Helmets on the Slopes
Everyone knows it’s a good idea to wear a helmet while biking or rollerblading but what about while skiing or snowboarding? Can a helmet really make a difference in protecting you and your children during these winter sports? The answer is yes. The National Ski Areas Association encourages and recommends the use of helmets while on the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding helmets can reduce the severity of head injuries and provide protection from direct blows to the head at speeds under 14 mph. While skiing responsibly will always be the most important safety advice, wearing a helmet can help reduce or prevent injury in some cases.
For the maximum protection, it is best to get a helmet that is designed specifically for skiing and snowboarding. These helmets will provide more coverage and impact protection than a regular bike helmet. In choosing a helmet, it is most important to get one that fits properly. A helmet is not something you would want your child to grow into. It is helpful to know the circumference of your child’s head. The helmet should fit comfortably with no pressure points.
Also, it is best to get a helmet that has been approved by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM adopted a United States’ recreational snow sports helmet F2040 standard in May of 2000, which has become the standard for helmet manufacture in the United States. Many ski areas have helmets that you can rent at the resort, but some do not. It is always better to call ahead to be sure.
Helmets can be the difference between a major and a minor injury on the slopes, but a helmet is not a license to act irresponsibly. A helmet will not protect against you if you lose control and hit a tree or other object at a moderate or high speed. It is important not to take more risks just because you have a helmet on. Wearing a helmet will not make you invincible and skiing and snowboarding responsibly should always be your first priority. For more information, visit www.lidsonkids.org.