Sound Off! Do You Make Your Children Wear Helmets?

03/25/2009 at 08:30 AM ET

Flynet; Limelight

Helmets are a heady topic. While we all know they’re important to our safety, some people refuse to wear them for reasons like vanity or comfort. But time and time again, they’ve saved lives. According to a recent CNN article, helmets can reduce the risk of brain injury in accidents from 50 to 80 percent, and some states even require them for children riding bicycles.

In light of actress Natasha Richardson‘s untimely death by brain injury — which could have potentially been prevented with helmet usage — we want to know: Do you require your children to wear helmets? How do you get them to wear them, and keep them on?


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Jennifer on

I always make my children wear helmets when riding bikes or scooters, I believe in our state it’s the LAW. But I’m a safety nut- infact my kids still sit in booster seats when riding in the car & must always wear a life jacket when out on the boat (even though both are strong swimmers). ages 6 & 8 “Better safe than sorry…..”

Angela on

My husband bought our daughter a bike last summer, it’s her first bike, she’s only 3. We plan on teaching her to ride this Spring so I went with her to Walmart and had her pick out her favorite helmet, it’s Dora the Explorer of course lol. I also make her ware knee pads, she doesn’t mind because it has “Dore” on them.

Erika on

Don’t have kids yet (I’m only 16) but myy mom ALWAYS made me wear a helmet. The summer after I was born (1993) there was a kid in the school district we were living in who died from this at like 10 years old. He had the same kind of thing as Natasha. He was riding his bike and hit his head on a tree. He told his mother and he seemed fine. An hour or so later, he had a headache and nausea and told his parents. They rushed him to the ER and he died in the car. She told me this every time I didn’t want to wear a helmet, and now I still would. I just wanted to tell people that this really does happen and to be really careful!

Susan on

My mother once said to us “if I catch you without a helmet, I will go ahead and hit you with the car myself.” Of course she was kidding, and we knew she was kidding – but boy did we ever get the message. Whenever I went bike riding or Rollerblading I wore a helmet (even now I do that. I think it is silly for adults to assume that they have no need of a helmet simply because they are grown). I did it partly out of fear of inury and partly out of fear of my mother.🙂 She is a gentle and understanding woman, but she sure knew how to put the fear of G-d into us if it was for our own good.🙂

Tricia on

I wear a helmet. I bike in the city. What kills me is that I see parents all the time who force their kids into wearing helmets, but don’t set the good example of wearing them themselves. This will ultimately result in the argument when your kid is older about why should they (the kid) where the helmet when you don’t. So parents, both you and your kid should wear helmets. It teaches them good behaviors and also can save your life.

Susan on

I also get irritated when I see people with their helmets pushed way back so the forehead is not protected by the helmet. Call me particular and overbearing – but wearing a helmet like that is like not wearing a helmet at all. If you are hit and thrown from a bike – nine times out of ten, you are going to hit your forehead, not the back of your head. I don’t care how “dorky” it looks – wear the helmet and wear it the right way. PERIOD.

aurora mia on

OF COURSE they should! Having worked with many Traumatic Brain Injury victims…wearing a helmet is mandatory. I do believe in our state that it is the law and I believe here in Minnesota there are places where you get helmets free. “Safety First” will most likely be my sons first words!! 🙂

Elizabeth on

Oh, could the CBB possibly get another deal like the WeeRide offer you had a few months ago? I think the website that you found would give readers a free helmet with their bike seat purchase. I would like to buy one for our toddler, and a free helmet would be awesome!

Hea on

Not wearing a helmet is incredibly stupid. That goes for adults as well. I’ve seen people die from head trauma that could have been prevented by a simple helmet. The worst case was that 15 year old boy I shared a hospital room with when I too was 15. He died. Organ by organ shut down and finally, he laid there in the bed next to me, totally gone. Forever. A helmet would have saved him.

Laurie on

Of course children should wear helmets; that’s a given. BUT, what bothers me, as a professional nanny of over 17 years, is that the PARENTS DON’T wear them. I’m not saying ALL parents do this but a lot do. I think they see it as “not necessary” or it isn’t fashion friendly. I cannot believe how parents think they’d miss their children if something happened, but don’t you think kids would miss their parents if something happened to them?? My fiance & I have gone riding on bikes with the kids I’ve cared for and WE ALL wore helmets. He also told them about his near fatal bike accident and showed the cracked helmet that SAVED his life!! Hello! Wake up people!!!

Carol on

Yes, I make my sons wear them when biking and skateboarding. They are 13 and 15 and they hate it, but if they don’t wear them, they don’t ride. It’s that simple. Their friends’ parents don’t make their friends wear them, and the friends make fun of them, but I tell them that that’s their business, but I want them around for a very long time and please do it for me. Natasha Richardson’s accident really hit home with them. Plus I set the example, too, by wearing one when I ride.

noelle on

Over here (in Holland) kids don’t wear helmets when riding bikes and we have a lot of bikes. Exceptions confirming the rule of course. I don’t really see the point of it either…. But I suppose I’m just to European.

Tiffany on

My kids are still to young to ride a bike, but at 35 years old, I NEVER wore a helmet when I was little, nor did my little brother or sister. Or my parents or friends. We didnt even own one “back then” in the early 80’s. I dont know if that was the norm then or it was just us?

Aryn on

Absolutely. Helmets are mandatory in our household – for my 3.5-year-old son, myself and my husband. We went through a period last year where my son did not want to wear a helmet while riding his trike and scooter. He would throw a tantrum when I would put the helmet on, but I stayed firm and my response was always, “No helmet, no scooter” or “No helmet, no trike.” It didn’t take long for him to realize that mom (and dad) weren’t going to budge on this issue. We just bought my son a bike w/training wheels now that he’s older and it’s warmer outside. The next day, I went to Target and purchased all three of us new bike helmets. I did have to read the riot act to my husband who didn’t think that a helmet (for himself) was necessary for a bike ride around the neighborhood. I had to remind him that HE (and I) are setting an example for our son!

Anna on

I am from the Netherlands too and as Noelle said no one here wears a helmet for cycling. I think it is in part because cycling is such a part of our daily life, many people cycle to work, to the market, to the store etc etc. It’s not a dangerous activity for us, it’s a part of every day life, as standard as walking.

I don’t see the need for wearing helmets, it reduces the risk of serious damage when in an accident, but was is the risk of even getting in an accident at all? I think it is very small as I don’t know anyone that has been in an accident with their bicycle and everyone I know is on their bicycle daily.

I now live in China and no one here wears a helmet either, again I have never seen an accident even though I’m in traffic with my bicycle every day.

Laura on

Everyone must wear a helmet in our household! My husband works in the cycling (as did I), and I’ve experienced firsthand in a very serious cycling accident a helmet saving my life. To get the little one to wear a helmet, all he has to do is see mom and dad wearing one, and he’s happy to emulate us. Plus, you don’t wear a helmet or get caught without one, and privileges will be lost. Helmets are a must, whether you’re big or small.

rb on

I agree Laurie. It bothers me a lot when I see photos or in “real life” of children with helmets, but not the parents. As recent events have proved, it does not have to be a big head trauma to be deadly. It just takes a small hit the “right way” to cause deadly injuries. It is great that people take care of the kids, but if you love your child, you wouldn’t want them to visit you in a vegetative state in the hospital. You wouldn’t want them visiting your grave either!

Nikki on

I insist that my children (3 and 5)always wear a helmet no matter if it is the bike or the scooter. I believe in my state it is the law that you have to wear one until you are 12. No matter what the law is or not, it is foolish not to wear one, if god forbid something happens and they are not wearing the helmet, then what???

amelita on

Well why on earth wouldn’t you? Of course they do. Even the 2 yr old on her trike. How do we get them to wear them? Easy- no helmet, no bike ride. Period. Hubby and I wear them too.

danda_lion on

Parents who don’t wear helmets set a very bad example. They essentially saying, “You have to wear a helmet, but it’s unnecessary for big people.” How many children would want to keep wearing it with that attitude?

For the Dutch posters: I’ve only been to Holland once, but the U.S. (in general) is not bike-friendly, it’s not a biking culture. I think biking is more dangerous in the U.S. than Holland, in part because more people in Holland know how to ride a bike safely near cars.

A good friend of mine was hit by a car and had a concussion when he wasn’t wearing a helmet.

Anna on

I don’t think as parents you need to wear a helmet to convince your children to wear one. They are children, your are the adult. If the adult says only children need to wear helmets than the child should accept that.

I also don’t think you can compare the skull of a child to that of an adult, as the child’s is more fragile.

Kat Adams on

We have a simple rule in our house, NO HELMET, NO BIKE, NO SCOOTER, NO SKATEBOARD, NO ROLLER SKATING / ROLLER BLADING, NO SKIING. The kids have worn helmets since they were itty bitty, they don’t know any other way.

Megan on

Helmets are the law until your 18 where I live in Canada, even if it wasn’t my sons would be wearing a helmet. They wear them for biking, skateboarding, playing hockey, recreational skating, ect. My husband and I wear one too cause I feel like a hypocrite making my sons wear one if I’m not wearing one as well.

gretahall on

we are a helmet family … we all wear one – our son was age 5 and he was caught without his helmet, his bike went into the ‘garbage’ can for 2 weeks … now just to move his bike out from the storage shed to the grass (about 5 feet in distance) he will put his helmet on …

if he is on his scooter, rollerblades or anything that moves, he has his helmet on as well … not too long ago, he went to a skate party, and i was surprised by the number of kids that had helmets and knee and elbow pads on at an indoor rink.

Shannon on

With the way people drive here in our city, I would never think to let my children or myself out on the road without a helmet on. I pull a bike trailer behind my bike with my two little ones in there and I make them wear helmets while they are riding in there also. Cyclists and Pedestrians have no respect on the road here. A car will turn in front of you in a split second, even if you have the right of way.

Natasha on

Growing up we were definitely a helmet-wearing family. I still wear one and I’m 20 (although admittedly I feel like I don’t need to). My neighbour was about 15 when I was 7 or 8 and she got into such a bad ski accident that she had to relearn everything, even her own name. The week after we were at the store buying ski helmets. My mother is an EMT so she’s insanely precautious. I still wear a helmet when I ski and after the Natasha Richardson incident, I’m positive I’ll be continuning with that.

Mrs. R. on

In CA, it’s the law for anyone under 18 to be wearing a helmet.

We buckle our children into the car, so why NOT have them wear a helmet when they are traveling on the street or busy bike trail for their own safety.

Heather on

In the back yard I don’t make him wear one (we have a long driveway that goes through my backyard)but on the sidewalks, parks etc I do. We live on a pretty main road and it drives me nuts to see that almost none of the kids wear helmets! It’s only a matter of time that something is going to happen…

Mrs. R. on

I am interested in the European/Asian perspective.
Is it that you are not sharing the road with cars? Or is it that drivers naturally drive and bikers ride in a way that avoids collisions?

I live in Berkeley, CA where we have specific Bicycle Boulevards where cars are slowed and the lanes are wide enough to accommodate multiple bikers. It cuts down on accidents involving bikers and cars, although they still happen, and occasionally are fatal or critical.

When my husband and I lived in Dublin, Ireland, he got hit by a car while on a bike, and the only thing that saved his brain was his helmet (the impact was so great it BROKE the helmet).

Tracie on

I do make my kids wear helmets and my husband and I do too. I grew up never wearing a helmet to ski, ride my bike, or horseback ride, but I wear helmets for all now. I just think better safe than sorry! My kids don’t fight it because we’re wearing them too.

Bejeweled Biker on

I always wear a helmet as a precautionary action. I mean accidents abound, so best to have a protection.

Alex on

For me, it comes down to the simple fact that if my child won’t wear a helmet, my child does not skate or ride (or anything in between). There is no alternative. Honestly, it would be entirely irresponsible for me to allow my child, or any child in my care, to risk not wearing one. I cringe when I see children or adults (celebrities or otherwise) cycling along with no protection. It is shameful to know what can happen and still be so irresponsible.

noelle on

@Mrs R.
I don’t think there is a real perspective. We just don’t… I’m not even sure why. And accidents do happen, I witnessed one where a pedestrian accidently bumped into a cyclist and he fell. He had a headwound. Maybe it’s more that we accept accidents when they happen and see it as bad luck. Also due to reports in newspapers claiming most accidents still happen in the home and not while driving a car or riding a bike. I don’t really see myself wearing a helmet while standing on a ladder…😉

Tracey on

Kid should absolutely wear helmets for biking and parents should set the example and wear them as well!

JMO on

Well I live in Pa. Here it’s a law that all children under 12 must be wearing a helmet while riding a bike. However it’s quite funny that we have a “no helmet” law for people who ride motorcycles! My brother was in a motorcycle accident and he didn’t have on a helmet and he almost died! His head was tore up so badly that the doctors told him he has a guardian angel watching over him!

I don’t see why people wouldn’t want to wear them. It can and will most likely save your life in an event that an accident occurs. And yes all children should be wearing them no matter what!!

JMO on

btw I also believe in order to set a good example for your children is to also make sure you wear them. It practices good safety and teaches the children that if mommy and daddy can do it so can you!

New Shoes on

I will say that I believe the helmet issue is a cultural thing. In the US, we are obsessed with “better safe than sorry.” I do not think this obsession is a bad thing, but it is a cultural thing that partly stems from us a.) being better informed about the dangers and then b.) having the resources to change our behavior.

We know in the US that helmets can help prevent head injury and that we should wear them. And we have the resources to make this change. However, in some other countries, the public at large may or may not understand the benefits of helmets (less people read scientific reports), but even if they do, they don’t always have the resources to make the change. Helmets might not be available or they might be way too expensive to buy, but they still need to travel via bike/motorcycle, so they just go without a helmet. It’s not that people don’t want to protect their children, but that they either don’t know how to or they don’t have the option to enact such policies within their families due to finances, availability, etc.

(These comments are made from my observations from living in SE Asia, and do not necessarily apply to any other society.)

shannon on

I ALWAYS wear a helmet when I’m out on my bike. My reason is that I’m pretty confident that the one time I don’t wear it will be the one time I wish I did.

Also, I get really mad when I see children wearing helmets but their parents/nanny/whoever is with them aren’t. Children are excellent at calling adults on their hypocrisy and will be quick to point out that Mommy and Daddy aren’t wearing helmets so why must they (the children)?

When I have children I will set an example by wearing my helmet whenever we’re out and about on our bikes. When I’m going out for a solo ride for exercise they won’t see me leave without the helmet on.

harold burbank on

I never compel my teens to wear helmets, for the reason that NO science supports the notion that they prevent head or brain injuries – NONE. No ski helmet is effective against TBI at over 20 mph – NONE. Helmets are of negligible effect against TBI for impacts under 20 mph. See for the facts.

My kids own and use helmets, but I never make them, and I would not. I skied and raced over 40 years injury free sans helmet – no accident I assure you. I was “lucky” because I skied hard over 50 days/year and really learned to ski. I never skied terrain that exceeded my ability. I was never reckless. I was extremely mindful of other skiers at all times. I have never seen a helmet save anyone from serious injury – ever – just the factors I stated above. About half of US ski fatalities last year were of helmeted skiers.

Helmets do not, as a matter of science or even good common sense, compel the conclusion that they make skiing safer. Alone they do not, and never guarantee anything. Be clear that skiing is a very risky sport. It is also a beautiful sport that does not require a helmet for any reason so long as you follow the rules.
Indeed for me it is a completely different sport with a helmet, which is why I very rarely wear one (some races and in some crowds). I am a brain injury activist and raise many thousands of dollars for TBI victims,and I still would never compel anyone to wear a ski helmet.

mom of 3 boys on

YES! I grew up without wearing a helmet and without wearing a seatbelt, but today, my children do both. My children seem to be the only kids in the neighborhood that do wear a helmet though, but they know that if they don’t wear a helmet, they don’t ride. My husband and I also set examples – we wear a helmet too. Last year as I was towing my 2 year old on my bike, a car hit us – not bad, but we were wearing helmets. Accidents happen daily. I don’t understand why parents can’t make their kids stay safe – including HOW to ride a bike meaning not in the middle of the street and not pulling out in front of cars.

Pencils on

My younger brother died of head injuries from a bicycle accident. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. There is NO reason to skip wearing a helmet, and it is foolish to do so. Period. Don’t put your family through what we suffered.

I hate when I see parents out riding with their children and the kids have helmets on but the parents don’t. What are they teaching their kids? That grownups don’t have to wear helmets. Not only is it foolish, it’s terrible parenting.

Nikki Haynes Owens on

Helmets are necessary! But, you do not have to publish this comment because I was mostly wanting to know the maker of the bike seat attachments that Rider Robinson and Tori Spelling’s little dude are riding in?

Lanna on

Helmets, always.
For us, for the kids (even when they’re in the Chariot Cougar 2 I’m hauling behind my bike).
No helmet, well, we don’t go anywhere. Plus we’re big believers in walking the walk so to speak – why on earth would our kids do something we don’t do? I’ve heard of too many fatalities/permanent injuries from “innocent” accidents like falling of a bike, child and adult. I mean really, think of Natasha Richardson. 😦 Head injuries just aren’t something I’m willing to be blase about, especially with my children.

MIzMolly on

Absolutely while on a bicycle! I was hit by a van while cycling to work. I don’t make them wear a helmet while riding a tricycle though.

Monica on

A bike helmet saved my grandfather’s life. Everyone in my family wears one- adults and children. Non-negotiable.

Hea on

Do people in Holland ignore seat belts in cars too?

noelle on

Yes…. we do… We make a point of risking our lives on a daily basis. Makes us appreciate life just a little more.🙂

Tracy on

Over here (Belgium), more and more children are wearing helmets, but adults don’t.
The reason is that children still fall every now and then, whereas adults generally don’t. A cyclist could get hit by a car, but so can pedestrians and it’s not as if you wear a helmet when walking.
Perhaps, some people could have been saved by a helmet, but in a lot of accidents, a helmet wouldn’t have made a difference.
In the end, the odds of getting a brain injury when cycling are pretty small, and don’t weigh against the disadvantages (I’m talking about adults here. I’d make my kids wear helmets). Bikes are used as a form of transport. What do you do with the helmet when you’re shopping or going to a pub? You can’t put it under the seat as with a motorbike. You have to carry it with you the whole time and that can be a nuisance. Also, I don’t particularly enjoy showing up for a meeting with my hair a mess from wearing a helmet.
While helmets are very uncommon, more and more people are wearing fluorescent jackets at night and those make a world of difference.

Heather on

Absolutely! It’s as easy as “no helmet, no bike or scooter riding.” It’s the law here in California.

Park City Mom on

We live in a mountain resort and it is uncommon to see a child WITHOUT a helmet. Our 4 & 1/2-year-old wears helmets for biking, skiing and ice skating – for her and her cousins, it’s just part of the sport. My husband and I wear helmets skiing (they keep your head much warmer) and on mountain bikes, as well. My uncle’s life was literally saved by a bike helmet more than a decade ago when he was run over by a car while riding home from work. I think they should be required until age 16 on everything with wheels – scooters, bikes, etc. However, we live in a state where they don’t even require helmets on motorcycles (or “donor-cycles,” as my doctor friend calls them), so it’s not likely they’ll pass that type of measure any time soon, which is too bad. Sometimes you have to legislate people who aren’t wise enough to make the best decisions for themselves.

Pencils on

Tracy–the difference between walking and riding a bike is pretty obvious: you go a lot faster on a bike. The human body is designed to deal low-speed impacts, not much faster than you can run. Because, of course, we evolved that way. Every tiny bit faster that you go increases the force of the impact exponentially, and makes the injury more severe.

noelle on

Pencils-it doesn’t make a difference if you’re hit by a car when you’re walking, running or riding a bike. It’s not your own speed that matters, but that of the person hitting you.

ccc on

I`m European – German – and my kids wear always helmets!

The 5-jear old boy tried to refuse it, but this is not a thing I discuss. Either he wears it, then he can drive with the bike, or I will not allow it. The most children here like to bike, and younger children drive a bike without pedals (Laufrad) – how is it called?
My daughter – nearly 2 – really likes her helmet because she wants to have everything like her brother.

Most of the adults her don`t wear helmets, unfortunately. I do wear a helmet because I cennot tell them how dangerous is it without one and don`t wear one by myself.

Aya on

I think you should all wear helmets, not just the kids. Lots of moms don’t like the way they look,so the nix them.

I think it is important to remember that a helmet is pointless if it is not the correct fit/size.

Lilybett on

It’s a legal requirement for everyone to wear helmets (and have lights and reflectors after dusk) in Australia and you can get fined by the police if they see you without one. You’re also not allowed to ride on the footpaths unless you’re accompanying a child under ten. The cycling situation is different town-by-town and city-by-city. I live in a major city and it’s fairly good about having dedicated bike tracks through parklands and cycle lanes on the major roads. Making sure the cars do the right thing is a different story though.

I think it’s like seatbelts… even if there’s no law, why take the risk? Even if there’s very little science, why take the risk? I figure if there’s even the smallest chance it’ll protect me or my children or lessen the impact of a potentially fatal accident, why not?

carrie on

My brother, in his adulthood, was once found lying unconscious in the road — he had somehow fallen off his bike, perhaps a hit and run, but he can’t remember anything so we don’t know. His bike helmet was cracked in half. Had he not been wearing it, it would have been his skull with the crack. He woke and was taken to a hospital; besides the amnesia, he was fine.

At any rate, I don’t like to see this discussion associated with Natasha Richardson’s death. It is a shame that so many are taking a tone of blame when discussing her tragic accident.

Tyd on

It is the law to wear a helmet in Australia (I’m fairly certain it’s true in all states and territories). Doesn’t matter what age you are – if you’re riding a bike you must have a helmet on your head. Motorists are fairly intolerant of cyclists in NSW (where I live) and accidents happen all the time…even when the cyclists are in the bike lanes!

jessie on

growing up i didn’t wear a helmet but when i have kids i’ll make them wear one

Anna on

Yes there are many cars here but because there are so many bicycles n the road the drivers do look out for them. Also the rules are very clear. Coming from the right you have right of way, bicycle and car alike. Also, most streets have a bicycle lane that is marked by a different colour road. And on busier roads this bicycle lane is even separated from the main road.

Lilly on

I think it should be the law to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, skateboard, or standing scooter (self-pedaling), regardless of age. Some people mentioned that is the law in other countries, I wish it would be the law here in the US as well.

I also think that there should be requirement for anyone under the age of 18 to wear a helmet when skiing or snowboarding. It would be great if everyone would wear one regardless of age though.

elizabeth amar on

the chidre AND ADULTS must wear hemets, our heads are fragile too. we love our childrena dndo not want them hurt physically or emotionally: keep their moms and dads safe too!

MiB on

I don’t thing wearing helmet/not wearing a helmet is an american/european thing. It simply depends on where you live and where you bike. I have biked in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France and the Netherlands, and mainly in big cities. I ALWAYS wear a helmet biking in Stockholm since the drivers and pedestrians there just don’t seem to notice bikers, I have been walked in to, had car doors open right in front of me (where I have no chance of breaking in time) and I have been hit by cars. In Copenhagen, Paris and Berlin it depends on if I bike with children or not and where I bike. I always wear a helmet when I bike with children since children learn by example. I have newer worn a helmet in Amsterdam. The reason is, that biking is so common in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, that everyone is aware of the bikers, making the risk for accidents is very, very small (I’d say, this probaby goes for China too). In my experience, the main risk for adults biking in cities are cars and pedestrians, not other bikers. Kids on the other hand don’t have a fully developed neural system, meaning that their coordination and multitasking skills are not ready for all the information that needs to be processed while biking, making single accident’s the No. 1 cause of bike accidents in children. So, to answer the question: I always make kids wear helmets when biking, and wear one too when biking with them.

kathleen on

I am so sick of the arguments “well, when I was young, I never wore a helmet and I’m OK”. Yes, most of us are but there are many people who are not. My neighbor fell off a bike 2 feet off the ground and suffered a major brain injury and is paralyzed on half of his body. And, you know what, we used to do a lot of things when we were younger that we would never do these days because we learn from our mistakes and make better choices. We never wore seatbelts, my mom used to put honey on my binky, I used to walk by myself to school at 7 years old, I used to skate on a partially frozen lake every winter. My dad said that his friends used to drive drunk and when pulled over by a cop, the driver literally fell out of the car and the cop snickered and told them to get home safely. Hey, we all lived right? So, I guess it’s OK to not make your kids wear seatbelts, helmets and I might as well drive them around drunk too. I find it hard to believe that no one gets into bike accidents in Europe. That is incredibly ignorant. I have been to Europe and have witnessed people driving a car with a BABY ON THEIR LAP!!!!! Is that safe??? I don’t think so. I think it may take a while but the European community will eventually catch up to the safety standards of the U.S.

Anna on

Kathleen said: “I used to walk by myself to school at 7 years old, I used to skate on a partially frozen lake every winter” And what was wrong with that? Children should still be doing those things today.

I know around here they do and that doesn’t mean we have to “catch up” to the USA. I don’t want to “catch up” to the USA if that means being afraid of every little thing and not allowing our children any independence or freedom to climb trees, run around the neighbourhood, talk to adults etc. etc.

Jenn on

I’m big on safety and fun!!! Our house rule is helmets and tennis shoes required to ride the bikes. My father is a long distance bike rider and so the helmet rule is nothing new to me. Be safe but have lots of fun!!!!

kathleen on

Anna, what’s wrong with that? A 7 year old doesn’t have the maturity to handle a responsibility like that. I live in a lovely suburban area but drivers run the stop sign by my house all the time. Skating on a partially frozen lake? Do I really need to explain that one? However, I know what you mean. I feel sad that my kids won’t have the kind of childhood that I did where I was free to bike, play explore etc. I feel bad but we don’t live in that kind of world anymore. So, we do things differently, I take them to the park, the pool, let them ride their bike (but I watch them) and I keep an eye on them. I don’t think it’s making your kids neurotic to insist that they wear a simple safety device like a helmet. It teaches them to be responsible for their own safety. Big deal, you put it on, snap it and it’s on. On the rare chance that they take a spill and whack their head the wrong way, I think it’s worth the extra 10 seconds of precaution. I just feel so strongly about things like this, it is just not worth it.

Laney McDonald on

My daughter isn’t old enough to ride a bike yet (not even 2 yet), but I’m definitely making her wear a helmet. I had an accident with my bike just a few days before I graduated High School and I was not wearing a helmet. Luckily I only had scrapes and bruises. Could have been alot worse. I don’t want her to go through the same thing.

I think she’ll probably take her helmet off and then I might have to tell her she can’t ride her bike or she’d be grounded. She is a little daredevil.

Also, I live in Pennsylvania so the law requires any child under 12 (under 21 for a motorcycle) to wear a helmet.

Lanna on

When we go out on the road my siblings (7, 8, 9, & 10) wear them, they don’t even ask to go anywhere without helmets in hand. But if they are just riding their bikes in the front yard, which they often do, they aren’t made to wear them.

Christine on

growing up I always wore a helmet and when i have kids i will make them wear it too. it all about safety and i once saw someone severely injured on a motorcycle and wasn’t wearing a helmet. It seems these days people are wearing less and less helmets at least what I’m seeing and that’s not good.

Silvermouse on

I don’t know about this, depends where. Here in Charleston’s urban area, many people do not wear helmets yet they are all college students and bikes are quite common. We still have cars but bikes are more of a mode of transportation rather than recreation. However, I would let my children younger than 13 wear helmets and try to reinforce it, but after that, it’s up to their own judgement.

Silvermouse on

And I think if one is a parent one should do the same thing as the child. Wear the helmet, unless you’re a reckless teenager or college student.

Silvermouse on

But I agree with Anna also a little bit, when you’re single and don’t have kids, it’s perfectly fine if the city is a bike city with bikes as one of the most used modes of transportation and you are just going to classes🙂

Ashley on

Helmets absolutely protect the brain. They cushion impact. Slam your head, without a helmet, up against a brick wall. Then do so with a helmet on. Let me know which feels better and leaves less of a mark.

Helmets are a must in my household. A good friend of mine is alive only because he was wearing a helmet. He was hit by a car and thrown from his bike. The only thing between his head and the pavement was his HELMET.

Also, Natasha Richardson was skiing correctly. She did NOT have a huge fall nor was it an insane impact. Had it been a massive fall she would haven’t been up and walking around laughing immediately after.
Small falls happen like that all the time. Children AND adults can fall off bikes onto hard surfaces for any number of reasons. It has zip to do with how well you bike/ski/skate. Ask Lance Armstong. He’s a world renowned champion yet he still fell and has fallen off his bike. Rocks happen, cramps happen…lots of things you can’t always anticipate.

To go even further, I don’t buy that it is only a cultural thing. The Tour Dr France is NOT an “American” sport…but a worldwide one…and yet they still require cyclists to wear helmets. Only in certain climbs are the riders allowed to remove their helmets. It is not recommended they do so and they do it at their own risk.

Children are impulsive and inexperienced. They need adults who KNOW to tell them. A helmet does not impede my children from having fun or being children. I enjoy biking and skating. I also enjoy having motorskills and being able think. Therefore, I wear a helmet.


I fell off my bike at 9 years old and the asphalt scraped the enamel off my permanent front teeth, to say nothing of my busted lips, nose and face. I am pretty sure my mom would have preferred a helmet to the bills I racked up. 16 years later San Francisco I wear a helmet everyday. The more I bike, the higher the chance of an accident occurring, especially with the insane drivers, steep hills and tight corners here. It’s not my personal skill and care as a biker I’m questioning, but the cars around me. So many people feel like their cautiousness as a biker is being questioned, which is ridiculous when you note the giant hunks of speeding, distracted metal involved.

As for seat belts, my brother’s best friend was killed when the unbelted driver crashed and flew out the side window, snapping the friend’s neck on the way out. Which is more important: innocent human life, or the freedom of the driver to not buckle up? Ask the parents of the dead teen if you seriously can’t decide.

Holland: enjoy taking your life into your own hands. I appreciate life fully without taking on undue risk, and I don’t appreciate others judging my quality of life based on something as simple as helmet and seat belt use.

rocketwisdom23 on

it’s a good thing when children are wearing helmets to prevent possible biking or skiing accidents. it’s a wake-up call for what happend to natasha richardson. parents must guard those children at all times and don’t let them go away. safety is the number one policy for all.

Laura on

When I was a kid, there was no question about whether I would wear a helmet. My mom left no room for arguing. If I had no helmet, I didn’t go biking. When I was older, she told me that she’d once seen the results of a bike accident. The man hadn’t worn a helmet and his head was smashed. After that, she never rode without a helmet and when I was old enough, she made sure I never did either.

Emma on

Yes, my kids wear helmets when they’re out on their bikes. Accidents DO happen and I would never ever forgive myself if either one was injured (or killed) because of a precaution I had failed to take as a parent. It’s our job after all!!

Emma on

kathleen – interestingly, on the point of european safety being “behind the US” did you know that several child car seat manufacturers (e.g. Britax) are not allowed to sell the models made for, and sold in, the US here because they fail to comply with EU standards! i.e. they are considered too dangerous! We have VERY strict laws on seat belts, car seats etc. and, where I live, I have heard of Police Officers stopping parents who have children with them on bikes, not wearing a helmet, and telling them to either go home & put one on or go out & buy one!

mar on

I live in Holland, and I can’t believe what I see daily. People ride with their children on the front of the bike through busy streets with no helmets. Some of the children are even standing up…it’s crazy don’t they care about their children…the cars and the bikes are inches apart one false move, and bang.

Kewky on

I lived in Italy (I actually just moved back here….) No one in my town wore helmets except ex-pats and professionals. There’s a law for minors but no one follows it. The polizia was supposed to tell everybody under 16 to wear one but…..

I think it’s ironic that people keep saying ‘what really annoys me is when kids wear them and parents don’t’* and then the pics are of parents w/ out helmets.

*yes, what if you and your kid are in an accident and YOU die

TEE on

Only yesterday my son went out with 11 friends to ride bikes….he was the only one with a helmet… I told him that all I could do is worry about him, that he cannot be replaced, and what other parents do is there problem and they will have to live with that……

Parents: Fisrt of all I hear parents say they don’t want to argue with there kid to wear it…. There’s no arguing they wear it or they don’t ride…your the boss. and besides that you are teaching them to break the law…..

My children are the most precious thing in my life and I will do what I have to as a parent to keep them safe and to avoid an accident that could happen to become worse…

The next morning as I was driving to work, I hear on the news of a 9 year old that was hit on his bike by a 16 year old learning to drive with her mother…That little boy didn’t make it and that parent has to live without him and the quilt of what he was not wearing…. I would not want to be in her shoes.

fusedsa on

You guys are ridicules. I think Helmets have done bad they have made people not want to ride a bike. I have never made my 13 year old daughter wear one. Never have I seen her or her friends with a helmet on and they never get hurt. Never has my daughter seen me or my husband wear one. so she doesn’t.

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