Helmet FAQs

Your son or daughter comes home after a day at the Niagara Safety Village, excited to tell you about what they have learned. They walk with you through the house, checking out the smoke detectors and making sure they work. You sit down together and make a list of things to add to your family emergency preparedness kit. They direct your attention to their bike helmet - and tell you they need a new one.

According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (HTA) Section 104, "every cyclist under the age of 18 must wear an approved bicycle helmet. Parents or guardians shall not knowingly permit cyclists under sixteen to ride without a helmet." At the Niagara Safety Village, your child will learn that not only is wearing a helmet a very good idea, it's the law. 

There are several reasons why your child may come home saying he or she needs a new helmet:

The helmet is expired.
Did you know that helmets expire? After 5 year, materials used to make up the protective core of a bike helmet become dry and brittle. While it may look brand new from the outside, a manufacturers sticker on the inside of the helmet will indicate the year that it was made. If it is 5 years old or older, it's time for a new one. Additionally, many older helmets may not meet current safety standards. 

The helmet has been in a crash.
Bike helmets are a single impact helmet. This means that a bike helmet is designed to protect the wearer against a single crash. After a crash in which the wearer has hit his or her head, the foam inside of the helmet is compressed and can no longer protect the wearer effectively. Although the helmet may look fine on the outside, it should be replaced.

The helmet does not fit.
Helmets come in a variety of sizes and contain removable adhesive pads that will help the helmet fit your child properly. While at the Safety Village, we will do our best to fit your child's helmet to them by following the 2-V-1 Rule: The helmet should cover the top of the forehead and should rest about 2 fingers' width above the eyebrows. The side straps should fit snugly under your child's ears in a V shape, with the buckles right underneath the ears. When the chin strap is buckled, only 1 finger should fit between the strap and your child's chin. Once the helmet has been adjusted, have your child shake their head from side to side and from front to back - the helmet should not move. We encourage you and your child to check their helmet fit each time they put it on. 

The helmet is not approved for the specific activity.
Different activities require different helmets. Activity-specific helmets have been designed and tested to protect the head against the kind of impact most associated with that particular activity. Wheeled activities, winter sports, and field sports all have different standards - for very good reasons. If you select a multi-sport helmet for you or your child, be sure that the manufacturer has clearly indicated and tested it for your chosen activity. 

For more information on which helmet is best for which activity, please visit Parachute Canada.