Helmet Safety

Encouraging Helmet Use
Helmets provide the best protection against injury when riding a bike or scooter. Wearing a helmet can prevent about 85 percent of head injuries when there is a crash, but a helmet will only protect when it fits well. Through the Injury Prevention Center, we teach the importance of wearing a helmet and how to adjust it to fit properly. kid helmet

Bike helmets are also distributed at community events to encourage both children and adults to protect their heads. Parents/guardians are also instructed on how to fit the helmet to ensure effective protection.

Fitting a Helmet:
Helmets come with fit pads to help ensure a proper fit. Use the pads where there is space at the front, back and/or sides of the helmet to get a snug fit. Move pads around to touch head evenly all the way around. 

Checking the Fit:

  1. With one hand, gently lift the front of the helmet up and back. The helmet should not move up and back to reveal the forehead. If it does, tighten the strap in front of the ear.
  2. Now lift the back of the helmet up and forward from the back. Can you move the helmet more than an inch? If so, tighten the back strap. If you can move the helmet from side to side, add thicker pads at the side.
  3. When done, the helmet should be comfortable and feel level and solid on your head. If it doesn’t fit, keep working with the fit pads and straps or try another type of helmet.

Use this easy 3-point check as a quick way to test for a proper helmet fit:

  1. Eyes: Helmet sits level on head and rests low on forehead, 1 to 2 finger widths above eyebrow. You should be able to see the very edge of helmet when you look up past your eyebrows. A helmet pushed up too high will not protect your face or head well in a fall or crash.
  2. Ears: The straps are even and form a “Y” under the earlobe and are snug against the head.
  3. Mouth: The buckled chin strap is loose enough so that you can breathe. There should be enough room so you can insert a finger between the buckle and chin, but tight enough that if you open your mouth, you can feel the helmet pull down on top.

Watch this video to ensure a proper fit:

Choosing a Helmet:

  • Look for a CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) sticker inside the helmet.
  • Helmet costs vary, but expensive helmets are not always better. Choose one that you like and will wear.
  • Check used or hand-me-down helmets with care and never wear a helmet that is cracked, broken or has been in a crash.
  • To encourage your child to wear a helmet, start the helmet habit early and wear one yourself.

Safety Tips:

  1. Take helmet off before playing on the playground or climbing on equipment or trees. The straps can get caught on poles or branches and cause a choking hazard.
  2. Leave long hair loose or tie it back at the base of the neck. A ponytail tied high up on the head can interfere with proper helmet fit.
  3. Bike helmets can be worn with inline roller skates or scooters, but for skateboarding or
  4. snow-boarding, use a helmet made specifically for those sports.
  5. For extreme skating/skateboarding, wear a multi-impact helmet with an ASTM F1492 sticker.
  6. Helmets are good only for one crash. Replace the helmet after a crash!

For information about any of our helmet safety events please contact us at injuryprevention@umassmemorial.org.