Crash testing toboggan helmets

Canadians are called “crazy Canucks” for a reason. In  winter , even children take sizeable risks by tobogganing without a helmet.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, urges parents to make  sure their children are wearing protective headgear to avoid life-threatening injuries.

“In Canada alone there are over 20,000 sliding injuries a year, with close to 2,000 of them being head injuries,” says Blaine Hoshizaki, the study’s co-author and director of the Neurotrauma Impact Laboratory at the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Michael Vassilyadi from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute and researchers from the University of Ottawa tested which helmet was best suited for children tobogganing.

The study tested hockey, bicycle and alpine ski helmets and how effectively they protect children seven years old and younger in tobogganing situations.

The researchers concludued the most protective choice for low-speed tobogganing is a hockey helmet, which has the additional benefit of a facemask. Bicycle helmets protected best in high-speed situations. The alpine ski helmet did not perform well in either low or high speed impacts.

Although no one helmet beats the others in all categories, any one of the three is better than wearing none, Vassilyadi said in a press release from CHEO.

“The bottom line is that all helmets are protective and young children should be wearing helmets during winter activities.”

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