Sports and Recreation Safety

Helmets

It's your Head. Use it.

Wheeled activities are a great way to get active, have fun and stay healthy. Remember to stay safe while having fun. A head injury can permanently change the way a child walks, talks, plays and thinks. Wearing a helmet will help protect your head.

Children and youth under 18 are required by law to wear a helmet when cycling in Ontario. Toronto Public Health encourages all people participating in wheeled activities (bikes, scooters, inline skates/roller blades, skateboards) to wear a helmet, regardless of age. 

Wear a helmet and be a good role model!

Fitting a Helmet Properly

All helmets fit differently. Here are a few tips to help you properly fit a helmet.

For bicycle helmets

Also worn for in-line skating, riding a non-motorized scooter or when using shoes with wheels. Know the 2-V-1 rule.  

picture showing rule 1: "2"

"2"

  • Put the helmet level on the head, not tilting backward or forward
  • Helmet should cover the top of the head and sit 2 finger-widths above your eyebrows
  • Adjust the fit of the helmet by adding or repositioning the foam pads
  • Move the dial or other fitting devices so it fits snug

picture showing rule 2: "V"

"V"

  • The side straps should meet to form a V below each ear
  • If your helmet tilts back, tighten the front straps. If your helmet tilts forward, tighten the back straps




picture showing rule 3: "1""1"

  • Fit 1 finger between chin and fastened strap






For all other sport helmets

  • Put the helmet level on the head, not tilting backward or forward
  • Adjust the side and chin straps according to the manufacturer's instructions

All helmets should fit close to your head. Shake your head up and down and side to side. The helmet should not move.

Learn More About Helmets

ExpandTypes of Helmets

Single impact helmets

picture of a children wearing a single impact helmet

  • These helmets are designed to protect the head from a single hard fall
  • Be sure to replace helmets after a crash or hard hit. Even if you cannot see any damage, they should be replaced
  • Bicycle helmets are an example of a single impact helmet and can be used for bicycling, in-line skating, riding a non-motorized scooter or when using shoes with wheels

Multi-impact helmets

picture of a children wearing a multiple-impact helmet

  • These helmets are designed to protect the head from more than one crash
  • Hockey helmets are an example of a multi-impact helmet and can be used for hockey, ice-skating and tobogganing

Multi-sport helmets

  • Multi-sport helmet meets safety standards for more than one activity
  • Be sure the multi-sport helmet clearly states what activity it has been tested for. If you are not sure, contact the manufacturer

ExpandHow to Choose the Right Helmet

  • Helmets should be purchased according to the child's age. If a child is under one year of age, please check with a doctor or other health care provider
  • Try to purchase a brightly coloured and reflective helmet that will be easy for drivers to see
  • When choosing a helmet, look for a safety standards label. An approved standards label certifies that the helmet design has been tested by the manufacturer to protect your head
  • Helmets sold in Canada are certified by:
    • CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
    • CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
    • Snell (Snell Memorial Foundation)

For more information on choosing the right helmet for your activity, visit Parachute Canada.

ExpandPurchase and Care

  • Never buy a used helmet
  • Never use a bike helmet that has been in a crash, even if you can't see any damage
  • Replace a helmet:
    • At least every five years
    • If you see any damage like cracks, worn or torn straps
  • Do not store helmets in direct sunlight or in a hot vehicle

ExpandSafer Helmet Use

picture showing a woman helping a girl to put on a helmet

  • Caregivers should help children practise putting on their helmet and check the fit each time. Know the 2-V-1 rule
  • To prevent choking never let children wear a helmet on playground equipment
  • Avoid putting stickers on a helmet. Stickers can interfere with the helmet's ability to slide smoothly in the case of a crash. Stickers can also weaken the outer shell
  • Do not wear a baseball cap, bandana, hair clip, or ponytail under a helmet, as it could change the way a helmet fits
  • Be consistent. Follow a "No Helmet, No Bike" rule. Do the same for other activities/sports