Protect yourself, wear a helmet

  • Published
  • By Regina Coffey
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Ground Safety Office
What do bicycling, horseback riding, baseball and in-line skating all have in common? Helmets! The trick is that different sports require a different type of helmet to help protect participants from the different types of head injuries common to that particular sport. 

Not all helmets are created equal. Beyond picking the right helmet for the sport, buyers should look inside for information on standards the helmet complies with. Bicycle helmets, for example, should carry a Consumer Protect Safety Commission, Snell, American Society for Testing Materials, and American National Standard Institute Information sticker or label. 

Fit is key 

A loose helmet cannot protect the head as well as one that is properly fit. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute suggests buying a brand and size that fits well prior to adjustments. Use adjustable straps or sizing pads to ensure a snug fit. Select a helmet that fits you or your child. 

Helmets save lives 

According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, a helmet advocacy group of the Washington, D.C. area Bicyclist Association, a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head and brain injuries by 85 percent.

Head injuries cause three-quarters of about 900 bicycle deaths each year according to the institute. 

Another 82,000 people suffer brain injuries each year while playing sports such as baseball or football according to the Brain Injury Association in Alexandria, Va. 

Both children and adults should wear the appropriate helmet when participating in any recreational sports where head injuries are a risk.