle accidents involving riders not wearing helmets. If children are involved in any other sport with wheels, such as in-line skating or skateboarding, a safety helmet always should be worn. (REFERENCE 4)
The latest standard in helmets is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) bike helmet standard. It is the law for every bike helmet made after 1999. A new helmet should meet this standard, and be clearly labeled. (REFERENCE 4)
The Right Size Helmet
Ensure that the helmet covers the upper part of the forehead and is level. There should be two finger widths of forehead between the eyebrow line and the helmet. Use foam padding inside the helmet (usually provided with the helmet) to create a snug fit. Adjust the side straps to create a "V" under each ear, equal on both sides. (REFERENCE 2)
Bicycle Helmet Laws
There are no federal laws governing the use of bicycle helmets for any age group. Several states have adopted laws, usually limited to children under the age of 18.
Teach Them to Take It Off!
Teach your children to take off their helmets before playing on playground equipment or climbing in trees. Helmet straps can get caught on tree limbs and other apparatus, causing the child to asphyxiate. (REFERENCE 3)
When to Replace a Helmet
If the helmet was manufactured before 1980, or if the outside of the helmet is foam or cloth, or if it has been in a crash, you should replace the helmet. Also, if the helmet does not have a CPSC, ASTM or Snell sticker on it, get a new one. (REFERENCE 5)