Helmet Safety for Kids…and All Mountain Mamas

One of the many reasons my kids wear helmets.
One of the many reasons my kids wear helmets.

I love the week after Christmas, when I can regroup and begin to get organized for the new year ahead. 2014 looks to be pretty exciting for Adventure Travel Mom, and I’m getting a jump start on the fun with the launch of Ski Vermont’s All Mountain Mamas blog this week. As a native Vermonter, I’ve skied here in the Green Mountains all my life, and am now raising my boys to love the mountains as much as I do (maybe even a little more).  So I was super excited when the folks at Ski Vermont asked if I’d be part of a group of family travel bloggers writing first hand about skiing and riding at Vermont’s resorts with kids.

I’ll be sharing some posts here on my blog, and also on Vermont Mountain Moms, to which I contribute. Vermont Mountain Moms is run by two of my favorite bloggers and is all about sharing a local’s perspective on family life in Vermont’s mountains towns. I’m really excited about the synergy between All Mountain Mamas and Vermont Mountain Moms, as I think they fill an important void for families planning a ski trip to Vermont.

For my first post on All Mountain Mamas, I spoke with two of Vermont’s leading experts on helmet safety for kids– Dr. Bryan Huber of Mansfield Orthopaedics (who is also dad to a ripping little snowboarder), and David Connery, an engineer for Burton’s Anon brand helmets. Both of them had some really great advice, which you can read in full here. We’ve always insisted on helmets for the boys, but after talking with David and Dr. Huber I’m more resolved than ever before to make sure there are no exceptions. A few things I learned:

  • A helmet is designed to take one good impact. After that, it’s effectiveness is compromised and there is a marked increase in risk of concussion. Replacing your child’s helmet every 2-3 years is probably a good idea, and never buy a used helmet.
  • “When in doubt, sit them out.” Dr. Huber drilled this into my head during our conversation. If your child falls hard enough to cry, seems even slightly dazed, or complains of a headache, take them off the hill for the day. The risk of injury from a second fall is so much greater– not only has the helmet probably been compromised, but the brain may already be bruised and will be more susceptible to serious concussion.
  • When buying a helmet, look for a sticker labeled ASTM-F2040, which assures you that the helmet meets national safety standards. You also want to make sure the helmet fits snugly on your child’s head without the chin strap fastened (they should be able to shake their head “yes” and “no” without much wiggle.”).

There is a lot more info in the full post, with additional suggestions for choosing a good helmet and what to do if you suspect your child has a concussion.

I know I threw around a lot of the word “Vermont” and variations on the word “Mom” in this post– I guess those are two pretty key terms in my blogging life right now. But don’t worry, I have some fun and adventurous trips planned to other parts of the world in 2014 too. Happy New Year!

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