Now that you have helmets for your students, are you sure that you are fitting them properly? With so many styles to choose from, is fitting more difficult than in the early days of the ASTM/SEI helmet? No, because now, fortunately, all approved helmets are made to meet the same standard.

FITTING: Long hair should be secured at the nape of the neck rather than on top of the head. Place the helmet on the head so that the angle of the brim is about 10 degrees above a horizontal plane beginning at the back of the helmet. The helmet should fit equally all the way around the head without exposing the forehead or obscuring the vision. If the scalp moves when you rock the helmet up and down and back and forth and the helmet still feels comfortable to the wearer, then it fits. The helmet must be fitted with the chin strap securely fastened. NOTE: the chin strap should be snug and this must be checked by hand.

CHECKING AND REPLACING: Manufacturers do not always agree on when a helmet should be inspected for damage. Bruce Blake of Lexington Safety Products says to send the helmet in any time the helmet sustains a blow that can be detected on the outside. However, Frank Plastino of International Riding Helmets requests that their helmets be sent back for inspection any time they touch the ground in a fall. Both Companies will replace the helmet if it’s protective qualities have been compromised. Always send the helmet back to the manufacturer and not to the private laboratories that some tack shops are recommending.

Remember that in order to detect external signs of damage it is necessary to keep the helmet clean. In most cases this can be done with mild soap and water – no solvents, please.

Contributed By: Jan Dawson (President, AAHS)

Reprinted with permission of the copyright holder and the American Association for Horsemanship Safety.  P.O. Box 39, Fentress, TX 78622.