Monday, April 21, 2008

Protect Your Head

Warm weather seems like it is finally here to stay, and with that comes outdoor activities that you can now enjoy on a much more frequent basis. It is the perfect time of year for one of my favorite activities, bike riding. This means that it is also a good time for a reminder about wearing a bike helmet. Wearing a bike helmet can reduce injury by up to 88%, and reduces injury to the face by 65%. You should have no excuse not to wear one.

While wearing a bike helmet seems like an easy way to prevent serious injury, only about 38% of adult bike riders and 50% of kids under the age of 16 regularly wear a helmet. Common excuses that kids give are that they do not feel cool wearing one, their friends are not wearing one, or their parents are not good role models. If you have a child who rides a bike they should have a helmet on at all times. Parents who ride bikes should set a good example by always wearing a helmet themselves.

If you are not a parent but you ride a bike, you should never leave your driveway without a helmet. Bike helmets now weigh about half a pound and have plenty of openings to allow air to circulate through, which means they are more comfortable than ever. Some riders use the excuse that they will not be riding on busy streets, thus do not need a helmet. However, cars are involved in only about 10% of bike-related injuries

There are not many good excuses for riding without a helmet. Even those concerned about the cost should not be because you can typically buy a helmet for around $20. That is a small price to pay to protect your health.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you plan to buy a new helmet. First, helmets must fit snugly. Next, the helmet should be level. Make sure it is not tilted forward or backward on your head. It should sit low on your forehead with the front of it just above your eyebrows. The chin strap should be tight enough to allow only two fingers underneath when it is snapped. Test it out by moving it around your head, from front to back and side to side. If the fit is comfortable and the skin moves with the helmet, you have a proper fit.

Most stores will allow you to try on various helmets and a sales person can help you make sure that you choose the right one. Keep in mind that buying and wearing a helmet is an easy step to possibly saving your life.

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