ICBC's top tips for choosing the right bicycle helmet for your child ahead of
Safe Kids Week, May 31 to June 5

VANCOUVER, June 2 /CNW/ - Head injuries are the number one cause of serious injury and death to kids on wheels - that's why it's the focus of this year's Safe Kids Week in Canada.

It's the law for all cyclists in B.C. to wear a helmet and you could be fined for not wearing one - and for good reason. Bike helmets alone could prevent up to 85 percent of serious injuries, which account for 80 percent of all bicycle-related deaths.

In the unfortunate event of a crash, helmets are effective in absorbing the blow and minimizing violent movement of the brain. They also work effectively in distributing the impact over a larger area, reducing the chances of skull fractures or worse.

Here are ICBC's top five safety tips to keep you and your child safe:

No. 1 - Follow the standards: The majority of helmets for sale in North America meet DOT (US Department of Transportation) standards and the rigorous Snell Memoriam Foundation Safety Standards. A helmet that meets these requirements should have a sticker indicating this on it. Helmets will typically have adjustable straps and a quick release buckle. Novelty helmets offer no protection in a crash.

No. 2 - Look for fit: More important than who made the helmet is how it fits. It should be snug but not uncomfortable, and should not be able to roll off your head when the chinstrap is secured. You also shouldn't be able to fit your fingers between your head and the helmet. Look for lighter helmets for small children as they have weaker neck muscles.

No. 3 - It's all in the colour: It's best to wear a brightly-coloured helmet - and not just because it will make you easier to see. Dark helmets absorb heat much quicker and could make you feel fatigued. In warm conditions, a brightly-coloured, well-ventilated helmet will actually keep your head cooler than not wearing a helmet at all. Try adding reflective tape to your child's helmet to make them even more visible.

No. 4 - Don't go second-hand: Avoid used helmets - they may have suffered damage in a crash that's not immediately visible, such as cracks in the foam padding. A helmet should always be replaced if it's dropped on a hard surface or impacted in a crash. It should also be replaced if it's old as the foam inside will degrade over time. Five years is the typical lifespan of a helmet but check with the manufacturer for their recommendations.

No. 5 - Get them involved: Let your child get involved in choosing their own helmet. If they pick out one they like, they'll be more likely to wear it. If you're having trouble getting your child to wear a helmet, remind them that many top athletes, like their favourite Canucks players, wear helmets to protect themselves. Use rewards and praise if your child remembers to wear their helmet and, most importantly, be a role model for your child and wear your helmet too.

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For further information: For further information: Media contact: Adam Grossman, (604) 982-1332

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