Kids are often spontaneous. They like to go, go, go without giving too much thought to finer details like safety. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your kids are equipped for safety in everything they do, and insisting they wear a helmet fits well within a parent’s job description.
Wearing a helmet isn’t just important for protection against falls. It’s also helpful in protecting your children against threats beyond their control, like reckless drivers, who can pose an issue even in some suburban neighborhoods.
Almost one-third of all bicycle injuries are caused by collisions involving reckless drivers. According to Henrico reckless driving attorneys, “Speeding and driver distraction are the biggest contributors to reckless driving incidents.”
Although you can’t predict the actions of drivers in your neighborhood or be there every time your children take a spill, you can insist that your children wear their helmets for safety.
Here are five helpful ways to get your kids to wear a helmet without a struggle:
1. Commit to Wearing a Helmet Yourself
If you want your children to get on board with wearing helmets, then you need to be ready to wear one also — even if you’re not a fan of helmet hair. In fact, everyone in the family who participates in outdoor activities should be willing to wear a helmet.
If this means that you all have to jump in the car and go shopping for helmets, then do it. A positive attitude and a willingness to do the very thing you’re asking your children to do will go a long way in getting them to cooperate without a struggle.
2. Explain Why Wearing a Helmet Is Important
Depending on your children’s age, you might want to have a serious conversation about real-life injuries that have happened to children who weren’t wearing a helmet. Real-life accounts can really make a solid impression on your children. If your kids are able to understand the dangers of not wearing a helmet, they will be more likely to want to wear a helmet.
If you don’t want to use real-life examples, you can explain that a head injury can cause damage to the brain, which is the command center for just about every system in the body. You can also point out professional athletes or race car drivers who wear helmets for safety.
3. Take the Time to Get the Right Fit
Kids might be reluctant to wear a helmet because it doesn’t feel comfortable. So take the time to find one that fits your child well.
Forget about picking up a used helmet at a garage sale or thrift store. Unfortunately, the helmet might have been damaged in a crash, which would compromise its safety.
Instead, look at new helmets that have a seal of approval from organizations like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Help your kids try on a few different helmets to ensure the right fit. The right fit means that the helmet should be level when your child is wearing it. It should fit low, not high, on the forehead.
Make sure to adjust the chin strap to see if it’s snug enough as well. You should only be able to place two of your fingers in between the chinstrap and your child’s chin for proper fit. Have your child walk with helmet and move his head up and down and side to side to ensure that the helmet stays in place and doesn’t slip down.
4. Allow Your Children to Choose the Helmets They Like
Although you might not be too excited about your children wearing neon-colored helmets with rubber spikes sticking out of the top, don’t sweat it. As long as the helmets meet safety standards and they fit correctly, that’s all that really matters. If your children like the way their helmets look, they’ll be more likely to look forward to wearing them.
If your children can’t find a helmet they really like when you go shopping, suggest that they choose one in a favorite color and then offer to help them figure out ways to personalize it with stickers, decals or paint.
5. Make it Easy for Your Children to Make Helmet-Wearing a Habit
Designate an area to hang or store helmets that’s close to your children’s bikes or other sporting equipment. Emphasize the importance of always returning helmets to their hangers or storage spot so that they can be found easily.
When your children ask to ride their bikes or scooters, remind them to wear their helmets for safety. Also, when you participate in bike riding or other activities, always make a show of getting your helmet and wearing it so that you set a good example for your children.