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Video: How to choose the right helmet for your kids

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This story is sponsored by Primary Children's Hospital. Learn more about Primary Children’s Hospital.


Helmet safety is not just for kids; it's for everyone in your family. Use the video above to find the perfect helmet to protect yourself and your loved ones every time you lace up their roller blades, hop on a bike or kick off on a skateboard.

Once you've found a helmet that fits your head the best, here are common questions and answers you may have about helmets in general.

How do helmets work?

Typical bicycle helmets are composed of two parts: the hard outer shell and the foam inner liner. These work together to keep your head safe in case of an accident. Upon impact, the hard shell takes the initial hit and distributes the bulk of the force along the outside as the inner liner cushions the blow to your head.

Not only does a helmet protect you from a cracked skull, but it also protects your brain. A lot like Newton's first law of motion, in a bicycle accident, the brain is the object that remains in motion until it hits the inside of your skull. A helmet gives the brain more time to stop.

Why is an ANSI or SNELL label recommended?

ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and Snell (Snell Memorial Foundation) have determined standards for helmet safety.

ANSI sets standards nationally for all kind of products, business, organizations, and so on, around the nation. Snell was created specifically for helmet safety, named in memory of an amateur racecar driver whose helmet failed to protect him.

Do helmets ever "expire"?

Yes, and it is recommended that you replace your helmet every five years. Sweat, oils from your hair, overall normal wear and tear and other factors can lead to helmet degradation as glues, resin and other materials start to deteriorate.

Keep in mind: helmets are considered a "one-use" item. If your helmet was compromised in any way — a crash, a significant accidental drop, etc. — replace it immediately even if it doesn't look damaged. (The outer shell could be hiding some damage to the inner foam.)

What are common injury situations to look out for?

Teach your family to be aware of common injury situations so each time they're out for a ride, they'll be safe. These situations include:

  • Entering the street from a driveway, sidewalk or curb without looking
  • Crossing at intersections
  • Making a left
  • Swerving to avoid something
  • Riding against traffic

Other safety tips

Before your kids hit the road, make sure they are aware of all the laws regarding bicycling. Remember, bicycles are not toys — they are considered vehicles and share the road with much larger and faster vehicles with bigger blind spots.

  • Wear a helmet and protective clothing, no matter how slowly you are riding. A fall at any speed can cause a severe head injury.
  • Stop and look both ways for cars before entering the street from a driveway, parking lot or sidewalk.
  • Move with the traffic flow — ride on the right-hand side of the street.
  • Ride single-file and never carry any passengers on bicycles built for one.
  • Obey all traffic laws, signs and signals.
  • Slow down when approaching intersections. Children should walk their bikes across busy intersections and streets. Don’t assume drivers will give you the right-of-way.
  • If biking at night is necessary, equip your bike with a headlight and reflectors. Wear reflective tape or clothing.
  • Always watch for potential hazards like loose gravel, potholes, wet leaves or other things that may cause you to crash.
  • Keep your bicycle under control. No stunts.
  • Ride skateboards and scooters on the sidewalk.
  • Give cars and pedestrians the right-of-way and always pass them on the left.
  • Make sure your bike is a safe bike and the right size for you. Make sure both feet can touch the ground while sitting on the bicycle seat.
  • Check your brakes, tires and chain before you ride. Make sure they are in good working condition.

Find these safety tips and more at Primary Children’s Hospital’s website.