A hat is not a helmet - winter sport safety

Here in Canada, we are lucky that there are a lot of activities for us to enjoy in the great outdoors during the winter months. With snow comes many outdoor activities, such as snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, and tobogganing. At Findlay, we want to make sure you can keep the fun activities going all winter long by ensuring the whole family stays safe by wearing a properly fitted helmet that's correct for the sport you are participating in.

It’s reported that head injuries cause 87.5% of skiing and snowboarding deaths.
Staying Alive: Industrial study

Here are some helpful tips to ensure you and your family stay protected all winter long:

Bike helmets are for cycling… not winter sports

A common mistake that many make during winter activities is using bike helmets for extreme sports. Bike helmets are designed to withstand single minor impacts. They are not intended to protect the back of the head if you fall back on a slippery surface or frequent crashes that may occur when skating. A safety-approved hockey or snowboarding helmet is recommended as it can withstand more than one minor blow.

Look for the seal of approval

When protecting yourself from a potential head injury, always check that your helmet is certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), ASTM or Snell. An unapproved helmet is not going to protect you. If you are wearing an unapproved helmet, you may as well be wearing a toque. A CSA approved helmet protects you from ice, snow and other slippery terrains.

Did you know? Downhill skiers can reach speeds of 45km/hr, and hop-on sleds can go as fast as 35km/hr!

Out with the old

The best practice is to replace your winter sports helmet at least once every five years or sooner when showing signs of wear or damage. Most ski and snowboard helmets are designed to withstand a single blow. If you have fallen on the slopes or taken a nasty tumble, it's time to replace your helmet.

When it comes to hockey, these helmets are manufactured differently due to the nature of the sport. They are constructed to withstand multiple minor impacts. It is important to replace your hockey helmet after any significant crash or fall.

Fit where it counts

Wearing properly fitted and approved helmets can minimize your risk of a concussion and other head injuries, but the risk from physically demanding sports is never zero. Even with proper safety equipment, you can still get injured. If you suspect a concussion or other injury, it's time to immediately to stop the activity and seek medical attention.

Snowboard helmets should fit snugly but comfortably. Pads should touch the cheeks and forehead. The bottom of the front edge of the helmet should sit two finger widths above the eyebrows and no more than one finger should fit under the chin strap. The helmet should never touch the nape of the neck; if it does, it’s not fitted properly.

To fit a hockey helmet, open the helmet to its largest setting and place the helmet on your head. The helmet should contact the top of your head and sit one finger width above the eyebrow. Adjust the fit until it's comfortably snug. Allow no more than one finger width under the chin strap. To properly attach a faceguard, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
(Fit Tips courtesy of the Hamilton Helmet Initiative)

Wear a hockey helmet for:

  • Ice skating
  • Hockey
  • Ringette
  • Tobogganing

Wear a skiing/snowboarding helmet for:

  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-country skiing

When enjoying your time outdoors, always be prepared for the unknown, especially when participating in winter activities. By preparing yourself and your family this winter with appropriate and properly fitting protective headgear, you can reduce the risk of a potential head injury and safely enjoy Canada's winter activities all season long.

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