Ontario is a great place for winter fun, but before you hit the slopes or put on your skates, make sure your head is protected. Winter sports revolve around snowy, icy conditions, and these slippery situations put you at risk for serious injuries.
The right helmet can reduce your risk of a catastrophic head injury. The team at Findlay Personal Injury Lawyers hopes you can use these helmet-related tips to stay safe this winter.
Why Should I Wear a Winter Sports Helmet?
Traumatic head injury is the most common fatal injury suffered by skiers and snowboarders. While a helmet cannot prevent accidents and injuries, sports helmets are designed to absorb impact in order to reduce the severity of head injuries if you fall or are involved in a collision. In other words, a helmet could make the difference between a lethal and non-lethal injury.
What Kind of Helmet do I Need?
Winter sports helmets are recommended for hockey, ice skating, ringette, sledding, skiing, and snowboarding. Winter sports helmets fall into two main categories: hockey helmets and ski or snowboard helmets.
Between the unforgiving ice, the puck, and the potential for collisions, you shouldn’t hit the hockey rink without proper head protection. Hockey helmets are lined with dense foam to protect your head and come in a range of variations that can include ear and face protection. In addition to hockey, hockey helmets should be worn for:
- Ice skating
How Should a Hockey Helmet Fit?
A snug fit is key when it comes to hockey helmets. You don’t want the helmet to move around, but you also don’t want it to be uncomfortably tight. Try on a few sizes and types to find a good fit. Make sure the helmet rests appropriately on your head, with the rim about a finger’s width above your eyebrows.
Ski or Snowboard Helmets
Whether you like to cruise the easy slopes or hit the terrain park, a helmet is an absolute must for snowboarding, skiing, and cross-country skiing. These helmets have a hard outer shell and a thick foam liner. Ski or snowboard helmets may come with ear pads and moisture-absorbing liners for comfort.
How Should a Ski or Snowboard Helmet Fit?
Ski and snowboard helmet padding should rest against the head and cheeks securely with the chin strap fastened. You can test the fit by putting the helmet on and shaking your head side to side. The helmet should not shift. If it does, select a smaller size.
You also want to try the helmet on with your goggles. The helmet and goggles should meet, but the helmet should not press down on the goggles or impede your ability to see.
Additional Considerations for Choosing the Right Helmet
- Safety Standards – Look for the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) mark on hockey helmets and face protectors. CSA certification means the gear meets high safety standards. For ski and snowboard helmets, look for Snell RS 98, ASTM F2040, EN 1077, or CSA Z263.1 markings to indicate that the helmet meets safety standards.
- Replace as Directed – Some helmets are designed to withstand multiple minor hits, while others should be replaced after one blow. As a general rule, get a new helmet every five years, even if it doesn’t sustain a blow.
- Be Safe – Even a perfectly fitted, sport-specific helmet cannot prevent every head injury. You are still at risk for a concussion when you wear a helmet, so keep safety in mind at all times.
- Buy New – There’s no way to know if a secondhand helmet has been compromised, and it’s not a gamble you want to take. Purchase your helmet new, so you know you are protected.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you suffer a personal injury due to the negligence of another party this winter, call 905-522-9799 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, or other related expenses.