It is not necessary to buy a bicycle helmet for a child in our country, but we regularly see children wearing helmets, as well as opponents of this sport element. When is it really needed? The question is answered by experienced experts.
How safe is a bicycle helmet?
Intuitively, many will say that wearing a helmet is safer than not wearing it when a child cycles to and from school during morning and evening rush hours. It’s right. Scientific studies show that a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by as much as 60 percent.
What’s more, after investigating fatal accidents, it was found that more than a third (37 percent) of the dead cyclists could have survived the crash while wearing a helmet.
A bicycle helmet does not prevent accidents, but in the event of a fall, it protects the head through an energy-absorbing foam layer that reduces the impact of an impact on the brain by distributing the impact force over the entire surface.
The foam layer forms an integral part with the smooth material, and the slip created ensures a slight resistance, reducing the risk of neck injury.
Also, a hard helmet does not allow other objects, sharp or blunt, to touch the head. On the inside there are small pillows to make it comfortable for the child to wear it, straps that fasten on the chin allow the helmet to stay in place in any fall.
When purchasing a bicycle helmet, it is worth remembering that it is designed to prevent impacts reaching 20 kilometers per hour, while most collisions of cyclists occur in combination with a car or motorcycle at a higher speed. In this case, unfortunately, a head injury cannot be avoided.
Misplaced sense of security
It’s not clear how this is possible, but studies show that helmeted cyclists are more likely to be involved in crashes than non-helmeted cyclists. Perhaps they rely on a helmet, not quite understanding the force of impact when colliding with another vehicle. Motorists may also be less attentive when they see helmeted cyclists.
When does a child need a bicycle helmet?
If the child does not ride a bicycle faster than 20 kilometers per hour, a bicycle helmet will protect against accidents. In case of accidents with cars, motorcycles or scooters, a helmet does not guarantee 100% protection.
But young children who don’t yet know how to ride a bike usually fall for other reasons. For example, they have difficulty maintaining balance or are unable to steer properly. During this period, a helmet will prove to be the best solution to prevent injury.
Having met opponents of a bicycle helmet, we advise you to recall the physiology of the child. The brain is the most important organ and is often affected during accidents.
The brain is protected by a layer of fluid, but it cannot provide sufficient protection against sudden extreme movements, such as a strong blow.
If your child collides with an object and the impact is strong, the liquid will not be able to absorb it and a concussion will occur. The helmet absorbs some of the impact, reducing further health complications.
Some scholars liken a headbutt to a watermelon. Watermelon falling to the ground breaks into pieces. If you put a helmet on him, he will remain intact when he falls.
How to choose a bicycle helmet for a child
When buying a helmet, pay attention to the following points:
- Buy a bicycle helmet that meets European standards. It has the CE mark on the inside followed by the European standard number: EN-1080.
- Choose together with your child, so you will correctly determine the size. As a last resort, before going to the store, measure the circumference of your head at a level about two centimeters above the eyebrows. Make sure your child’s forehead, temples, and back of the head are well covered.
- The main disadvantage of the helmet is that it is hot in it, pay attention to the presence of holes for ventilation.
- Wear it right. To ensure optimal protection, it is important that the helmet fits properly. The internal distance between the head and the helmet should not be too large. Check the straps and buckle for strength and comfort.
- Ask if the child sees and hears well in a helmet.
Buy a new helmet as your child grows, every five years, or when it is damaged, such as scratches or dents from a fall.