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Safety & Prevention

Bike Riding & Beyond: 5 Times Your Kids Should Wear Helmets

​​​​Most families know how important helmets are in youth sports like football, baseball and hockey. But helmets also protect kids in powerful ways during other activities they enjoy.

Getting outside to play is great for kids, and recreational sports can be a big part of that. Don't let a trip to the emergency department with a concussion—or worse—get in the way. Remind your child to wear a helmet for these and other sports and activities to protect against head and face injuries.

  • Bike riding


    ​While bicycle riding is a fun way to exercise​ and get around, about 26,000 kids go to emergency departments with head injuries each year. Wearing a helmet can decrease the risk of head injuries by about 85% and facial injuries by about 65% among bicyclists. This is true for children as well as adults, so be sure to wear your helmet, too! Learn more about how to choose a bicycle helmet and encourage your child to wear it. ​

  • Skiing, snowboarding & other snow sports


    ​Kids love heading to the slopes on snowy days. Just remind them to wear their helmets. Snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding are a common cause of recreational sport-related head injuries for children and teens. Helmets reduce this risk, and some research suggests they may help prevent neck injuries, too. Whether your child is skiing, snowboarding or even sledding a snow-covered hill, count on a helmet to help keep them safe.​

  • Skating & skateboarding


    ​Whether on wheels or blades, skating is a longtime favorite among children and teens. But without a helmet, young skaters can end up with serious head injuries. Among different types of recreational skating, ice skating has the highest percentage of head injuries. And up to 20% of all these are traumatic brain injuries. Researchers find similar injury patterns with skateboarding. This may be in part because ice skaters and skateboarders tend to fall backwards, making it harder to break their falls with their arms. Whenever your child grabs their skates or board, make sure they have their helmet, too.​

  • Horseback riding & other equestrian sports


    ​Concussions are the most common injury among children and teens who participate in horseback riding and other equestrian sports. Research also shows traumatic brain injuries with bleeding inside the head more common among children who weren't wearing helmets. It's estimated that helmets can reduce the risk of this type of injury by 96%. 

  • All-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding


    ​​Helmets can reduce the risk of a fatal head injuries related to ATVs​ by about 40%, research shows, and a nonfatal brain injury by 60% or more. In addition, young ATV riders who are wearing helmets when they are hurt have less serious injuries and shorter hospital stays compared with unhelmeted riders. Other protective gear, including a face shield or goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves, is also a good idea. And consider wearing a chest protector and more durable gear for riding at higher speeds, like for ATV motocross racing.


    Talk with your child's pediatrician if you have any questions about helmets for your child. 

    More information

Last Updated
American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention (Copyright © 2022)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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