Helmets Are for Multiple — Not Just Extreme — Sports

Many fun seasonal activities, such as bike riding, blading, skiing or skating, require the use of a helmet. Helmets are designed to protect your head and reduce your risk of an injury by 30 per cent. A wide variety of activities require helmets. So it’s important to buy the right helmet for your sport or activity.

Here are five tips to help you select, buy and manage the right helmet or helmets for the sports you play.


1. Get the Right Helmet – Single or Multiple Use? Single or Multiple Impact?

Know whether you need a single use helmet for your sport or if a multiple use one you already have on hand may work.

  • Single Use means the helmet is only certified for one activity, such as a baseball batting helmet.
  • Multiple Use means the helmet is certified for use with more than one activity.

Sometimes these terms are confused with single impact and multiple impact helmets, which are different. (See tip two below.) 

And for winter sports, be sure to get a helmet that’s designed to protect the back of your head.


2. Be Sure to Replace Your Single Impact Helmet –

There are single impact and multiple impact helmets. Single impact helmets, such as bicycle, skiing and snowboarding helmets are designed to protect your head against ONE impact accident. After it’s been in a crash, you should replace this type of helmet, even if there doesn’t appear to be any damage. For each single-impact helmet, the manufacturer will list a timeline for when to replace it, which you should follow.

Multiple impact helmets, such as a hockey helmet, are designed to withstand multiple impacts before losing their ability to protect your head. You should also inspect your multiple impact helmet regularly for damage and replace it if there is any visible damage.  Follow manufacturer guidelines for replacing your helmet (usually every five years), as materials do break down over time even if there isn’t an impact.

And if you should injure your head, a chiropractor can help. Chiropractors are trained to assess a head injury, diagnose a concussion and refer you to another health care professional for the appropriate treatment you need.


3. Don’t Settle for Second-hand –

While it may be tempting to buy a second-hand helmet or use a hand-me-down, keep in mind that plastic helmets become brittle and weaken with age.

Before using a second-hand helmet, answer these questions:

  • Has this helmet been in a crash?
  • Is it more than five years old?

If your answer is “yes” to either question, give the old helmet a pass and buy a new one.


4. Look for Safety Certification –

Older helmets may not meet current safety standards. Look for safety certification from CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission).


4. Make Sure it’s the Right Fit –

Proper fit is just as important as choosing the right helmet. Your helmet should comfortably touch your head all the way around and be snug enough to stay firmly in place. It should also sit level on your head and ride as low as possible to protect the sides of your head.

Head injuries can be devastating. Never skimp on getting the right helmet for your needs. You can’t put a price on your brain.


Help to Improve Your Performance

A chiropractor can also help you be the best you can for your favourite sports. They can evaluate your strength and flexibility. A chiropractor will also screen for anything that may limit your physical activities and develop a care plan that’s best for you.

To find a chiropractor near you, use the chiropractor locator on our website. In Ontario, you can visit a chiropractor without a referral from a doctor, nurse practitioner or other health care professional. If you already have a chiropractor and/or another health care professional, join our Partnership4BetterHealth online patient advisory community. Then, you can share your ideas on how to enhance chiropractic services and make a positive impact on our health care system. It’s confidential, free, and always your choice to participate.