Choosing the proper winter gear for your kids may seem like a daunting task. Ensuring they are warm and comfortable to endure a day on the mountain is a skilful selection of appropriate layers, apparel and accessories. Above comfort and style I am sure all parents would agree safety is the ultimate priority when spending a day on the Mountain. Whistler/ Blackcomb recommends both adults and children wear helmets for skiing and riding and should educate themselves on the benefits and limitations of helmet usage. Helmets reduce the instances and severity of concussions and are the easiest way to protect your child against head injuries. Fun For Kids – Whistler’s premium kids clothing and accessories store – has years of experience helping parents choose helmets for their children and has created this simple guide to assist you in selecting the most appropriate helmets for your family.
When choosing a helmet for your child, whether a toddler or a pre-teen, ensure you are selecting a helmet that is designed for skiing or snowboarding. Bike helmets are designed for different impact and should never be worn instead of a snow sports helmet. You will also want to check that the helmet meets industry standards for safety and protection. Some industry standards include CEN (least vigorous), ASTM, Snell and RS-98 (most vigorous).
Once you have found a brand of helmet that meets the industry standards for safety it is important to choose the correct size and to fit the helmet properly; sizing and fitting a helmet is quite a straightforward process:
- Use a measuring tape and wrap the tape around your child’s head just above the eyebrows- this measurement is the helmet size.
- When putting the helmet on, the front rim of the helmet should be two fingers width above the eyebrows.
- The helmet pads should be flush against the cheeks and forehead, there should be no gaps and the back of the helmet should not touch the nape of the neck.
- With the chin strap fastened the helmet should be snug and comfortable. When rocking the helmet with your hand it should stay in place with only the forehead skin moving.
- Make sure the straps are adjusted properly to keep the helmet in place.
- Put the goggles on. There should be adequate space between the top of the goggles and the bottom of the helmet; the goggles should never push on the helmet. Bring the goggle strap over the helmet and secure the strap on the highest part of the head. Most helmets have snaps to clip the goggle straps in place. When purchasing a new helmet make sure to bring your child’s goggles along.
Helmets are one article of apparel that should not be bought with room to grow. Children’s heads grow quite slowly so a properly fitted helmet should last at least a few seasons. It is best to avoid wearing toques or beanies underneath. Most helmets these days are made with adequate insulation and adjustable built-in ventilation systems for maximum comfort.
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to get the best performance out of your child’s helmet. Inspect the helmet regularly for wear and tear- if you notice any notable damage to the helmet it is best to have it replaced. If your child sustains a hard blow to the head it may also need to be replaced. Helmets are designed to cushion impact and with every significant impact the foam layer inside will become partially deteriorated.
Last but not least a common problem with helmets is the feeling of invincibility some children (and adults) feel when they are wearing them. It is important to advise your kids not to become over confident when skiing or riding with a helmet and to act as if they are not wearing one at all.
It is always best to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable salesperson in a reputable store when choosing a snow sports helmet for your child. At Fun For Kids we have a range of helmets all conforming to industry safety standards and which also meet the FIS (International Ski Federation) requirements. We are located at the base of Blackcomb Mountain at the Hilton Hotel and have been here since 1993, let us help fit your family for helmets to ensure a safe and memorable time on the mountain!