Holiday gift guide: Don't forget the helmet

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With visions of a new bicycle dancing in their heads, children often imagine getting their new set of wheels and taking off on their next big adventure right away. But, smart parents will want to make sure to include one other thing with that new bike, scooter, skateboard, skis or snowboard. A helmet.

Dr. Jasjot Johar is an emergency room physician at Banner McKee Medical Center. He says, just like we would include batteries with the latest and greatest electronic toy, it should be automatic to include a well-fitting bike helmet with any wheeled toy.

“Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way to reduce bicycle-related deaths and accidents,” Dr. Johar said. “Studies have shown that children and adults who wear a bike helmet are also much more likely to make other safe choices and avoid accidents entirely.”

Additionally, Dr. Johar mentions data collected from Helmets.org that 97% of people killed in bicycle accidents in 1994 were not wearing a helmet. In 2016, of the people not wearing a helmet, 51% died. Also, children who wear a helmet see 75% fewer serious non-head injuries. Good enough reason to wear a helmet, right?

Most importantly, make sure the helmet fits correctly—no matter what the activity is.

Check out this guide for proper bicycle helmet fitting.

Read more about helmets and skiing safety.

Most reputable stores who sell the equipment for your intended activity can help you find a helmet that fits properly. If you’re going to get a helmet of a child, take them for a proper fitting before gifting the bike or other wheeled toy. That way, you’ll know if you are getting the correct size.

The final piece of advice from Dr. Johar is something all parents should listen to:

“One of the greatest influences on whether or not your child will wear their helmet is whether their parents also wear a helmet while participating. Lead by example,” Dr. Johar said.

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