We went sledding last weekend down “the biggest hill in the world.” Both of my boys wore full cage hockey helmets. When I posted the photos on Instagram later (of course) some people were a little surprised to see my kids wearing helmets.
When we were packing up to head out for our afternoon, my wife reminded me to pack my helmet too and “model good behaviour” for the boys.
When we were kids, we rolled around the back of station wagons, didn’t wear helmets riding our bike, and didn’t have knee pads on when we rollerbladed. But, in this bubble wrapped era, we know a little more. We’re more aware of what can happen, and despite the odds being short, if something bad happens – it’s bad.
You just have to look at the tragic death of Natasha Richardson in 2009 to see what can happen after an innocent fall. After that, helmet use on ski hills started to be mandated. Last week, when we rented equipment for a family ski trip, helmets was on the list of items to be rented.
I went to a seminar a few weeks back about kids and concussions. Yup. Never mind the big beefy NFL players getting “their bell rung,” I met an 8-year-old girl who had a concussion from playing hockey. Eight years old and she’s already had a brain injury from sports.
So, as I think back to all those flying jumps I went over skiing at Mount Baker, and the wicked toboggan runs I would take, I shudder — and so my kids wear helmets.
“I can’t imagine making my kids wear a helmet to sled, but it’s an idea that never crossed my mind either,” responded one of my Facebook commenters.
My boys don’t even think twice about it now, it’s as common as wearing a seat belt for them, and when they see someone not wearing a helmet they openly question the decision.
So .. do you put helmets on your kids for skiing, skating, and sledding? Why or why not?