If you own a kids helmet, fit it properly for ****sake (and wear one yourself)

If you own a kids helmet, fit it properly for ****sake (and wear one yourself)

This article refers to death and cycling accidents; viewer discretion is advised.

Before setting up 10ways, I worked in an independent bike shop, I would spend my days selling bikes to people of all ages, sizes and shapes, the one thing we would always recommend is a helmet, primarily because it was an easy upsell and I wanted that juicy Christmas bonus but also because all the evidence 1 2 3 pointed to them as being safer than without, and everyone I knew wore a helmet (we were into Mountain Biking including Downhill Racing).

One day a customer came in and told us a story of a chap who took his daughter bike riding, mid-trip they stopped for a break, he took his helmet off and then stepped off the bike, only he caught himself on the bike as he got off and fell, hitting his head on a rock and supposedly dying, that story (even if was weirdly made up for some reason by the customer) always stuck with me and it’s why I never take my helmet off until I’m off the bike and the bikes are parked up etc. Well, that was true until about 10 years ago, when I went to test-ride a new bike, I took it out for a quick spin around the car park but stupidly without a helmet… (I kick myself daily for this decision) well something went wrong and cut a long story short I crashed and eventually ended up in an Ambulance, only able to repeat my name, address and phone number, I would repeat this information for 2 hours and nothing else, turned out I was heavily concussed, had broken 2 ribs, fractured my collarbone, compressed my spine and I had just written off a £3K bike (sorry Evans Cycles, but thanks for not charging me) 🤦‍♂️ I was fairly lucky that day that my head hit the grass; if it was concrete, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this now.

However, this bike accident cost me work, trouble remembering things, several long hospital visits, not to mention hours of upset for my family and potentially even long-lasting issues that I’m not aware of…. So I know what can happen and as a parent now I’m anxious I don’t want them to make similar mistakes to me, equally, it’s important to understand that a helmet will only do so much, it’s arguably far more impactful to have:

  • a properly set-up bike in the correct size
  • the knowledge of how to ride a bike safely
  • the ability to realise your limits
  • the understanding of how a bike works, how the brakes work, how to slow down gradually, how to use the rear and front brakes etc
  • an understanding that you should treat the helmet like a delicate vase when not being used

Anyway, back to the bike shop, as part of the service, I’d spend a good 5-10 minutes ensuring the correct helmet was picked, it fitted them properly and it was then adjusted to fit their head as it should, job done. The problem is that with more people are buying bikes online (heck we promote them quite often on 10ways), a continued influx of cheap helmets hitting the market (these are largely OK but often don’t come with suitable instructions), the majority of people are very price-focused, and often nobody is there to check and fit helmets (unless you do go to a decent bike shop), so you end up with a group of people who buy a helmet and chuck it on with little to no thought about its fitment and then want/need to have the helmet last a good amount of time to ‘get your moneys worth’ which ends up being a potential massive issue waiting to happen.

I see it all the time where kids (of all ages) and even their parents are cycling around in complete ignorant bliss, I’ve offered to help a few people when out and about, yes I’m one of those weird people, anyway, I thought it warranted a 10ways post as whilst of course it’s unlikely to happen and kids can fall over in the street and hurt themselves when walking there is a very big cost to pay if something were to go wrong and considering you’ve gone to the expense of buying a helmet for your child (or you) then surely it’s worth maximising the cost by fitting it properly.

So, I’d like to ask you to please spend 5 minutes checking your children’s helmet fitment (see the guide below), or if you’re struggling, go to your local independent bike shop and ask for help, thank you.

Please consider sending this to your friends and sharing on social media.

Here is the best guide we’ve found online for fitment (thanks to TwoWheelingTots):

Here are the steps to fit a helmet:

  1. Measure the head with a soft tape measure
  2. Find a Helmet with those measurements
  3. Place the helmet on the top of their head
  4. Ensure the front rim on the helmet is about 2 fingers width above the child eyebrows (this is the most common mistake)
  5. Tighten the helmet via the rear fastener – Ensuring it’s snug but not uncomfortable (get them to do a shake test, it shouldn’t move)
  6. Make sure the ears are within the V of the straps and the strap is close to the earlobe/bottom of the ear.
  7. Adjust the chin strap so it’s snug (1 finger gap between the strap and the chin)
  8. Continue to check and adjust the helmet size as they grow | If the helmet gets dropped replace it

  1.  Individuals whose helmets were reported to fit poorly had a 1.96-fold increased risk of head injury compared with those whose helmets fit well. Children with head injuries had helmets which were significantly wider than their heads compared with children without head injuries.
  2. By wearing a helmet, your child’s risk of serious head and face injury can be significantly decreased
  3. Cycle helmet use was associated with a significant reduction in severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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