1. How do I properly fit a helmet for my child? How do I know what helmet to use?
Follow the “2v1″ rule to ensure the helmet fits properly: The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should rest about two fingers’ width above the eyebrows. The side straps should fit snugly around your child’s ears in a “V”shape. The buckles on the side strap should fit right under the ear. Buckle the chin strap. Tighten it until you can fit only one finger between the strap and the chin.
Helmets come in a variety of sizes. There are special helmets for toddlers (under age five) that provide more protection at the back of the head. Some children may outgrow the “toddler” size helmet before age five and should use a bigger helmet. Helmets come with extra padding that can be added to the inside of the helmet. Your child may need extra padding at the front or the back of the helmet so that it fits correctly.
Bike helmets can be used for inline skating and scooter riding, but skateboarding requires it’s own type of helmet. Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head and will protect against more than one crash. Because falls are common in skateboarding, these helmets are made of material that is specially designed to withstand multiple impacts on the same spot.
Multi-sport Helmets: These helmets meet safety standards for more than one activity. Be sure the multi-sport helmet shows clearly what activity it has been tested for. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer.
2. What types of injuries do children incur while cycling?
The most common injury is a broken bone. The most serious injuries are those involving the head and brain. Even seemingly minor head injuries may cause permanent brain damage.
A properly fitted helmet helps protect your child’s brain in a crash or fall. A head injury can permanently change the way a child walks, talks, plays and thinks. The human skull is just one centimetre thick. A properly fitted and correctly worn bike helmet can cut the risk of serious head injury by up to 80 per cent.
3. What puts young children at risk for injuries on playgrounds?
- Young children under five years of age are often hurt because they are still developing their balancing and climbing skills, which puts them at higher risk for falls.
- They are more top heavy, so more likely to lose their balance and fall.
- Young children cannot yet understand risks and dangers.
- They need close adult supervision and playgrounds made for their smaller size and stage of development to help prevent them from getting hurt.
4.What is a concussion?
A concussion is a common form of head and brain injury, and can be caused by a direct or indirect hit to the head or body (for example, a car crash, fall or sport injury). This causes a change in brain function, which results in a variety of symptoms. With a concussion there is no visible injury to the structure of the brain, meaning that tests like MRI or CT scans usually appear normal.
When a person suffers a concussion, the brain suddenly shifts or shakes inside the skull and can knock against the skull’s bony surface. A hard hit to the body can result in an acceleration-deceleration injury when the brain brushes against bony protuberances inside the skull. Such forces can also result in a rotational injury in which the brain twists, potentially causing shearing of the brain nerve fibres. It is not yet known exactly what happens to brain cells in a concussion, but the mechanism appears to involve a change in chemical function.
5. If I suspect a concussion has occurred, who do I tell?
It is important to seek medical advice immediately after a high impact hit to the head or body. Often, concussions can go untreated (and even unnoticed by others) because symptoms are often invisible to casual observers. Many times, the symptoms of a concussion may not be identified until the person recovers to the point where increased exertion causes symptoms to worsen. Although symptoms may not be immediately apparent, it is important to be aware of possible physical, cognitive and emotional changes. Symptoms may actually worsen throughout the day of the injury or even the next day. Without proper management, a concussion can result in permanent problems and seriously affect one’s quality of life.
Because a concussion affects the function of the brain, and can result in symptoms such as memory loss or amnesia, it is important that others be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussions in order to help identify the injury in others. Individuals should be removed immediately from the current activity (including sports, work and school), should not drive and seek medical attention immediately.
6. What is the difference between a lifejacket and a PFD?
A lifejacket holds the person wearing it upright. It can turn the person over from face-down to face-up. A personal flotation device will keep a person floating, but not necessarily face-up. A PFD is lighter and less bulky than a lifejacket. PFDs keep people warmer in the water because the foam in the vest is evenly distributed around the body.
You can choose either a lifejacket or a PFD for your child, as long as it is designed for children. Remember: even if your child is wearing a lifejacket or PFD, you must actively supervise her when she is in or near the water. Make sure your child’s lifejacket fits properly. Inflatable toys like water wings and blow-up rings are not safety devices.