Helmet tips for parents & carers

Research shows that wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 60 to 90 per cent.

Of children aged 0-9 years who were fatally or seriously injured, only 42 per cent were wearing helmets (according to police reported crashes between 2004 and 2008).

A bicycle helmet will only protect your child’s head if it is the right size and fitted correctly.

The information below is for parents and carers to help them ensure their children wear a correctly fitted and adjusted helmet.

An accident can happen anywhere, and it only takes an impact with the ground or concrete to sustain a head injury.

Children should always wear a helmet when using tricycles, bicycles, scooters, when travelling as a passenger on an adult's bike, in a bike trailer, or when using any other wheeled item.

It is important to teach your child to take their helmet off when they finish riding and before they move to another activity. The straps on a helmet can get caught on furniture and play equipment if they are still wearing their helmet.

There is a wide range of helmets to choose from. Make sure the helmet:

Complies with the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 2063

Check for the standards sticker on the helmet showing it is safety approved and meets the Australian Standard AS 2063, AS/NZS 2063.

If the helmet is manufactured or imported from 1 July 2012, it must be marked with the symbol of a body accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ)*, certifying compliance with AS2063 or AS/NZS2063.

* accredited companies that certify bike helmets can be found on the JAS-ANZ website.

Fits your child’s head correctly

To select the right size helmet use a tape measure to measure your child’s head in centimetres. Place the tape measure just above your child’s eyes and ears. Select a helmet to fit a head of that size.

Place your hands on top of the helmet and try to move it. It should not be possible to tilt the helmet:

  • forwards to cover the eyes
  • backwards to uncover the forehead
  • sideways to uncover the side of the head.

When the helmet is fastened it should be squarely positioned on the head.

The rim of the helmet should sit on the forehead just above the eyebrows.

The straps should be adjusted so that there is no slack when the buckle is securely fastened under the chin. Ensure straps are not twisted and that the side straps form a V shape with the point just under the ear lobe.

If you see any damage – cracks, pieces missing, compression of the foam, frayed straps – then the helmet should be replaced. Manufacturers also advise that if your helmet has sustained an impact (eg. been in a crash), it should be replaced.

So be careful in how you or your children handle their helmets. Even dropping your helmet may cause unseen damage.

Children learn by watching the important adults in their lives. So make sure you always wear your helmet when you ride and make sure it is fitted and adjusted to fit your head correctly.

Talking with your child about bicycle helmets will encourage reflection and learning about the importance of helmet wearing. Try these conversation starters.

  • Why do we wear a helmet?
  • When should we wear a helmet?
  • Who wears a helmet or other clothing or equipment to help make them safe at work or play? (e.g. fire fighters, cricket players, builders)
  • How old do you have to be to wear a helmet?
  • What do you do with your helmet when you have finished using your bike, tricycle or scooter?
  • Why is it important to take it off and put it away when you have finished riding?
  • How could a helmet become damaged?

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