Helmets for the Slopes?
Helmet --- Protective Headgear --- Brain Bucket

January 20, 1999

New Recommendations for Helmet Use While Skiing and Snowboarding

Have you been skiing or snowboarding this winter? Did you wear a helmet? On January 8, 1999, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released recommendations for the use of helmets by skiers and snowboarders to prevent head and brain injuries. The CPSC estimates that helmets worn by skiers and snowboarders under 15 years of age could prevent or reduce the severity of 53% of the head injuries. Helmets worn by adults would prevent or reduce the severity of 44% of the head injuries.

Head and brain injuries caused by skiing have been in the spotlight since celebrities Sonny Bono and Michael Kennedy both died in ski accidents about one year ago. Although skiing and snowboarding are generally safe sports, improvements in ski equipment and snow grooming methods have allowed people to ski faster. Recreational skiers can reach speeds of 40 miles per hour. Most ski injuries occur when people ski too fast, get out of control, and hit fixed objects like rocks or trees.

So how can skier and snowboarder injuries be prevented and reduced? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Slow down!
  2. Ski and snowboard under control!
  3. Ski area operators should pad lift towers, trees and other objects on the slopes.
  4. Ski area operators should label all trails carefully so inexperienced skiers and snowboarders stay off steep terrain.
  5. As the CPSP recommends, "Wear a helmet."

For more information on helmet use during winter sports, see:

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