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"A Helmet Might Have Saved Her Life"

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Rachel Sarah: The day before Natasha Richardson's tragic ski accident, I took my third grader to the pediatrician for her annual check-up.

Kid riding a bike wearing a helmet

My daughter's doctor went through her usual run-through of questions to "test" my 8-year-old (I always appreciate this doctor's concern!):

• "What's your address?"

• "What's your mom's cell phone number?"

• "What kinds of chores do you do around the house?"

My kid was doing just fine:

"Do you always wear a helmet when you're riding a bike?" the doctor asked.


But then, the doctor wanted to know: "Do you wear always helmet when you're roller skating?"

My kid: "Sometimes."

The doctor looked at me. Oy, the guilt.

When we go to the Farmer's Market -- my daughter usually roller skates there as I jog alongside her - I don't always insist on the helmet.

Then the doctor asked about my kid's Heelys, those shoes with the wheels on the bottom. They're not allowed at school, so my daughter puts them on every afternoon when I pick her up.

Bad mom. Talk about second-guessing myself!

Yet, I've never seen a kid wearing a helmet when "heelying." Have you?

Add to this the fact that my daughter ice-skates every weekend. At least once a month, I've seen some kid fall on the ice. Minutes later, firefighters pull up and rush in to check for a concussion.

Sure, I've seen some of the little tots wearing helmets on the rink, but never any of the big girls! And how about skateboarding? And skiing?

After Natasha Richardson's skiing accident, neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Tator spoke out about the importance of wearing helmets.

"Helmets are important. A helmet might have saved her life," said Dr. Tator, the founding president of Think First Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries. "We need to stress helmets for all skiers -- all ages," he said.

So, tell us, parents:

Do you always insist that your kids wear helmets when they're skiing, snowboarding, roller skating....?

next: Mom of Special Needs Child Sounds Off
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cheryl March 21, 2009, 5:27 PM

Maybe our children should wear helmets for walking on the sidewalk and playing on the playground. Kids hit their heads doing those things also.

K&C's mom March 21, 2009, 10:57 PM

What about in the house? My 3 year old falls and hits his head all the time. They are getting over the top with this!!

Kara March 22, 2009, 12:17 AM

When my child was first pulling himself up and learning to toddle along he wore a soft helmet all the time. Other mothers thought it was silly but my best friend is a social worker and she thought it was brilliant. She told me she couldn’t count the number of kids that incur serious head injuries in the regular course of the day. If it doesn’t happen to you then you are lucky but honestly we live in a society where people thing EVERYTHING happens to SOMEONE ELSE. Guess what? It can happen to you or your child and what seemed silly before the head injury seems like such a simple thing to have done after. Going overboard? Those that have buried a child because of a “simple” head injury would not agree. And it should just be common practice to wear a helment when you have wheels on your feet.

Suzee March 22, 2009, 1:44 AM

Natasha Richardson’s case was tragic, but VERY rare. Just like bike helmets where it’s mandatory for kids, but optional for adults, she might have chosen not to wear one, and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Whether on the ski slopes or roller skating, the bigger risk is broken bones in the limbs. We as a society are going to make it so that by the time our kids have children, they will be wearing helmets while riding in their car seats.

F.A. Hutchison April 20, 2009, 4:35 AM

Maybe, maybe not! Might have killed her quicker. I’m sure bicycle helmet manufacturers were behind this article!
I had two very bad bicycle accidents in Kathmandu, Nepal, years ago, but survived without wearing a helmet. Now, I wear one, but not to protect my head, but to have the deceased owner with me!

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