When should my kid stop wearing a helmet?

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

Comments   

 
# My Son Skates 2011-08-25 12:57
My 7 year old son skates 20-40 hours a week depending on the week and if hockey is in session or not. He has excellent balance and only falls when he wants to fall. He wears a helmet every single time he skates. It is not a debate and he knows that the only time the helmet comes off is when he is off the ice. The children get out on the ice and chase each other and push themselves to go faster and faster while playing games such as chicken and tackling each other. I am amazed that more parents do not have their children in helmets.
 
 
-1 # threenorns 2013-03-11 23:19
two years ago, for the first time in 30yrs, i went on the ice. i was a crap skater as a child. i know now it was because my skates were just far too tight: i have flipper feet and those skinny little dominion boots are made for bird feet. i wasn't ever able to skate for more than 20-30minutes and my feet would be freezing cold, blue, and with dark toes by the time i hobbled off.

so i was toodling around the ice trying to remember how this works when someone said "i think your daughter wants you". i looked back over my left shoulder to where she was sitting on the spectator bench and the next thing i knew, the ice rotated up behind me, the world rang like a bell, and suddenly i was lying on the ice and someone was smacking me in the face.

they carried me off to the change room and i promptly threw up everywhere - that's when they called the ambulance.

at the hospital, they found nothing wrong and said i should be okay in about 3 days but a week later, more x-rays revealed a skull fracture.

so yes: i, a 46yr old adult, will NOT go on the ice without a helmet.
 
 
# Gin_sing 2013-06-06 14:12
Are you kidding me? You are instructing a parent to tell their child that another parent doesn't love their child because they don't bubble wrap them until they are thirty? What about wanting your child to have coping skills suggests a lack of love for them? I figure skated for twenty years, starting at age two, and I never, ever wore a helmet, nor did anyone in my club. Where are all of these fictional major heady injuries coming from? I understand having a child wear a helmet when they are just starting out, for the first two years or so, but after that it's ridiculous. What's next? Are we going to have all the kids on the swim team wear water wings until they are eighteen? North American parents are creating an entire generation of children who are handicapped by their parent's inability to get over their own insecurities. Good luck with that when your child is thirty-five and still living in your basement! http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200411/nation-wimps