- Parent Category: General Figure Skating
Well, there's a loaded question. You'll get lots of different answers to this. In my view, you want her to wear a helmet for as long as you can for as long as there is a high likelyhood of her hitting her head. The reality as that there will be a few areas of pressure to get her to remove it. First, as she builds up her skills and other kids stop wearing them she'll want to ditch it as well.
You'll also find that at some point, her coach will indicate that it is starting to become an issue. Depending on the type and weight of the helmet, it can affect their ability to spin and jump properly. Then there's just the fact that she's not going to go to a competition or show wearing a helmet so it's got to come off at some point.
CanSkate programs require kids to wear helmets so you can just say that “it's the rules”. If she complains that some other kids aren't wearing them, just tell her that those kids parents don't love them but you love her so the helmet stays on. Practically, she's going to want to ditch it by the time she is finished Canskate. My youngest daughter started private lessons while she continued to do her final badge of Canskate. I was a mean dad and I made her wear her helmet even when she was on Junior ice until she finished Canskate. I'm sure some people wondered what I was doing to the poor kid, but she was only 6. The Helmet was gone as soon as she had her Canskate 6 badge.
The risk of hitting your head when skating never goes away. Even experienced skaters fall and even though they all seem to develop a pretty good ability to keep their head from hitting the ice, it does happen from time to time. Ask experienced downhill skiers when they fall most often and they'll tell you that they never fall except when they're standing in the lift line. The same thing happens for skaters. Falls happen at the least expected times. Crowded training sessions increase the risk of collision as well. With lots of kids going every direction and jumping and some of them going backwards, it's going to happen and kids are going to hit the ice hard.
I spoke to an emergency room physician who took up figure skating in her late 20s. She's a capable skater but she always wears a helmet on the ice and recommends it to everyone. So, try to keep the helmet on as long as possible but once your child is out of the learn-to-skate programs like CanSkate, the helmet won't stay on much longer.
In 2011, Skate Canada passed a rule that dictates that all CanSkaters must wear a helmet regardless of age. They also dictate that it must be a hockey helmet and not a skiing or cycling helmet. There was also some research done recently which found that skiing helmets were ineffective in preventing concussions with skaters falling and hitting their heads on the ice so a Hockey Helmet is the only recommended helmet for safe skating.
See also Figure Skating Helmets