Wearing a helmet helps to prevent head injuries. However, the helmet must be worn properly for the maximum safety benefit.
A properly fitted helmet helps protect the brain from absorbing the force of an impact, decreasing the risk of a serious head injury. In addition, 4 out of 5 head injuries could be prevented if every cyclist wore a helmet.
When putting on your bicycle helmet, remember:
- The helmet should fit snugly.
- Foam pads can be attached inside the helmet if the cyclist's head is an 'in-between' size.
- The helmet should be worn level on the head, parallel to the ground.
- The chin straps should form a 'V' directly under the earlobe.
- When fastened, the straps should be just tight enough to allow one finger between the straps and the rider's chin.
It doesn't take much to hurt your head in a crash while riding your bicycle. Even if you can't see the damage, your brain can be hurt when it hits the inside of your skull. Damaged brain tissue doesn't heal. A head injury can permanently change the way a person walks, talks, plays and thinks.
Adults should set the example
All cyclists should wear helmets no matter the age. Adults can encourage children to wear a helmet with the following actions:
- Parents and teachers should set an example by wearing helmets when they ride.
- Adults should be consistent. A helmet is necessary anywhere someone is riding a bike, including backyards, parks and schoolyards.
- Let the young cyclist participate in choosing a comfortable, appealing helmet.
- Praise the young cyclist for wearing a helmet.
- Consider not allowing the young cyclist to ride without a helmet.
- Inform the young cyclist that the risks of riding without a helmet are brain damage or even death.
- Discourage negative comments about helmets.
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