According to Hopkins Health Library,
"Over 70% of children between the ages of 5 and 14 ride bicycles. Next to motor vehicle-related injuries, bicycles injure more children than any other consumer product, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign."
With the rise of scooters and the increase of kids riding bikes to school and around, there is a debate about whether kids should wear crash helmets when riding scooters, and in fact this also includes skateboards, rollerskates and rollerblades.
Many parents have the intention to have their kids wear helmets when they are on scooters but fail to implement it early enough. For example, most kids get their first scooter around the age of 2. At this age, they dawdle along at low speed and sometimes even give up completely on a day out. So often i see parents lugging around bicycles and scooters whilst their kids have either retreated back to the safety of their buggy, mum or dad's shoulders or buggy board :)
Whilst amongst mum forums, opinion is divided, most parents against helmets are really just justifying their more relaxed attitudes rather than having a compelling reason not to wear them, there is a urban myth that helmets can cause more harm than good. However there is more medical evidence FOR wearing a helmet than against.
Why your child should wear a helmet on a bike, skateboard or scooter:
* Reduce injury - Wearing a helmet can reduce the chance of a head injury by 85%
* Start early - As a child gets faster, older and more daring, the chance of a fall/accident increases. Wearing a helmet from a young age sets kids up for wearing a helmet as a teen and adult.
* Protect soft skulls - Kids skulls are more fragile and delicate they are more prone to injury
* Why not? - Its not that much of a hassle to remember to wear a helmet and it can become an automatic reflex, its not worth the risk to not wear one.
* Accessorise - Helmets come in a wide range of fantastic designs and colours, so look at it as an opportunity to accessorise!
* It must make a difference - In Australia helmets are compulsory when riding a bicycle or scooter and recommended for riding a skateboard.
Here is a great article in the Evening Standard showing some of the best multi-sport helmets for kids and where to buy them. You can buy a good kids helmet for anywhere between £20-£40.
This photo above is from one of our stockists in Antwerp called Mark Store, they have a whole wall dedicated to kids helmets, a very inspiring way to get a child enthusiastic about sport and safety.
Tips for getting kids to wear their helmet
* Take them shopping - Include them in the buying process, get them to choose one they like
* Be consistent - tell a child they must wear a helmet every time, not just sometimes, before long it will become second nature
* Fit is key - Make sure their helmet fits them correctly so it is comfortable.
* Lead by example - Wear a helmet yourself consistently, they will want to be like you.
Other tips for buying the right helmet
* Do the ‘push test’ to make sure the helmet is a snug fit. If you can push the helmet backwards, forwards or sideways once you’ve done up the clips, it’s too big.
* Don’t buy a second-hand helmet – there’s no way of knowing if the previous owner has damaged it in an accident.
* Always replace helmets after an impact or accident.
Yes! your child should wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter, you should get them used to the idea as early as possible. Don't be tight or skimp on an ill-fitting helmet, they will not like it and not want to wear it. Your child's head is definitely worth the pain and hassle of buying a helmet and remembering to wear it!