Should My Kid Wear a Helmet While Riding a Scooter?

TLDR: Yes. Of course. If you love them they should wear a helmet. Frankly, they should wear one even if you don’t love them.

Helmets aren’t a decoration. Helmets are a utility item. Moreover, helmets, like tissues, are designed for destruction. Helmets are made to deflect small impacts and work like a crumple zone for big impacts. If one bumps one’s head as one would walking through a low doorway, the helmet will absorb the impact and remain intact.

If one takes a hard fall, as one would off of a kick scooter or a bicycle, the helmet is designed to absorb the shock to the point it breaks, but that shattering of the helmet isn’t a failure to function. When a helmet breaks, it is doing its job. It is absorbing the energy that would otherwise go into the helmet wearer’s head, sacrificing itself so the skull of the helmet wearer does not shatter.

Proper Size & Fit

Of course, in order for a helmet to do its job properly it has to fit properly and be correctly worn. Many people, adults and children, wear helmets incorrectly. If for example the helmet does not cover part of one’s head, it does not protect it. Many people wear helmets with their whole foreheads exposed. This means that should one fall forward, one could sustain brain damage to the part of the brain that controls conscious thought. Not a good look.

Similarly, if the helmet is just loose it can move around on the head and, when an impact occurs, it will not correctly shield the wearer’s skull from impact because it isn’t seated in the way in which it was designed to fit. If a side of a helmet is designed to make full contact with the wearer’s head in order to disperse impact, then if it isn’t making full contact, the kinetic energy is focused through a smaller portion of the skull at a greater pounds-per-square-inch. Think of it this way: if you have a plate of surgical steel and press it flat against a balloon, nothing happens. If you form a pin out of that steel and press it into a balloon, the balloon will pop. This is what an improperly worn helmet can do to your head when you fall.

Accidents Happen

Many adults erroneously believe they needn’t wear helmets because their experience of the need for helmets comes from childhood when wearing one protects one from oneself. Children have to wear helmets when they ride a kick scooter or skates or a bicycle because their lack of coordination and skill can lead to falling to the ground, an event in which wearing a helmet is valuable. Some adults think that since they can be safe, they don’t need any safety equipment, ignoring that other people might not be safe; someone could open a car door in front of an adult on a kick scooter or bicycle, causing an impact.

What is important to keep in mind is that these risks also exist for kids. Sure, it’s more likely a kid on a kick scooter is likely to fall in a playground because their balance isn’t there yet, but they could fall down because someone riding a bicycle doesn’t see them, or someone in a car doesn’t look before pulling into your driveway, etc.

If you want your child to be safe, make them wear a helmet. Check that they are wearing it properly. It should be secure, and not wiggle around. That child will grow and change so, over time, the helmet’s fit will change and you will have to adjust the straps. Eventually, you’ll have to replace it. Helmets have a shelf life of about three years, so you should replace them anyway. As long as you’re concerned with the safety of your child, you should consider getting them a kick scooter that doesn’t fold (so it won’t fold up by accident) is made of reinforced materials and fits their size. Having a soft rubber nose on the front of the scooter doesn’t hurt either. For kids aged two to five, the GOMO Kids Scooter is perfect. As for helmets, get one that fits your child’s head, and while you’re at it, get one that fits you too.

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