Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 7, 2003 / 9 Menachem-Av, 5763

Lenore Skenazy

Skenazy
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


This helmet thing
has loose ends


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | If you were a complete idiot who always buckled your seat belt behind your back, wouldn't you appreciate someone stopping you to explain, "'Scuse me, bud - that's supposed to go over your lap"?

Sure, you would. Or at least your insurance company would. So how come so many parents sneer at Harry Moskowitz, a Mount Sinai School of Medicine pediatrician, when he stops them in the park to say, "Pardon me - did you know your child's bike helmet is on backward?"

"Usually, they want me to show them how to put it on, and I will," Moskowitz said. "But some people say, 'You're lucky my kid's wearing a helmet,' or, 'It's none of your business.'"

Actually, helmet ed is exactly Moskowitz's business. He's a specialist in childhood injury prevention, and that's what helmets do: They reduce the risk of head injury by 85%. That's why children under age 14 are required to wear them when bicycling in New York City.

The problem is the vast majority of youngsters wear them incorrectly, according to a study reported in Monday's Daily News. While most children no longer consider helmets dorky, 96% put them on too loosely, too far back on their heads - they should sit just two fingers' width above the eyebrows - or backward. Or the helmets are put on wrong by their parents, including me.

God knows, I can't figure out my kids' helmets. There's an "X" on our nicest one - but does it mark the front or the back? The helmet isn't saying.

Donate to JWR

Equally annoying, the straps are eternally twisted. Loosening one side ends up tightening the other. Forget about that nice flat "Y" shape you're supposed to achieve under each ear. One side always looks like it's saving space for a goiter.

Finally, if I snap the chin strap as snugly as you're supposed to, my kids scream, "Too tight!" So, basically, I allow them to ride around with helmets fitting like party hats.

Who is to blame? Me? My squirmy offspring? Or the manufacturers who test the durability of their helmets but not whether a person of average dexterity (and patience) can make the darn things fit?

I'd like to blame the manufacturers, of course. But Bill Fry, CEO of Bell Sports, the nation's largest helmet company, said his company's "Slip, shift and lift" mantra should clear up any problems: Just make sure that the helmet slips on tight, shifts forward over the forehead and, once buckled, can't lift off the head. "If you follow that, there should be no problem."

In any event, Fry said, his company is rolling out some new helmets with a simpler strap system. "And, of course, the most expensive helmets have very easy fit systems."

Maybe it's not practical, but I'd like to see those very easy fit systems on very reasonable helmets very soon. In the meantime, I will take the advice Moskowitz gives the strangers he meets in the park: "Go to a good bike store and ask them to help you fit it."

Will do. And once I figure out which way it goes, I'll scratch out that "X" and write "FRONT!"

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

Up

07/25/03: Hi-tech brain booster — stick it in your ear
07/22/03: Fat label is a loser
07/03/03: Like being stabbed through the heart with a three-tined plastic spoon
06/23/03: 'Like,' like, covers it all
06/16/03: Your career's over when...
06/09/03: FOUND! The Clinton outtakes
05/30/03: Some other tickets I'd like to see
05/28/03: Bottled up by HMOs
05/22/03: We have ways of making you sing
05/20/03: Losing interest in reality
05/13/03: Time & tech wait for no mom
05/08/03: Duck Peking, but not Chinatown
04/29/03: The new SUV - station wagons
04/22/03: Toy alarmists can often be real yo-yos
04/15/03: The Bud Lites of Manhattan
04/01/03: Is that a poem in your pocket?
03/26/03: The view from here --- powerless
03/24/03: Old soldiers never lie
03/18/03: May you choke on your mustache
02/28/03: Iraq needs a dose of reality (TV)
02/20/03: Call the kids the Reheated Generation
02/04/03: Welcome to Mourning TV
01/29/03: Sipping Starbucks on the sly
01/24/03: Golden arches are falling
01/14/03: Designs soar, critics fall flat
01/10/03: Don't smile for the camera
01/06/03: Have they no shame!? My sanity meter is running out
12/31/02: You know, like, resolved
12/23/02: Warning: Art ahead
12/05/02: Hey, boss! Can you hear me now?
12/03/02: Raw & steamy food fight
11/19/02: The new power tie
11/12/02: Googling be gone
11/05/02: Time waits for no blender
10/28/02: As debate rages about 9-11 memorial, a perfect one quietly appears
10/24/02: Your health, their wealth
10/10/02: Sometimes death opens up the door
09/24/02: Reality hits Mickey
09/19/02: Should you report me to the authorities?
09/12/02: War and love: Romance rises from the ashes
08/30/02: If beer is good, spinoffs are great
08/13/02: Braving difficult steps
08/08/02: Can't trust those tourists!
08/02/02: Enquiring about the 'stars'? I already know
07/26/02: Reunions that defy history
07/18/02: Where'd all the logos go?
07/12/02: He's why Boomers leap and twist
07/09/02: Hold on, my molar's ringing
06/25/02: Pitching the fish fork
06/11/02: Water fad is bottled nonsense 06/11/02: 06/07/02: He who brings menus deserves praise
06/04/02: Relish This! The World Trade Center Hot Dog Guy has been found
05/23/02: The return of the tight squeeze
05/15/02: A Little Too Spicy
05/10/02: Okay, start the movie already!
05/07/02: If you win the lottery, you may be out of luck
05/01/02: Driven nuts by drive-time cell phoners
04/16/02: Chats of a lifetime
04/10/02: This Pet Has a Tail to Tell
03/26/02: Hey, New York - Take a Haiku
03/21/02: Your 'victim,' is my 'survivor' is somebody else's 'hero'?
03/19/02: Terrorists, get out your No. 2 pencils
03/14/02: Tribute Has City Back at its Windows
03/06/02: Dumping Ted: Gray Day For the Baby Boomers
02/27/02: Sometimes, lying's the best policy
02/20/02: The Fad That Won't Fade Away
02/12/02: The smoking gun of white-collar crime is making some folks very happy
02/05/02: Exterminators are evolving, too
02/01/02: Don't suffer do drugs
01/22/02: The Blue Light of Happiness
01/18/02: Marlboro's surprising gift to U.S.
01/08/02: Hospitals make me sick
01/02/02: Read-Aloud Resolutions
12/21/01: Nothing's Worse/Than Bad Verse
12/18/01: This Little Dog Bytes
12/13/01: Palm Pilot or Calendar? Paper Wins
12/07/01: The gift of 9/11
12/03/01: Altria Is Really Smokin'

© 2002, New York Daily News