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  1. #1
    Junior Member DramaMama's Avatar
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    Bike Helmets For Kids?

    Hi all,

    Question for parents re: helmets for kids. BMX full face style vs. conventional bike helmets?

    I have a 6 y/o and a 4 y/o. The 6 y/o went over the handlebars this past week, and went face-first into the sidewalk. Much drama at the time, but healing well and no broken bones, no stitches. Helmet on at the time, a decent Bell bike helmet, don't know the model. Even with the helmet, her face really hit the pavement hard.

    Replacing the helmet this weekend. Actually considering full face BMX-style helmets like the Razor one. Really do not want the kids going through this type of injury if possible, so looking for helmet that will protect thier heads AND faces.

    Concerns: Are the BMX style full face helmets too much for casual riding in the neighborhood? Are they going to be too heavy and too hot during the summer? Any other suggestions or recommendations for decent kids helmets?

    Thanks!

    DL
    Well-behaved women seldom make history.

  2. #2
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    The three main problems with kids helmets are

    1. Fit is critical; with children this means frequent replacement. Safety isn't related to cost but the level of certification, so buy cheap and replace often - but paying attention to the certs

    2. The way the helmet is worn is critical; children's helmets are virtually never correctly worn (adults rarely are.) This makes them useless except for decoration. A poorly helmet probably won't work ***at all***

    3. Helmets probably will put your children off riding, obesity, diabetes, yadda yadda.

    The best helmet info site on the web is http://www.cyclehelmets.org/
    - blue chip board of statisticians, doctors and engineers - but the info is complex and ambiguous, so you'll have to balance it. You will want to look at http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1003.php and the entries on children especially. As I remember - but check! - Snell offers the toughest level of certification.


    The only thing that I'm sure of is that buying a helmet for a child that you can't afford to replace frequently is bad, and that checking the certification level - there are several - is a must.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Full face helmets inhibit peripheral vision and possibly hearing creating a more dangerous situation. Those helmets are best left for the BMX track for short controlled durations. Helmets protect the head, not the face, and are not designed to protect the face. Have him take up jogging if you don't want to deal with cycling injuries.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  4. #4
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    Full face helmets aren't really necessary. Have had in the region of 1200 kids through our club (2 hours every Sat) over the last 11 years and have had only 2 facial injuries (minor) in that time.

    May I suggest that you analyse the reason for the crash? It may be that she needs a bit of help in the bike handling line. See if you can find a flat, traffic-free area (out of hours parking lot?) and set her some simple bike handling tasks: riding in a straight line; turning in a circle, both ways; learning to ride one-handed (each hand); looking well ahead, instead of down at front wheel (common habit amongst v. young riders); learning to steer with body movement rather than turning bars; learning to stop properly (both brakes/in a straight line/putting down feet only after having stopped); slalom course using any small objects, starting off with them in a straight line about 6' apart and gradually reducing distance between by about 6" at a time and then moving on to putting them down slightly offset so that it is more of a zigzag, etc.

    We use all of these as part of our Bronze skills award. It will, I suspect, have more effect, long-term on their safety that encasing them in f.f. helmets, since it will greatly reduce their chances of face-planting.

    Good luck

  5. #5
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Full face helmets inhibit peripheral vision and possibly hearing creating a more dangerous situation. Those helmets are best left for the BMX track for short controlled durations.
    Doh! I forgot that - the only time I've worn anything like a fullface helm has been in a wood with nothing to hear or the time I tried to ride a friend's motorcycle and couldn't have heard anything.

  6. #6
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    At 6 he may be able to fit a size small adult helmet.

  7. #7
    Junior Member DramaMama's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help!

    Thanks to everyone who responded, much appreciated!

    She's always worn a helmet to ride, so compliance with that part isn't a problem.

    Agree about reviewing the bike handling techniques. She thinks she hit either a large rock or something on the sidewalk. She was riding her friend's bike, which, although similar to hers, it's still not the same bike. So I suspect that didn't help, and no doubt contributed to the accident.

    She is active, especially in gymnastics and equestrian events. She has gone off the horse a couple of times over the last 4 years, but it's much softer landing in barn. Tuck and roll...

    Didn't think about the helmet impacting hearing. I used to ride a motorcycle and wore a SHOEI RF-900 full face helmet. They can be hot, but don't think it hampered my hearing or peripheral vision.

    Will probably let her decide which type helmet she prefers, as long as it meets safety certs.

    Thanks again for all the responses, you gave me a lot of things to think about.

    DL
    Well-behaved women seldom make history.

  8. #8
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    Fit is important, including the adjustment of the straps under the chin. I helmet level on the head gives signoficant protection for the nose and face. A helmet worn on the back of the head give no such protection.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Doh! I forgot that - the only time I've worn anything like a fullface helm has been in a wood with nothing to hear or the time I tried to ride a friend's motorcycle and couldn't have heard anything.
    Are you 6?
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  10. #10
    Junior Member DramaMama's Avatar
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    Over-reacting...???

    Thanks again to all who have responded. It probably seems like I am over-reacting, but it took nearly 2 full days for the swelling to go down in her face so that she could open her left eye again. 2 days of wearing an ice bag on your face is not much fun for anyone.

    We spent over 4 hours at the local ER to get X-rays and medical evaluation. Luckily nothing was broken.

    Accident happened last Monday, by Friday she was turning cartwheels in the front yard...kids bounce back quickly.

    We can't put our kids in some sort of giant hamster-ball to roll around in and be protected from life's little hazards....I know that. Even so, I want to try to prevent this type of injury in the future.

    I think some of you nailed it:

    1) Helmet has to fit and be worn properly.
    2) Helmet needs to meet safety certs
    3) Bike-handling skill development is critical
    4) Cycling should be enjoyable

    I am hoping to eventually acquire a used tandem and let her be the "stoker" while we tow her brother on his co-pilot thingie. I don't want her to be afraid to ride. At 6 she is already 48 inches tall and 70 lbs, so I think it's do-able if she's up for it.

    We won't have a tandem for awhile, so she has time to get back on her bike once we replace her helmet this week. We'll see how it goes.

    Hopefully things will be back to normal here in a few more days.... Thanks again for all of the advice and suggestions, much appreciated! I know she will have the final word on what type of helmet she prefers. I pick several for her to try on and choose from, so I can verify safety certs and sizing, and pricing. But she has the final say since she's the one who will be wearing it.

    DL
    Well-behaved women seldom make history.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DramaMama View Post
    T

    I am hoping to eventually acquire a used tandem and let her be the "stoker" while we tow her brother on his co-pilot thingie. I don't want her to be afraid to ride. At 6 she is already 48 inches tall and 70 lbs, so I think it's do-able if she's up for it.
    Welcome to the club:

    Helmet issues shown has been fixed.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  12. #12
    Junior Member DramaMama's Avatar
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    Thanks!

    Nice pix!

    I can't wait to have a similar set-up,I think it will be much easier to keep everyone together. And I know my daughter will at least help out with the pedaling. My son seems to think he is only along for the ride...he pedals if he feels like it. LOL!

    Mostly he just complains that I am blocking his view and tries to wiggle so that he can see around me. Don't know about yours, but my co-pilot device doesn't tolerate much wiggling. Really gives me a workout on some rides.

    BTW, in case anyone's curious, we went helmet shopping today. My daughter actually picked the full face helmet. Doubt that she will always want to wear this style....figure she'll be asking for another Bell like her old one before the summer's over!

    It's not terribly elegant, but she's a happy camper again....I think it restored some of her confidence. Just hope I haven't created a dare-devil in return.

    Working on basic bike-handling again, one day at a time.

    Hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday!

    DL
    Well-behaved women seldom make history.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Bell has a fit system that is dead on perfect everytime. I can only find these at Wal-Mart, but my only comparison is an LBS and K-Mart.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Full face helmets inhibit peripheral vision and possibly hearing creating a more dangerous situation.
    Full-face helmets designed for bicycle use do neither of these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Those helmets are best left for the BMX track for short controlled durations.
    In cooler weather, they are the lid of choice for at least a dozen mountain bikers I know who also ride in urban environments.

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    Helmets protect the head, not the face, and are not designed to protect the face.
    Bicycle full-face helmets are intended to do just that. Reference ASTM F1954-09.

    Edit: to be clear, I'm not saying the full-face helmets are a solution to the limitations of a regular helmet. But they offer slightly greater protection, and if my kid wanted to wear one, there are no good reasons not to, other than comfort and heat issues.
    Last edited by ghettocruiser; 07-09-09 at 02:29 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DramaMama View Post
    Thanks again to all who have responded. It probably seems like I am over-reacting, but it took nearly 2 full days for the swelling to go down in her face so that she could open her left eye again. 2 days of wearing an ice bag on your face is not much fun for anyone.

    We spent over 4 hours at the local ER to get X-rays and medical evaluation. Luckily nothing was broken.

    Accident happened last Monday, by Friday she was turning cartwheels in the front yard...kids bounce back quickly.

    We can't put our kids in some sort of giant hamster-ball to roll around in and be protected from life's little hazards....I know that. Even so, I want to try to prevent this type of injury in the future.

    I think some of you nailed it:

    1) Helmet has to fit and be worn properly.
    2) Helmet needs to meet safety certs
    Every helmet meets some safety cert, but the only ones worth much are Snell B90 and B95. This level of certification is rare, because people readily rarely check cert levels (colour seems to be much more important) and making poor helmets is cheaper than making good ones. Specialized seem to be the main maker of helmets that meet this level of certification.

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