Buckle up: Three easy steps for finding the right bike helmet

The longer days of spring mean more time to enjoy being outdoors and bike riding. Bicycling is a great activity for every member of the family and the most important piece of equipment is a helmet.

Today, there are a variety of styles and colors to choose from, but no matter which one you like best, make sure it has the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sticker inside. This label lets you know that your helmet meets safety standards and provides protection when used properly.

Wearing a properly fitted helmet every time you ride your bike reduces the chance of a traumatic head injury by 88 percent. You can fit your helmet in three easy steps:

  • First, make sure it is the right size – your helmet should fit snuggly and not rock back and forth or side to side. If it does, try a smaller size.
  • Once you have the right size, make it level on your head so only one or two fingers fit between your eyebrow and the top of the helmet.
  • Next, adjust the side straps so that they form a V under each ear. Buckle the helmet and pull on the chin strap until it is snug under the chin. You should be able to place two fingers comfortably under the strap beneath your chin. Make sure to buckle your strap every time you wear your helmet.

Oregon law states that children under the age of 16 must wear a helmet when on a bike, scooter, roller skates or skateboard. Doernbecher’s Tom Sargent Safety Center reminds families that everyone should wear a helmet. Be a role model for your child – they learn best from watching you and if they see you wearing your helmet they will be more likely to wear theirs, too.

Children can begin wearing a helmet at one year or with the approval of their primary care provider. Having a child wear a helmet the first time they are transported in a carrier or get on their tricycle establishes an early helmet habit.

It is recommended that bike helmets be replaced every five years or when in an accident. The Doernbecher Tom Sargent Safety Center offers low-cost helmets from Toddler to Adult XL and for community groups, too. Everyone – children and adults – should always wear a helmet when riding a bike.

Be a ROLL MODEL and wear your bike helmet!

Marianne Bridwell-Chapman
Program Coordinator
OHSU Doernbecher Tom Sargent Children’s Safety Center