Kids' Bike Helmets

July 18, 2009 11:52:38 PM PDT
Dr. Michael Tobias, Pediatric Neurosurgeon said "I rarely meet kids that were wearing their bicycle helmets. I usually meet kids that weren't wearing their helmets, or weren't wearing their helmets properly."Pediatric Neurosurgeon Michael Tobias wants kids to wear a bike helmet. He's seen the dire consequences of not wearing one.

Consumer Reports put a dozen children's bike helmets through some tough tests. In all, Consumer Reports tested a dozen helmets, ranging in price from $18 to$50 dollars.

This test simulates what happens when your head hits the pavement; another test applies sudden force to the helmets straps and buckle to see whether they stretch or break that helps determine whether the helmet would come off in an accident.

But Consumer Reports says it doesn't matter whether you get a good helmet if it doesn't fit correctly. This popular Hannah Montana denim helmet is supposed to fit children eight and up. But Consumer Reports found it's too big for some eight-year-olds. It actually fit some adults!

Rich Handel, Consumer Reports said "A good-fitting helmet should fit snugly even before you tighten the straps."

It should also be level and no more than one or two fingers' widths above the brow.

The straps should form a "v" under each ear and the buckle should be centered under the chin.

The Schwinn thrasher did very well overall in Consumer Reports' tests and at 20 dollars, it's a best buy. The right bicycle helmet will help make this childhood rite of passage a safe one.

Over time, a bicycle helmet's straps may need to be adjusted either because of stretching, slippage, or a child's growth. So make sure you check them periodically.

As a rule of thumb, you should replace a helmet at least every five years, and be sure to get a new helmet after an accident.

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