Helmet Head



The latest conflict in The Teen Wars at my house revolves around our insistence that our 13-year-old daughter wear a bike helmet when she rides. Unfortunately, her insistence that no one her age wears a helmet seems to be true.

Every day I see kids riding to our middle school with hair flying, unencumbered by the less than comfy – and more importantly, dorky and unsightly – likes of a safety helmet. While I believe parents have the right to make helmet use mandatory or optional, it makes my life as a parent a lot more difficult.

Yet a quick check of statistics reveals that cycling without a helmet is just plain dangerous. According to The New York Times,

 cycling accidents played a role in about 86,000 of the 447,000 sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2009. Football accounted for 47,000 of those head injuries, and baseball played a role in 38,394.

Cycling was also the leading cause of sports-related head injuries in children under 14, causing 40,272 injuries, roughly double the number related to football (21,878).

There are so many decisions as a parent that are hard to make, harder to enforce. At 13, my daughter is at the height of self-consciousness. There is nothing worse to a middle school child than to stand out. She has already reported to me that her friends laugh at her for having to wear her bike helmet. And I feel bad for her, I really do. But not bad enough to back down from a rule I find necessary for her own health and safety.

I realize that life is never risk free. But as my children navigate their way to adulthood, I want to know that I have taken every reasonable precaution to protect them on their way.

So whether she likes it or not, helmet head it is for this 13-year-old. I hope she one day thanks me when she is a parent herself. Until then, I will know I have done my job helping her live to see that day.


4 thoughts on “Helmet Head

  1. Mary, I think you know that I had a cycling accident recently. It was my own fault, but things happen. We do things that seem reasonable at the time and then regret them on cooler appraisal. I–quite literally–still have my face intact because I was wearing a helmet and wearing it correctly. I ran into a pole, fell off my bike and landed on the concrete on my face. The visor of my helmet is what got scraped. I got a small gouge in the bridge of my nose caused when my glasses were pushed back by the impact. Never so convinced that I’m right and my kids are wrong! Abby wears a helmet or she doesn’t ride. Frequently, she chooses to walk. BTW, helmet should be down on the forehead, not pushed back like a head band.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Janice. I appreciate your reinforcing my message. I know someone who was temporarily paralyzed in a bike accident while wearing a helmet. If she had not had the helmet on, she may not have lived to tell about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A decade ago a nine-year-old friend of mine was in a bike wreck without her helmet, she suffered severe brain damage. She couldn’t walk, talk, feed herself and even had to wear diapers. She spent almost a year in the hospital trying to relearn very basic living skill, but the doctor said she’d probably always have the mind of a four or five-year-old. Ask your daughter which she thinks is cooler, wearing a bike helmet at thirteen or diapers for the rest of her life; my little friend had to find out the hard way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sorry that this happened to your friend. Thank you for sharing this devastating story. I am sure there are many more instances like this. It may not make a difference to my infallible daughter, but it confirms my decisions to stay tough on this issue.


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