Wearing a helmet is not only safe, but also smart. Not all states require individuals to wear a helmet, but doing so could protect you or your child from serious brain injuries.

How to choose a helmet

It's important to start by choosing a helmet that meets safety standards. A helmet should have a Consumer Product Safety Commission or Snell sticker on the inside. If your child is interested in skateboarding, look for a sticker saying it meets ASTM F1492 standards. Some helmets may meet both of these standards and are considered multi-sport helmets.

Helmet cost will vary. It's important to note that expensive helmets are not always better. If using a hand-me-down helmet, check it with care. Never wear a helmet that is cracked or broken. Used helmets may have unseen cracks, and older helmets may not meet safety standards. It is also crucial to choose a helmet that fits your child properly.

Proper helmet fit

It's important to have a child’s helmet fit to ensure proper protection. Following the guidelines listed below with help ensure a proper fit.

• Position: Helmets should be worn level and cover a child’s forehead. A perfectly fit helmet will rest two finger widths above a child’s eyebrows.

• Size: Helmets should fit snugly. Depending on the helmet, it may have removable sizing pads or an adjustable universal ring to help with fit.

• Side Straps: These straps are on both the left and right side forming a “Y” and should meet below the ear.

• Chin Strap: The chin strap, a buckle, should tighten until it is snug, letting no more than a finger between the strap and the chin.

When checking the fit, it's a good idea to go through the same steps as when the helmet was bought. If you are finding the helmet is not fitting anymore, work with the sizing pads or ring. If that does not work, try a different helmet. If a helmet does not fit your child anymore, it should be replaced. If your child crashes and hits the helmet, it is time to replace the helmet. Manufacturers say helmets are only good for one crash.

Encourage your child to wear their helmet

Getting children to wear their helmets can be tough, especially if their friends do not wear them. Below are recommended tips to get your child to start and continue wearing their helmet:

• Instill from a young age they need to wear a helmet.

• Be an example and wear a helmet, too.

• Wear helmets — even if going on a short ride.

• Encourage other parents to have their kids wear helmets.

• Have your child pick out their helmet. If your child likes how it looks, he or she will be more likely to wear it.

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