Helmets - Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

Why should all cyclists wear a helmet?

Head injuries are the number one cause of serious injury and death to kids on bicycles. A head injury can permanently change the way a child walks, talks, plays, and thinks.

The human skull is just one centimeter thick. A properly fitted helmet helps protect your brain from absorbing the force from a crash or a fall. A properly fitted and correctly worn bike helmet can make a dramatic difference, cutting the risk of serious head injury by up to 85 per cent. This means that 4 out of 5 brain injuries could be prevented if every cyclist wore a helmet.

Skateboarding, inline skating, and scooter riding - why is a helmet important?

Head injuries occur while skateboarding, inline skating and scooter riding. A properly fitted helmet helps protect your brain the same way it does on a bicycle, dramatically decreasing the risk of serious injury.

Why is it important that a helmet have an approved standards label?

An approved standards label certifies that the helmet design has been tested by the manufacturer to protect your head. Check for this label inside or on the helmet.

What types of helmet standards are available in Canada?

Helmets sold in Canada are certified by CSA (Canadian Standards Association), CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), Snell, or ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials).

Can I use a bike helmet for skateboarding inline skating and scooter riding?

Bike helmets can be used for inline skating and scooter riding. Skateboarding has its own kind of helmet.

Why do I need a different helmet for skateboarding?

Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head and will protect against more than one crash. Because falls are common in skateboarding, these helmets are made of material that is specially designed to withstand multiple impacts on the same spot.

What is a multi-sport helmet?

This means the helmet meets safety standards for more than one activity. Be sure the multi-sport helmet shows clearly what activity it has been tested for (not all multi-sport include pedal cycling). If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer.

How can I tell if the helmet is right size for my child?

Helmets come in a variety of sizes. There are special helmets for toddlers (under age five) that provide more protection at the back of the head. Some children may outgrow the "toddler" size helmet before the age five and should use a bigger helmet.

Helmets come with extra padding that can be added to the inside of the helmet. Your child may need extra padding at the front or the back of the helmet so that it fits correctly.

How do I tell if the helmet is fitting correctly on my child's head?

Have your child shake her head from side to side and from front to back. The helmet should not move around when she shakes her head.

How do I properly fit a helmet for my child?

The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should rest about 2 fingers' width above the eyebrows. The side straps should fit snugly around your child's ears in a "V"shape. The buckles on the side strap should fit right under the ear. Buckle the chin strap. Until you can only fit one finger between the strap and your child's chin.

Teach your child to check the helmet fit every time.

When should I replace a helmet?

Bike helmets should be replaced after five years or a crash where the cyclist has hit their head.

After 5 years, the plastics of the helmet dry out and may become brittle with age. Also, older helmets may not meet current safety standards.

Bike helmets are designed to protect your head against only one crash. After a crash in which the cyclist has hit his or her head, the foam inside the helmet is compressed. The helmet should be replaced, even if it does not look damaged. Foam and outer shell must not be damaged.

Is it safe to use a second-hand helmet?

No, it is not a good idea to buy a helmet second-hand. You may not know if the helmet has been in a crash, and you may not know how old the helmet is.

My child's helmet is missing parts, is it ok to use?

No, your child should never use a helmet that has missing parts. Make sure that all of the straps, adjusters and fasteners on your child's helmet are secure and are in working order. If the sliders or buckles on the side straps are loose, the helmet will not fit correctly and should not be worn.

Can my child wear his baseball hat under his helmet?

No, anything that could change the way your child's helmet fits should not be worn. Baseball hats, big hair clips and headphones should never be worn under a helmet. Ponytails should be worn low on the neck when wearing a helmet.

Does it matter if my child puts stickers on her helmet?

Every sticker has some type of adhesive to hold it on, and adhesives have solvents in them that aid the sticking process. These solvents may make the plastic of the helmet weak. Only allow your child to put stickers on her helmet if you know the adhesive is compatible with the plastic of the helmet. If you don't know, it's better not to put the stickers on the helmet.

** Information is from:

Parent Information Sheets

Bicyle Helmet Safety Sheet