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There is no federal law in the United States that makes it mandatory to wear a bicycle helmet, but 20 states and more than 125 localities have helmet laws—and with good reason. Head injuries account for 75 percent of bicycle related deaths and permanently disabling injuries. So, if you've been riding without, run to your nearest bike shop and pick one up.
*When buying a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the requirements of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission or those of one or more of the organizations that set bicycle standards like ASTM, Snell or ANSI.
Getting your child to wear a helmet is only half the battle. Getting them to wear it right is a whole other story. If you are not certain whether or not your child's helmet fits, ask their doctor.
Most pediatricians can tell you whether a bicycle helmet fits your child properly, or whether it is adjusted properly so why not bring it with you to your next well-check. Have your child put their helmet on during their check-up and ask your doctor to assess its fit. You'll get good advice and hearing a doctor stress its importance could potentially make an impact on your child.
What's the best helmet to wear? It's a helmet you want to wear. Almost every helmet available today has a sticker saying that it meets all safety standards and requirements so all that remains is personal taste.
Many popular helmets (such as Giro Helmets) offer assorted styles and colors to cater to individual tastes so go out and find yours. If you love the helmet you choose, chances are you'll feel better about wearing it.
Almost every sport or physical activity has its risks and cycling is no exception. If you're looking for assurance that your child's helmet is truly good protection, you can rest assured. Bicycle helmets are manufactured to specific standards that were drafted by committees made up of scientists, engineers, doctors, manufacturers and advocates.
Helmet standards are based upon research, studies, actual experience, and rigorous product testing (the process can often take months or even years and are updated as new materials and technologies are introduced).
A bicycle helmet is a necessity, however, if it doesn't fit, it not only won't protect your head. In fact, a helmet that doesn't fit can potentially even do harm by hitting other body parts or wrapping around your neck.
*If you are unsure of how to fit a helmet, it's best to buy it at a bike shop with knowledgeable salespeople. Your helmet should never be crooked, tipped back, or have loose straps.
A helmet won't last forever! Most information stresses how to buy and fit a helmet, but few discuss when to replace a helmet. Your helmet should be replaced if:
• You've taken a fall
• It's aging
• The technology has changed
• It lacks the sticker telling you it complies with industry standards for safety
• If you can't adjust it to fit properly
*Wearing an inadequate bike helmet is about as useful as not wearing one at all. Keep your helmet up to code and stay safe while riding.