Ice skating hasn’t always been a recreational activity, getting its start as a form of transportation thousands of years ago, when ice skates were produced from animal bones to improve the speed of transportation over large bodies of frozen water.
Of course, it couldn’t always remain a method of transportation, as it’s just too much fun to ignore the recreational possibilities of skating across the ice to enjoy the feel of the wind, speed, and freedom.
Should you wear a helmet ice skating is a worthy question to ponder before heading off on your skates. The natural choice is to enjoy the full sensory input of flying across the ice without the restriction of a helmet, which is why you see so many people ice skating without them.
It’s also the same reason that many motorcyclists and skateboarders don’t like to wear helmets. However, is it a necessary safety component?
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Should You Wear A Helmet Ice Skating?
Ice skating is one of those recreational and competitive activities that have no helmet standards. The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) has never released a standard for helmets when it comes to ice skating. Whether or not you decide to wear one is entirely up to your good judgment.
However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t. It’s like wiring in a new hood fan in your kitchen. Should you wear gloves? Absolutely. But there is no law, regulation, or standard that exists for a homeowner installing a hood fan; it’s just common sense at the end of the day.
One common complaint that you hear from recreational ice skaters is that helmets look stupid. Well, sure they do. No one wants to be the one person skating around the rink looking like a colorful mushroom and standing out from the crowd.
The thing is, it’s better to look like a mushroom than lose your footing and headbutt the ice. Concussions are a serious issue, as the recent hoopla in the NFL has shown. It’s especially something that you don’t want your kids to endure, as their brains are still developing.
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Should My Child Wear A Helmet Ice Skating?
When you take a look at the numbers, there is no way that you could conclude that ice skating is a more dominant activity, in terms of participation, when compared to skateboarding, rollerskating, and in-line skating.
However, more head injuries result from ice skating than any of the others. The only logical conclusion is that your kids, and all children that ice skate for that matter, should definitely wear a helmet.
“The proportion of head injuries among ice-skaters in this study was greater than that observed for participants in other types of skating, for which helmet use is recommended and often required. Children should wear a helmet during recreational ice-skating.”American Academy of Pediatrics
Not only do kids suffer head injuries in a larger proportion than the others, but they also suffer from lacerations to the head at nearly double the rate of skateboarders.
IMPORTANT: How to Know Your Helmet Size
It’s a strange phenomenon when you consider that skateboarders are more likely to fall on concrete and asphalt, while ice skaters only fall on ice, yet suffer more lacerations but, there it is.
Do You Need A Helmet For Ice Skating?
TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) are common enough with skateboarders that they are largely encouraged to wear helmets. Despite the fact that most skateboarders are kids, they seem to understand that and reject rebellion in favor of safety, as they are commonly seen with helmets on their heads.
Solid ice is not going to be any different, in terms of impact injury, than headbutting concrete at a violent angle. While you’re more than welcome to take the risk, it’s highly advisable that you put a helmet on your and your kid’s heads before you hit the ice.
You don’t “need” pads when you play backyard, tackle football, however, you have to be willing to accept responsibility when someone gets seriously hurt.
What Kind Of Helmet Should I Wear For Ice Skating?
Since there is no helmet standard for ice skaters, you have to go off of what is the most advisable helmet to wear and a little bit of common sense. For instance, hockey players wear helmets, and granted, they need protection from a whole lot more than falling on ice, but it’s a good place to start.
Fortunately, there is a standard when it comes to hockey helmets, and the CPSC recommends the NOCSAE ND030 spec or the ASTM F1045 spec. All you need to do is look for the certification sticker or stamp on the hockey helmets that you are shopping for.
However, there are more than just ice hockey helmets to look for online or in-store. The following helmet certifications would also be acceptable:
- ASTM F1447: This is a bicycling and roller skating specification but should be perfectly fine for ice skating.
- ASTM F1492: This is the standard spec for skateboarders and trick roller skating and it conforms to Test Method F1146.
- EN 1078: This is a European cycling standard but is also used in helmets for roller skaters.
All Things Considered
Just because it’s not concrete doesn’t mean that the impact is any less. Impacting ice will effectively play badminton with your brain just as well as a concrete impact will.
While no one is going to twist your arm about it, you should definitely consider wearing a helmet while ice skating and you should make it imperative for your kids.