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How To Convince Kids Why It’s Important to Wear a Helmet

Dec 16, 2014 09:36AM ● By Erin Frisch

According to the Centers for Disease Control, less than half of the millions of bike riding kids and adults in America wear helmets. The survey found that only around 48 percent of kids ages 5 to 14 wear a bike helmet when they go out for a ride. Unfortunately, these numbers drop further as kids get older.

Getting your child to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, Snowboarding, Skiing, Sledding, scooter, ATV, motorcycle, or any other activity where it makes sense to do so, you have probably heard all of the excuses on the planet. “But mo-oommmm, helmets are too hot,” your son might protest, or “Helmets mess up my hair and look so dorky,” your daughter might argue.

While you don’t want to freak out your kiddos so much they never want to touch their bikes or scooters again, it is important for parents to explain in a way that children and teens can understand just what can happen to their head when they don’t wear a helmet.

Head Injury 101

As Rush University Medical Center explains, when the head hits something hard — like the sidewalk or road — it will generally cause trauma to the brain. This can cause a concussion or a skull fracture, both of which are serious health conditions. Even head injuries that seem rather minor can cause brain damage that will take time to heal. In other words, try explaining to your child or teen that he or she doesn’t have to be involved in some fast and dramatic bang-up crash to really get hurt.

Symptoms of Brain Injury

Children and teens who have experienced a brain or skull injury as the result of not wearing a helmet will typically suffer from a variety of symptoms, some of which may be permanent. These can include behavior and learning problems, sleep disorders, and memory loss. Of course, they will probably also deal with painful physical symptoms too, like a really bad headache.

For younger kids who are resisting wearing a helmet, try explaining that if they fall and hit their heads it will really hurt, and they will not be able to do a lot of really fun activities for awhile. For older children, you could also add that a head injury could cause difficulty playing their favorite video games or you could mention they might have to give up some of their other preferred activities because they won’t be able to concentrate long enough to do them anymore.

If Necessary, Quote Statistics

For older kids who have an appreciation for numbers and statistics, let them know a study published by the National Institutes of Health notes that 900 people a year in the United States die from their bike crash-related injuries, and half a million bicyclists end up in the emergency room.

Show Them "Cool" People Who Wear Helmets

Moms who are sick and tired of hearing arguments about helmets can also show their kids photos of celebrities who wear helmets. If you Google celebs like Brad Pitt or Usher you can find photos of them wearing their motorcycle helmets; a Daily Mail shows Usher cruising around Beverly Hills wearing a nifty-looking helmet. You can also show your kids photos of the great-looking helmets that are available in a variety of different styles and colors from retailers like BikeBandit. The Tour de France bicyclists all wear helmets too, as do professional BMX riders, skateboarders, and many other people.

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