Bicycle Helmets a Must for Connecticut Children

Nearly all kids like riding bikes. However, a lot of them don't like wearing helmets. This is especially true for older children, many of whom see helmets as "nerdy" or "uncool."

Parents, though, are right to consider wearing a bike helmet as a non-negotiable rule. There are few things that can protect a child in a bicycle accident as much as a helmet does.

This common-sense principle was recently proven in a scientific test. According to a study published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, bicycle helmets can reduce skull acceleration by up to 87 percent in an impact-type accident. Helmets are also valuable in crushing accidents, where they can help a child's skull resist up to 470 pounds of pressure. In an accident, a properly-fitting helmet may mean the difference between walking away with minor injuries and suffering a life-altering traumatic brain injury.

The study was conducted as background for a public service campaign on the importance of wearing bicycle helmets. Indeed, it appears this campaign is very necessary - the study's authors found that while approximately 70 percent of kids between the ages of 5 and 14 ride bikes, only between 15 and 25 percent regularly wear helmets.

These low rates of helmet use are disturbing, largely because of how devastating bicycle-related head injuries can be. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head injuries are the leading cause of death from bicycle accidents. Even in non-fatal accidents, traumatic brain injuries can lead to a whole host of complications including memory loss, cognitive difficulties, trouble with walking and coordination, and persistent pain and headaches.

Tips for Buying a Bicycle Helmet

All parents should insist that their children wear helmets whenever they ride bicycles. However, helmets only work when they are used correctly. Fit and style are extremely important.

A bicycle helmet should fit snugly, but not tightly, on a child's head. The helmet should not rock back and forth when the child moves his or her head. The bottom rim of the helmet should sit about one to two finger-widths above the child's eyebrows. In addition, the chin strap should sit flat against the underside of the child's jaw, with just enough space to allow the child to open his or her mouth comfortably.

Though bike helmets aren't always inexpensive, it is important not to cut corners. Don't buy a bigger helmet under the assumption that the child will grow into it. In addition, it is best to avoid buying used, since helmets wear out over time.

Kids are more likely to wear their helmets when they feel like they have a choice in the matter. Parents should consider letting their child pick out a helmet that fits his or her personal style. Younger children often enjoy personalizing their helmets with stickers or other decals.

Wearing a helmet can go a long way toward protecting children in the event of a bicycle accident. Unfortunately though, injuries do sometimes happen, even when the best precautions are taken. If your child is injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, he or she may be entitled to financial compensation for losses including medical bills and pain and suffering. A Connecticut personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights.