Just Put On the Helmet
“It feels tight. It feels heavy. I don’t need it!” For a quick, split second I considered just taking his helmet. Thankfully, I stuck to my guns and refused his request.
A parenting decision that could have gone either way.
My family and I were on the Blackstone Valley bike path last summer. My then 7-year-old son took turns complaining about being tired and about wearing a helmet. He and I took a break, and he spent a minute or two begging to take off his helmet.
“It feels tight. It feels heavy. I don’t need it!” For a quick, split second I considered just taking his helmet. I couldn’t take the whining any more. Besides, we were only two minutes from the car. Thankfully, I stuck to my guns and refused his request. One minute later he was cruising down a slight decline, lost control of his bike and rammed headfirst into a cement wall.
You already can imagine how it could have easily gone the other way.
Before this incident, I made them wear their helmets…for the most part. I’ll admit sometimes I got lazy. I used to grit my teeth at the pediatrician well visits when our doctor would ask my son or daughter, “What do you wear when you go for a bike ride?”
“Please, please say helmet,” I’d silently prod my kids. Now, I don’t grit my teeth. They wear a helmet or they’re off the bike.
Studies indicate that wearing a helmet reduced head injuries and death in bicycle and in-line skating accidents by at least 75 percent. A child only needs to fall a distance of two feet to incur a brain injury. A bicycle helmet can take the impact of a fall and reduce injury to the brain and skull significantly.
Bottom line: To avoid serious injury, your child should wear a helmet all the time. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics says the majority of bike crashes happen near home.
How do you get a child to wear a helmet?
Adults should wear them too. Be a good role model.
No helmet equals no bike riding. Establish the habit early on.
Talk to your child about bike safety. A bike is not a toy — it’s more of a vehicle, and needs to be handled as such.