Monday, June 22, 2015

When Should My "Baby" Start Wearing a Helmet?

I overheard a really scary statistic in the office today. In our hospital (to remain nameless to protect the innocent...and myself), less than 10% of bike crashes that are admitted for treatment or observation are wearing a helmet at the time of injury. You wanna know the same statistic for kids wearing helmets on ripsticks and scooters? 0%. Yes. ZERO.

Let me rephrase that. If your kid got in a bike crash and was injured enough to be admitted to the hospital - 9 out of 10 of them weren't wearing a helmet. None of the ripstick and scooter kids who were hurt enough to need admission were wearing helmets. NONE.


So when should they start wearing helmets? When they start picking up some speed? When they are big enough to lose the training wheels when they're tall enough to be more than a foot from the ground?? No. Start the practice of wearing a helmet the FIRST time they ever get on wheels in the first place. Come on. You know the drill. The earlier you introduce good habits (and morals for that matter), the easier they stick. And the less you have to fight with them later about it.

Is there a conclusion for this? Yes. We can't fix brains. So protect them. If your kid doesn't like the helmet, no bike. No scooter. You're the adult. Set the rules. They'll appreciate it when they don't have to go to prom in a wheelchair with a chaperone to suction out their tracheostomy. And if they don't appreciate it then, it doesn't matter anyway.

But this little face matters...

Lady Bug helmet by Bell on June, age 3 1/2y at time of picture, and Disney Cars helmet on Max age 2 years. Both under $20.


  1. This is so true, if you start them off at the beginning in a helmet, they grow up being used to a helmet for outdoor activities like bike riding or scooters! I am assuming that kids should also wear a helmet when riding the really popular motorized cars? I never see kids with helmets when they are riding these around the neighborhood and would think the helmet would be important for that activity?

    1. Yes Laura! I have actually seen a few kids injured on the little motorized cars. Parents are under the impression that it's the speed that hurts kids, but it's the impact or fall that does the damage. So anytime you're on wheels (maybe minus a real car...although also not a bad idea...) a helmet should be in use!

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  2. Yes, I agree. The skateboard is the new toy in our home. Helmet, knee and elbow pads were purchased, as well.