Helmet Policy for Your School Ski Trip
If you are new to the sport of skiing you may well be surprised to learn that the subject of helmets is hotly debated in the ski industry :-
There are those that advocate the wearing of helmets for extra protection, pointing to statistics that bear out that head injuries are a small but nevertheless important proportion of all skiing related injuries.
Others believe that the wearing of helmets creates a sense of invulnerability, and hampers senses such as sight and hearing, which are required to stay safe on the slopes. Some, many of whom grew up in an era without helmets allude to the notion that helmets detract from the overall experience of skiing.
Currently it is mandatory for children under 15 to wear helmets in Italian resorts and some resorts in Austria. However the Swiss authorities make no such insistence.
School and L.E.A. Policies
1. Some L.E.A.s and schools insist upon the wearing of helmets and if your child attends such schools then you will have no option but to buy or hire a helmet for your child
- To rent a helmet prices range from £12 to £30 per week
- To buy a helmet prices range from £35 to £100
helmets online at Snow-Kit.com
2. Other Schools and L.E.A.s make no recommendations on helmet use, partly because if they insist on children wearing helmets and an accident occurs as a result they could be liable and partly because the jury is still out on their safety.
Usually in the latter case Schools discuss the options with parents but emphasise that it is an individual choice.
Here then is some advice that could help the parents of your school children make the decision :-
"So, to conclude, I am a helmet wearer and recommend others to wear one too. There is good evidence to indicate that a helmet will protect you against many of the common injuries that the head is susceptible to when on the slopes. They are especially important for children, who run a higher generic risk of snow sport injury. Helmets seem to have their most protective effect in incidents involving low speed impacts (below 15 mph) and for falls leading to blows to the head on the snow surface.
There is no evidence to date that helmets predispose the wearer to a higher risk of neck injury or cause injury to others. Neither that they restrict vision, hearing or general sensory awareness.
Finally, be aware that wearing a helmet does not make you invincible and may not offer you full protection if you have a high speed impact - so go careful, especially if there are trees on or near the pistes you're using. Such events though are very rare and do not, in my opinion (and that of many other snow sports researchers) justify a blanket law mandating their use."
Dr Mike Langran
Mike is the ski patrol doctor at CairnGorm Mountain in the Scottish Highlands & a GP (family doctor) at the Aviemore Medical Practice - the only general practice in the UK that treats significant numbers of acute snow sports injuries. Mike is also Director of the Scottish Snow Sports Safety Study, UK secretary of SITEMSH (International Society for Skiing Traumatology and Winter Sports Medicine) as well as both Board member and UK National Secretary of the International Society for Skiing Safety (ISSS). Mike has been active in the field of snow sports injury research and management for almost 20 years now.
For detailed information on the wearing helmets and other snow sport injuries please visit www.ski-injury.com