With the warmer weather of Spring now upon us, your kids are no doubt itching to go out and ride their bikes. You need to check all the equipment before they take off. One of the most important things is to make sure their helmets are in good shape and properly secured.
Helmets should fit snugly and not rock side to side when your child shakes their head. It should cover the forehead, and the front should sit 1 to 2 finger widths above their eyebrows.
Chinstraps and buckles must be securely fastened. Both straps need to be locked and adjusted to form a V shape slightly in front of the ears.
No more than 1 or 2 fingers should fit between the chinstrap and the chin. Twist and pull on the helmet to make sure the strap and buckle do not loosen. Never use a helmet that is too loose for your child thinking it’s good enough for now.
Make sure you inspect the helmet for any cracks in the outer shell. If you find even a very small crack, throw it away, because it will not be able to do it’s job as intended.
If you notice the shell has faded, that’s a sign it is breaking down and should be tossed in the trash. Crushed foam on the inside of the helmet is also a reason to discard it.
It will not provide the needed cushion between your child’s head and the sidewalk or other object they may crash into. Look closely at the straps and buckles. Make sure there is no fraying or weak spots and that they are securely attached to the helmet.
Bicycle helmets manufactured after 1999 must meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.
Helmets that meet the standards are designed to protect riders from a severe brain injury or skull fracture. They are tested to make sure they can withstand a high impact from a collision or fall, and that the straps and buckle are strong enough to keep the helmet on your head.
Look for a label inside the liner, attached to the chin strap, or somewhere on the exterior from the CPSC to insure the helmet meets the standards.
Some police departments will check your child’s helmet and bicycle to make sure they are in safe and in proper working order. All you have to do is give them a call and ask.
So make sure to check those helmets so you and your family can enjoy a safe bicycling season.