Five years ago when I established my business, Tail Wags Helmet Covers, I made it my goal to encourage more kids and adults to wear their safety helmets. I’m delighted to report helmet use amongst children has risen significantly in the past few years due to public education and mandatory helmet laws but helmet use amongst teens and adults is still low.
I will never understand why adults would ride a bike, ski or drive a motorcycle with out a safety helmet. You would think they’d know better. These adults are often the same parents who insist their children wear a safety helmet but don’t role model the behaviour themselves! But teenagers are still the toughest crowd to convince to wear a safety helmet. Researchers have concluded the primary reasons teens don’t wear helmets are:
• They don’t own a helmet.
• Helmets are uncomfortable.
• Teens are concerned about what their peers will think.
• They don’t perceive some sports as dangerous.
• They think it won’t happen to them.
Are you the parent of a teenager and is it a battle to get them to wear a safety helmet while biking, skateboarding, skiing or snowboarding? I wish I had a magic solution for this age group … but I don’t! But I can offer the following recommendations:
• Make sure they own a safety helmet that fits properly – preferably one they’ve chosen.
• Visit a traumatic injury unit at your local hospital. Both of my sons went on a school trip to a traumatic injury clinic and that visit left a lasting impression.
• Make sure your kids understand the facts, for example:
1. Every 15 seconds in the USA a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs.
2. Brain injury is the #1 killer and disabler of people under 45 years of age.
3. Brain injuries occur more frequently than breast cancer or AIDS.
4. One out of every fifty Americans currently lives with disabilities from TBI.
5. There’s an association between head injury and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
If that still doesn’t work, encourage your teenagers to watch the following 4-minute video about a young man who suffered a head injury while snowboarding. He’s recovering but it’s a long and slow process.