34 answers

Children Wearing Protective Gear

I don't force my kids (7, 5, 4) to wear protective gear when they are riding their bikes, scooters, etc in front of our home. I encourage them but don't force it. I think I will force the issue when we start going on family bike rides or rollerblading outside of our front yard because of potential rocks, twigs, & unfamiliar territory. How do you guys feel about kids wearing protective gear?

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So What Happened?™

@ Denise P; not sure why you think I would break the law

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Accidents can happen anywhere. I let my son go rollerskating right in front of the house when he was 11. He wore knee pads, but no wrist protectors. Less than 10 minutes after starting, he fell backwards and broke his wrist. He spent the first 6 weeks of summer vacation in a cast. No swimming, no water park, no beach. Need I say more?

6 moms found this helpful

I enforce wearing a helmet, even close to the house. There's nothing to stop my child from losing control of her bike and ending up in the street in front of an oncoming car.

I knew a guy in college (avid bike rider) who was hit by a bus and the wheel of the bus ran OVER his head. The only thing that saved his life was his helmet. I never wore a helmet prior to that, now I do.

4 moms found this helpful

Helmets always. No helmet, no bike. They even wear them when they're in the seats on the back of my bike.

3 moms found this helpful

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Having had an ex-husband who had to have emergency brain surgery because he didn't wear a helmet; suffice it to say, I'm all for safety gear.

In fact, as a nanny and a mom, my rule is simply "No Helmet, No Wheels".

My sister has been in two bike accidents. My best friend has been in one which involved a lawsuit so she could get compensation for injuries. A dear friend has a story in which he went biking and woke up in the hospital. The doctor showed him his broken helmet. It had saved his life. It's all about creating good habits now.

I have to add, after reading several other posts: I understand that our parents did plenty of cockamamie stuff with us when we were kids. However, the logic of "I did it and I was fine" doesn't fly for me. Of course you were fine;--you are alive! Those who died won't be posting to the contrary, for obvious reasons. Just a thought.

8 moms found this helpful

Helmets are huge. My friend's godson was riding his bike to school many years ago, somehow flew off his bike and landed on his head on the pavement, killing him. As she always tells me, and I tell my kids, "Is the concrete sidewalk any less hard than the concrete street?" I know it seems like a fluke, but you can never go back and say, "I should have...."

Definitely protect the head!

6 moms found this helpful

Accidents can happen anywhere. I let my son go rollerskating right in front of the house when he was 11. He wore knee pads, but no wrist protectors. Less than 10 minutes after starting, he fell backwards and broke his wrist. He spent the first 6 weeks of summer vacation in a cast. No swimming, no water park, no beach. Need I say more?

6 moms found this helpful

I have an adult acquaintance whose life was saved by his bike helmet. He wasn't speeding, didn't have an encounter with a car, is a very experienced rider, etc. He just hit what was probably a very small piece of gravel on a smooth, flat bike trail. He went down, slid and his head hit a metal light pole, hard. The doctors said he likely would have been killed or seriously injured by his head hitting the pole, if he hadn't had on his helmet.

You cannot predict what could happen any time, anywhere, even on a smooth sidewalk iin front of your own familiar house. If that little head hits the concrete without any protection, you can't predict it will be "just a bump."

As for an accident where "the one NOT wearing his seatbelt had minor injurires," tell that to the parents of the three high school and college kids around here who all died in a recent car wreck who all died. None wore a seat belt. The driver, who did wear his belt, is alive. "And FYI this happens often" that people are killed by seat belts, you add. What police agency or statistical agency says that, how often does it happen, where, to what groups of drivers and passengers? Or is it something heard somewhere sometime?

I'd love to see the statistics on that, compared to stats on lives saved by seat belts.

6 moms found this helpful

I agree, it's like not wearing a seatbelt when riding in a car. Most likely, nothing will happen, but it's better to err on the side of caution. You never think anything will happen to your kid, until it does, and then you'll be wishing you would've pushed the issue. I think it's unfortunate that parents are more worried about their kids being mad at them or being cool, than keeping their kids safe. Trying to enforce something you've been lackadaisical about when your kids are older is harder than teaching them the right thing to do when they're young.

5 moms found this helpful

I think it's a good Habit to form early. They can just as easily (perhaps more so) fly over the handle bars, or hit a rock with the scooter in front ofthe house as on a trail or in front of somebody else's house. Children's head are disproportionately large and when they fall, the lead with them. A traumatic head injury will be life altering. They'd be lucky to end up functional with a seizure disorder were they to suffer one. A helmet is such an easy thing to put on and wear, why not just do it?

5 moms found this helpful

It's true that our perceptions have changed. I certainly never wore a helmet as a child. But I make my son wear one, even though his two best buddies on the block never do. It's a one in a thousand chance, but why be that one in a thousand? A friend of mine had a niece who always wore a helmet, but once, when she was ten, she didn't because she was just peddling halfway down the block, slowly. She hit a bump, fell, hit her head the wrong way, and died two days later. Imagine what the father who didn't make her put her helmet on had to live with. I don't bother with the knee pads, etc, because skinned knees are part of childhood. It's the life-threatening head injuries I'm most worried about.

5 moms found this helpful

My kids don't ride if they don't have a helmet on. Period. They can hit a bump in the sidewalk in front of your house just as easily as the bike trail. It's such a simple thing to do to safeguard your kids, why risk it? Make it non-negotiable.

5 moms found this helpful

I don't really care about knee pads, elbow pads, etc, but helmets are a must. To me, it's like wearing a seat belt when riding in a car - why on earth wouldn't you choose to protect your kids from head injury? Just because they're close to home doesn't mean they can't give themselves a nasty concussion falling off a bike. My cousin was 15 when he sustained a massive concussion and brain bleed (along with 2 broken femurs) because a teenager driving a car swerved and hit him while he was on rollerblades. It was a miracle that he lived. He was right in front of his house when it happened. Why take a chance like that with your precious kids? Make them wear helmets.

5 moms found this helpful

My 7-yr old always wears a helmet even if he's going to the neighbor's house down the street on his bike. No pads or anything else, though. And I just bought a helmet for my not-yet-2-yr old for use while in the bike trailer or on her tricycle. Knowing how many lives have been saved or real injuries prevent by the use of helmets, I have no problem enforcing their use each and every time.

Did we all survive childhood without helmets? Obviously. But how many other kids didn't or were seriously hurt? We were LUCKY we didn't get hurt! Every time we got on our bikes without a helmet (granted, helmets weren't really available at the time either), we were taking a chance that I'm not willing to take with my kids. And I'm bothered by how many parents I see that have the "it won't happen to us" attitude when it comes to children's bike safety.

My SIL and BIL are avid cyclists and are adamant about helmet use. They've been in and seen enough seemingly harmless crashes that could have been far worse without a helmet. My BIL hit a small bump, flipped over his handlebars and landed on his head, cracking his helmet because all his weight was on his head. He got a concussion out of it, but think if he hadn't been wearing a helmet! At the time, he was going uphill, so his speed was VERY slow and the fall still did that much damage because he hit the bump in just the right way to make him fall in such a crazy way.

Let's not take chances like that with our children's lives. We all follow the rules for carseats and seatbelts because of the inherent dangers if we didn't--why are bikes any different? Bike falls are a more prevalent cause of childhood injury--any fall can be dangerous if they land the wrong way. That doesn't mean we should be keeping our kids in a padded room, but I think a helmet is a small price to pay to help ensure our kids make it safely to see tomorrow.

4 moms found this helpful

I think helmets are very important. Other gear depends on the activity. I bought a bunch of pads when I got rollerblades many years ago and then never needed them. I wore them at first but rarely fell (I learned or regular skates as a kid with no pads). The one time I hurt my knee it was from twisting and I was wearing knee pads and they did nothing.

4 moms found this helpful

From the first time we put our son in the bike carrier behind our bikes, he wore a helmet. Now that he's three, and lots of things are battles, he doesn't even think twice about complaining about the helmet on his tricycle and scoot bike. I think it helps that mommy and daddy always wear their helmets too. (I went over the handle bars of my bike a few years ago...I was badly bruised, but no head injury.) It's a family rule...the car doesn't start until everyone is properly buckled up, and we all wear our gear on our bikes!

4 moms found this helpful

i love the mantra, "no helmet, no wheels." and yes, even around the house. if you make it the plain and simple rule, they will wear it as naturally as they wear clothes and then not fight you on the day you make them wear it for a longer ride.

4 moms found this helpful

I enforce wearing a helmet, even close to the house. There's nothing to stop my child from losing control of her bike and ending up in the street in front of an oncoming car.

I knew a guy in college (avid bike rider) who was hit by a bus and the wheel of the bus ran OVER his head. The only thing that saved his life was his helmet. I never wore a helmet prior to that, now I do.

4 moms found this helpful

Helmet is a must at our home. I believe in starting them young on this so that it won't be a struggle later. Helmets are clunky and they take time to put on so kids tend to grumble about it...but if you start young and explain reasons for them then it is easier in the long run. Target has some really cool and unique animal helmets that my kids are begging for but we have a gazillion helmets already so I can' justify that investment...but hey...they want them.

I only force the helmets...no knee pads or other pads. For me broken bones mend...a broken skull is another thing. Our pediatrician gave me a talking to years ago about the importance of helmets...I am a believer now!

4 moms found this helpful

I think to NOT insist on protective gear is short-sighted. Helmets are a law for a reason.
@Momof4--where I live it is the LAW to wear a helmet IF you are on a bike. As for the cases you mentioned, certainly we all know these are the freak exception to the rule type of thing. Certainly you aren't seriously trying to make a case for NOT wearing helmets and/or seat belts? And you can live fairly normally with a bum wrist, a "bum" brain? Not so much! Happy Friday to you as well!

3 moms found this helpful

It's a rule at our house. No helmet, no ride. And have your bike shop show you how to adjust it -- most kids ride with their helmets so far back or loose that they wouldn't do any good anyway.

That said, I sometimes waiver too, and like other posters think, "we never did that when we were kids and we're fine!" You could make the same argument about seat belts -- we didn't wear them on long, cross-country drives because they interfered with us laying down across the seat! And we're fine. BUT, if my parents had ever been in an accident on those highways, I most likely wouldn't be here to write this. So, I figure it's worth it to make certain things rules just in case. A kid can fall off a bike or scooter in front of your house just as easily as on a long ride. Statistically it's probably more likely since they're doing it so often. If you get them used to the helmet early, it's just second nature, no big deal. Much better safe than sorry.

3 moms found this helpful

Helmets always. No helmet, no bike. They even wear them when they're in the seats on the back of my bike.

3 moms found this helpful

Always. Just make it a habit so it becomes natural and they don't complain. My kids wear them 90% of the time -- daughter took a tumble off a scooter when she didn't have it on and did a big face plant on the sidewalk complete with huge nosebleed. Not sure if the helmet would have helped, but any little bit would have been good.

3 moms found this helpful

Being sure that they wear protective gear now, when they're starting out will mean that wearing it will be a habit when you're more serious about it.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with the other posters. Our son is not allowed to get on his bike without his helmet on. He knows that is the rule and we don't get any arguments.

3 moms found this helpful

a helmet ALWAYS. They don't need to wear the full gear like knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards... But always a helmet

3 moms found this helpful

You don't make your children wear helmets?! Isn't it a law? I know it is here. My friends younger sister was hit by a car do you know what saved her life? Her HELMET!

3 moms found this helpful

I was fairly lax on this as it never seemed very common when my boys were younger-until recently my 6 yr old daughter ran into my van in the driveway- she was going pretty fast and got a nasty bump and bruise on her head- I was right there when it happened and for a second I thought she hit her nose- if she would have it probably would have broke it- we are dilligent now about wearing helmets all the time-

2 moms found this helpful

We bought the bike helmets and some even had hand, elbows, and knee pads. I forget to remind the kids to put them on. I am going to really really regret it is the kids ever get hurt.

2 moms found this helpful

In CA (I don't know about other states) it's the law for anyone under 18 to wear a helmet while riding a bike, scooters, etc., and there's not an exception when riding in front of the house. Accidents are the #1 cause of death for children, not to mention the serious brain and other injuries they can suffer, so helmets, along with knee and elbow pads, and riding gloves offer protection I want them to have.

BTW, my little guy is 25 months, loves to run, and wears a helmet when running on sidewalks and in the driveway, he already grabs it on his own when we're going outside. He's been to the ER twice for falls, had stitches once, and scared me to pieces when his nose started bleeding after a fall and hitting his head. I'm planning on finding him wrist guards to protect his hands since he puts them out in front of himself to cushion his falls. To me protective gear is a Godsend.

2 moms found this helpful

Idealy I would love my boys to wear helmets and knee and elbow pads. They won't though. I don't force it. I never see kids using helmets either when we go on walks and their are lots of young kids riding bikes around our town.

2 moms found this helpful

I bought all the stuff, helmets, knee pads, etc.
Made him wear it when he was really little. Stopped fighting it when he got old enough to realize no-one was wearing it.

I grew up in a time when personal safety laws were more relaxed -

I used to sleep on the rear dash of my father's car on long road trips
We didn't wear seat belts regularly
I skateboarded without any protective gear - down the steep hill of my Granny's driveway, across the street, and up the drive of the house across the street - turn around and do it again.
I probably ran with sharp objects in my hand.

I am fine and unscathed and suffered no physical or emotional damage.

:)

1 mom found this helpful

Shoot- when I was three weeks old my parents were transfered from Ft. Reilly, KS to Ft. Benning, GA. I rode in a dresser drawer on the back seat of the car! There were no seatbelts in most of the cars my parents had until we were older, no helmets, etc. We rode our bikes in the street and driveways, played kick the can and find the flag in the road and neighbors yards. The only time I remember anyone ever getting hurt was my brother on his skateboard. He fell and landed on a rock that left a hole in his knee.
The only broken bones I have ever had were from a car accident (as an adult- drunk driver pulled out in front of me) and a cracked shin at 13 because my brother hit me with a ladder back chair.
When my girls are old enough to have bikes they will most likely ride through the yard as their father did. (In laws deeded the house to our girls and we will probably be moving in soon as we are about to loose ours :( ) The road is gravel so that is a huge deterant to riding bikes on it and impossible to skate or skateboard on. They will have swings without two feet of soft mulch to land on if they fall. They will have a tree house and if Daddy gets his way, go carts, 4 wheelers, and dirtbikes when they are older. At that point- no helmet- no riding!

1 mom found this helpful

I don't even buy it :) I lived and got bruised and banged up they will too. Now if they were stunt riding or something my attitude would change

1 mom found this helpful

Well I survived the 70's and we didn't have seat belts in our car, my kids do wear the seatbelts in the back though.
I do remind them to put sunscreen on and wear a hat.
Helmets with bikes are worn if they go outside our area, on the main road, and anytime they are on the ATV.

1 mom found this helpful

We all wear protective gear in my family - but that is how we are. When I was in my 20's I was roller blading and had a nasty accident - if I hadn't been wearing my wrist guards I would have broken both wrists - so I am very adament about those! I broke my tail bone, but there isn't much you can do about that.

1 mom found this helpful

Riding in front of your house or in your driveway I do not think it is necessary. If kids are our rollerblading in the streets, long bikerides etc.
then I think helmets are a good thing. I once was flipping thru a Safety First
magazine and came across an ad for a helmet for babies for when they
start to walk. You know they should not hurt themselves!!! I could not believe it. Toddlers fall, bruised knees happen. In todays world everyone is
trying to protect kids from everything. That is not real life. There are locks
for everything. Do people ever teach their children the word no, hot, etc.
Generations of children grew up without these things. There are a few things that are great, cabinet locks, gates but refrig locks, toilet locks. etc.

1 mom found this helpful

When my son is riding in the parking lot of our complex (with supervision) I don't force him to wear his helmet. He has low muscle tone and rides like a Grandma, so when we go on outings he rides in the bike trailer. On outings we both wear helmets no exceptions. However, my friend puts her daughter in a trailer and she wears a helmet, but not her daughter. No judgement mommies, b/c when I was being raised helmets were not even thought of. I do find it incredible that in some states, such as Iowa, there is no helmet law for those on motorcycles!

1 mom found this helpful

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