Georgia’s bicycle helmet law requires children under 16 to wear a helmet. But if the helmet does not fit properly, your child may have little to no protection if she is involved in a crash or falls off her bike. Make sure your child’s bike helmet fits with these tips.
Tip 1: Ensure the Helmet Is the Right Size
This seems obvious, but there are quite a few things to consider when determining whether a helmet is the right size. Once you have measured your child’s head and picked a helmet, do the following:
- Ensure the helmet does not move more than one inch if you move it backwards or forwards. The helmet should not rock side to side.
- Make sure the front edge of the helmet is about an inch/two fingers above your child’s eyebrows.
- The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia also recommends using the sizing pads that came with your child’s helmet to ensure a snug fit.
Tip 2: Adjust the Straps
Simply fitting snugly on your child’s head is not enough. Make sure you check the helmet’s straps before you buy the helmet and each and every time your child gets on her bike. To do so:
- Make sure the front and back straps join together in the shape of a V. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the V should end under and slightly in front of the ear.
- Ensure the straps are not loose.
- The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety in Georgia explains that you should adjust the rear straps if the helmet tilts to the front and adjust the front straps if the helmet leans to the back.
- The chin strap should fit snugly when your child opens her mouth. “If a big yawn doesn’t pull down on your head…tighten the chin strap,” suggests the NHTSA.
- When her mouth is closed, you should be able to slip one finger between her chin and the chin strap.
- Always double check the chin strap.
Does Any Helmet Satisfy the Georgia Bicycle Helmet Law?
No. Merely strapping on any helmet will not satisfy the law. The helmet must meet these four requirements under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-296:
- It is a bicycle helmet. Helmets designed for other purposes do not necessarily protect against the type of head injuries bicyclists can face, so they do not comply with Georgia law.
- It is “of good fit.” Your eight-year-old will not meet the legal requirements if she wears an adult’s helmet.
- It is fastened securely. Loosely attaching the helmet will not provide the protection it should give the wearer. You must secure the helmet properly.
- The helmet meets Snell, American National Standards Institute (ANSI), or Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards.
How to Get Your Child to Wear Her Helmet Each Time She Rides
The best bicycle helmet in the world will do no good if your child does not wear it. Consider these tips for getting your child to wear his bicycle helmet, even after he has ridden out of sight:
- Tip 1: Do not use hand-me-down bike helmets. Your child is more likely to wear a cool, new helmet than a used one. Besides, an older helmet might not meet the current safety standards and will not be effective if it has already been in a spill.
- Tip 2: Let her choose her own helmet. If she really likes the style or color, she will be more likely to wear it.
- Tip 3: Be a good role model. Because children mirror their parents behavior, you should wear your helmet each and every time you ride.
- Tip 4: Make it a habit. Make sure she wears her helmet every time so reaching for her helmet becomes second nature.
- Tip 5: Use positive reinforcement. Notice that he wears his helmet. Praise her for making a wise choice. Link a small reward with wearing her helmet — such as an extra ten minutes of video games that night.
- Tip 6: Get your neighbors involved. Do your neighbors allow their children to ride without helmets? Consider discussing helmet use with them. In addition to helping protect their children from head injuries, it will also keep your child from feeling singled out for needing to wear a helmet.
We hope that you and your children never experience a bike accident. However, the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. knows that you cannot avoid every accident. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in an accident with a car, please call us at 404-474-0804, and we will schedule a meeting with you at no charge.