Helmet is a crucial safety device for bike riders


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has deemed the month of May "Bicycle Safety Month." And one of the most important pieces of safety equipment for any bicyclist is a helmet. Dr. Michael Macknin, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children's, says first and foremost - bike helmets must be worn properly.

"It should be level on your head. A lot of kids like to tilt it to the left or tilt it to the right or tilt it back because they think it's cool and they don't want to buckle up their strap. The strap absolutely has to be buckled. The helmet has to be straight ahead and level," he said.

Macknin says the helmet also must fit snugly. He says it should not bounce around when they move or shake their head- even without the chinstrap. Macknin prefers children wear bike helmets that don't have sharp edges. He recommends rounded helmets that won't catch on the ground in the event of a crash or a fall. And when you go shopping for a helmet for your child, he says to look inside for a very important label. 

"All of the helmets on the market have a Consumer Products Safety Commission sticker in them to let you know that they are safe," said Macknin.

Helmets with the label from the Consumer Products Safety Commission meet all federal safety standards. Macknin says they should adequately protect the head and the chin straps will be strong enough to prevent the helmet from coming off in a crash, collision or fall.