6 Bicycle Helmet Buying Tips
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6 Bicycle Helmet Buying Tips

What you need to know to keep your child safe.

'Tis the season of kids on bikes...and more bike accidents. You can reduce your kids' risk of head injury by 85 percent simply by making sure they're wearing the right helmets. Here's how.

  • Let your child select his own "crash cap." Kids are more likely to wear helmets they pick themselves.
  • Check for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission safety sticker. A $10 helmet is as safe as a $90 model as long as it has this seal of approval.
  • Make sure the helmet fits properly. If the helmet wobbles when your child shakes his head up and down and side to side, it's too loose.
  • Do not buy a helmet with room to grow. With its foam inserts in place, the helmet should fit snugly. Thinner pads can be swapped in as your child's head grows.
  • Adjust the helmet for proper fit. Place the Y straps just below your child's ears and buckle them. Tell him to open his mouth: If the strap under his chin is loose, tighten it.
  • Replace the helmet after a crash. After impact, helmets no longer offer adequate protection.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, May 2005.