- Tricycle Rider Injury: What the Data Says
- How Can a Helmet Protect You?
- How To Choose a Helmet for Cycling or Tricycle Riding
- How Can You Tell If Your Helmet Fits Properly?
- How To Encourage Helmet Use Among Children
- Other Tricycle Riding Safety Tips
- Do You Need a Helmet for a Tricycle?
You know the drill; if you’re riding a bike, wear a helmet.
What about when riding a tricycle, though? Do you need a helmet for a tricycle too?
The answer is a big yes. Kids, teens, and adults all benefit from wearing helmets.
Let’s explore the reasons why wearing a helmet is necessary, regardless if you’re using a two-wheeled or a three-wheeled marvel.
Tricycle Rider Injury: What the Data Says
In a study published in the Journal Pediatrics, researchers presented horrifying facts about tricycle-related injuries among children younger than 18.
The data were obtained from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2012 to 2013.
The analysis showed that hospitals treated about 9,340 tricycle-related injuries in the United States.
Children between two and three years old had the highest frequency of injuries, and boys accounted for 63.3% of all cases.
The researchers also found that the head was the most commonly injured part of the body and the most vulnerable area to endure internal damage.
In another research that looked into over 4,000 pediatric trauma cases nationwide, it was found that tricycle-related injuries were more common between the ages of five and 14.
While most injury prevention efforts are aimed at school-age children and adolescents, researchers say that preschoolers should also be a target of similar campaigns.
How about adults? Should they wear helmets when riding tricycles too?
Even though younger riders are more at risk of head injuries, experts also strongly advise the use of helmets among adult riders.
How Can a Helmet Protect You?
Do you need a helmet for a tricycle? Yes, absolutely. But, why?
Both the WHO and CDC recognize and support the idea of wearing helmets when cycling.
Head injuries are much more common among motorcycle riders.
Still, cyclists are not immune to the debilitating and life-threatening effects of head trauma.
During a bicycle crash, injury to the brain can happen in two ways. It can be through direct contact or acceleration-deceleration.
Head injuries sustained from either mechanism can be fatal, especially if they’re closed-head injuries or there is no open wound to the brain.
According to the World Health Organization, riders who don’t wear a helmet run a much higher risk of sustaining any form of traumatic head injury.
How can a helmet protect you from the risk of serious head and brain injuries?
Generally, it works by reducing the impact of a force or collision to the head.
The soft material lining the insides of a helmet absorbs the impact.
Basically, it spreads the forces of the impact so that they are not concentrated on a particular area of the skull.
A helmet acts as a mechanical barrier between the head and the object.
How To Choose a Helmet for Cycling or Tricycle Riding
The right helmet can save your life.
To find one, choose a good-fitting helmet that should be snug yet not too tight that it’s causing you discomfort.
Here are some other guidelines when choosing a helmet for cycling:
1. Look for a helmet that matches your riding style.
Helmets come in varying styles.
You can simplify the selection process by narrowing your choices to the options that are most suited to your needs.
In general, you can categorize them into three: recreational, road bike, and mountain bike helmets.
Any of these three is suitable for riding a tricycle. In the end, though, it still boils down to your riding style and activities.
For instance, if you only do casual riding, a recreational bike is an economical choice and provides basic impact protection.
Do you use your tricycle to go to work every day?
If so, a road bike is preferable because it’s lightweight and well-ventilated, with some models boasting aerodynamic designs.
Lastly, if you are a pro cyclist or enjoy adventures in varying terrain, you need a special helmet.
Pick a heavy-duty and more protective helmet that offers extended rear head coverage, such as a mountain bike helmet.
2. Pay attention to the fit and comfort.
Choosing a helmet that fits properly is vital to keeping your head protected in case of a crash or an accident.
Helmets come in different sizing parameters, from extra small to extra-large models.
You should also know that sizing may differ between helmet brands.
That said, you might get a smaller helmet from a different brand at the same size category from another.
If you’re between sizes, go with the smaller size.
However, you’ll have the best chance of finding the perfect fit if you do an actual fitting before you buy.
Alternatively, you can wear a cycling cap or beanie so that a slightly larger helmet will fit your head nicely.
Aside from size, helmets come in different fit systems. The most common models use an adjustment wheel.
Don’t forget to check the strap quality, as you want a helmet that stays in place despite a heavy impact.
3. Check the cushioning and features.
A helmet consists of an outer shell and an inner lining. The liner is usually high-grade EPS foam.
Needless to say, you want a helmet that provides sufficient cushioning for superior head protection.
However, you must know that rotational forces can also cause brain injury
Luckily, helmet manufacturers feature a broad range of technologies that help minimize rotational forces during a crash.
These include Mips (multi-directional impact protection), a crumple zone, and SPIN (Shearing Pads Inside) technology.
How Can You Tell If Your Helmet Fits Properly?
Here are tell-tale signs that tell you you’ve found the right helmet:
- When the chin strap is buckled, the helmet should give you a snug fit.
- The strap should only give you enough room to allow one finger to be inserted between the buckle and your chin.
- You shouldn’t be able to move the helmet up or down or from side to side.
- If it fits properly, your skin should move as you move your helmet.
- You should also feel a slight, even pressure all over your head, but it should still be comfortable overall.
How To Encourage Helmet Use Among Children
As mentioned, younger people are much more prone to head injuries when riding a tricycle.
Because of this, parents and guardians should ensure that their kids wear their helmets when cycling.
Here are some ways to encourage your child or ward to wear a helmet:
Start the habit early.
Be a role model by wearing a helmet whenever you’re riding a bike or a tricycle.
At the same time, explain to your children why they should wear protective gear when cycling.
Let them pick their helmet.
After determining the correct size and fit, allow your child to choose the design they want.
Children are more likely to wear a helmet if they have selected it.
Let them be creative and personalize their helmet by letting them add stickers on it.
Other Tricycle Riding Safety Tips
Aside from wearing a helmet, there are other safety musts for riding a tricycle, including:
Do not overspeed.
Tricycles are not designed to go too fast.
When you speed up, your trike might be unable to take tight turns, increasing your risk of falling off.
Be aware of and follow road safety rules.
Tricycle riders are not exempt from following traffic laws. Each city has specific tricycle laws that riders must know and follow.
Be conscious of your surroundings.
Be careful when squeezing through tight areas to avoid getting stuck.
If you are city riding, always be mindful of the other cyclists, especially those behind you.
Do not change lanes until you’re sure that there’s no other bicycle or another tricycle behind you.
Do You Need a Helmet for a Tricycle?
Even if your city or region does not require you to wear a helmet, you should always wear one whether you’re riding a bike or a tricycle.
This simple gear can go a long way in protecting you from fatal injuries, particularly head trauma.
Both children and adults should wear a helmet, as advised by health authorities like the WHO and the CDC.
Lastly, make sure to follow the tips and suggestions we outlined here when choosing the right type of helmet for your riding needs.