Heads up on Helmets
A helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by up to 85 percent1. Whether you enjoy biking, boarding, or blading in the summer, or skiing, skating and sledding in the winter, pick the right helmet for the job and always wear it.
There are two basic types of helmets: single-impact and multiple-impact. It’s important to select a helmet that fits you properly and that is appropriate to the activity you’re doing. These tips will help you choose:
The Right Helmet for the Job
Skiing and snowboarding helmets are designed to protect your head against a single hard impact. They should be replaced after they’ve been in one crash, even if there does not appear to be any damage. Hockey helmets are designed to withstand several impacts. Unlike a bike helmet, ski, snowboarding and hockey helmets protect the back of the head — which is especially important for winter sports.
Don’t Settle for Second-hand
While it may be tempting to buy a second-hand helmet or to use a hand-me-down, plastic becomes brittle and weakens with age. Make sure you know the answer to two questions:
- Has this helmet been in a crash?
- Is it more than five years old?
Look for Safety Certification
Also, older helmets may not meet current safety standards. Look for safety certification by CSA (Canadian Standards Association), or CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission).
The Right Fit
Proper fit is just as important as choosing the right helmet. It should comfortably touch your head all the way around, and be snug enough to stay firmly in place. Your helmet should sit level on your head and ride as low as possible to protect the sides of your head. Don’t assume that the first helmet you try on will be right for you. People’s heads come in different shapes and sizes and you may have to try on a few different brands and models to find the right one.
1 Olivier, J & Creighten P. "Bicycle injuries and helmet use: a systematic review and meta-analysis." International Journal of Epidemiology. 2017;46(1): 278–292.