Next month, a new law goes into effect in New Jersey requiring all skiers and snowboarders under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. If they don’t, their parents will be fined $25 for the first violation and $100 for each additional violation. Interestingly, local police, rather than ski areas will enforce the law (which makes me think, this is pretty sweet duty for New Jersey’s finest).
The goal of the law is, of course, laudable. Reducing head injuries and saving lives, is always a good goal. Bill sponsor New Jersey State Senator Anthony Bucco, puts it this way, “We protect them on bikes with helmet laws. Why not protect them on ski slopes?”
Of course, we want to protect children on the ski slopes. But, ultimately, who gets to choose if a child wears a ski helmet? The child? The parents? The state? Or the resort? 87% of skiers and snowboarders under the age of 9 already wear helmets, according to the National Skis Areas Association (NSAA).
And as more resorts require children enrolled in ski school (or jibbing in the terrain park) to wear helmets, it has become increasingly rare to see a child without a helmet. Overall, 50% of skiers and snowboarders in the US, of all ages, wear helmets. So, if you think you’ve seen more helmets on the mountain, you’re right.
Similar mandatory helmet laws have been tried in California and New York but have run into roadblocks. Still people want to protect kids. I know we certainly do at our home. Helmets are non-negotiable and they always have been. On a bike, playing hockey or on skis, our boys are well-trained. They always reach for their helmet. Maybe that’s because their parents do too.
Why We Wear Ski Helmets
1. Risk analysis. We wear helmets because we decided the “inconvenience” trumped the risks. We’ve been wearing helmets since our sons were born. My husband and I took one look at our baby boys and realized we no longer wanted to risk any injury. Since we weren’t going to give up skiing the trees, we began wearing helmets.
When our kids started skiing, we put helmets on them. If we weren’t going to risk a brain injury, why should they?
2. Comfort. When we first got helmets, they felt constraining. Soon, however, we forgot that helmets feel funny and they became comfortable. They keep our heads extra warm when it’s cold and the vents really do work to cool us down when the sun is shining bright. Frankly, I love my helmet.
3. Habit. Wear a helmet long enough and you feel naked without it. Our kids don’t know anything different. It’s their normal and after just a few months, it became our normal too.
4. Wired for sound. I’m not a big fan of skiing with music. But my husband and son love having their own personal soundtracks. I’d rather they keep the earbuds out of their ears and in the helmet. Why? They can hear what’s going on around them better. In other words, they still have to talk to me on the lift.
Those are our reasons for wearing helmets. Do your kids wear helmets? Do you? Why? Have you ever had a helmet save you or your child from injury?
In your opinion, who should choose? The resort, the parents, the child or the state? I tend to come down on the side of the parents…so long as they are parents like me (smile).
Ski ‘N See Junior Helmet Giveaway
For the second year in a row, Ski ‘N See of Utah is offering a Junior Giro Ski Helmet as a giveaway to readers of the Brave Ski Mom!
To enter, simply fill in the entry form found at this link. The entry with Ski ‘N See is mandatory. For a second entry, leave a comment here at Brave Ski Mom!
I am being told that the link to sign up is acting up. Try copying this URL into your browser if you get a message that says you can’t take the survey. http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e51ma5skgtn16t2z/start
If you’re still locked out, please let me know! Thanks for understanding.
The helmet shown is an example. If you win, Ski ‘N See will work with you and your child to choose the right Junior Giro Helmet.
One winner will be chosen in a random drawing on October 25th, at 10:00 a.m.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Monique, the winner.
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