NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and New Jersey's county and municipal Consumer Affairs Local Assistance (CALA) offices today continued the commemoration of Summer Safety Week with tips on helmet and sports safety for New Jersey residents.
"This basic advice is an important part of our reminder to make this summer safe and fun in New Jersey," Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said. "Whatever your favored summer sport – bike riding or skating, team sports or motorcycling – wear a helmet to protect against the risk of serious brain injury and death."
According to the CPSC's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), there were approximately 556,660 bicycle and bicycle accessory-related injuries; 466,492 football-related injuries; 265,471 baseball and softball-related injuries;.114,120 skateboard-related injuries; 92,781 injuries related to lacrosse, rugby and other ball games; 90,434 injuries related to skating and in-line skating, and 64,733 hockey-related injuries. Many injuries associated with these sports can be prevented by properly wearing the right kind of helmet.
Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that every $12 spent on a bicycle helmet for a child ages 3 to 14 generates $580 in cost-saving benefits to society; and every dollar spent on a bicycle helmet saves approximately $30 in indirect medical and other costs.
Helmet Safety Tips and Information:
- Helmets can reduce the risk of severe head injuries, and even save lives, when used correctly. During a typical fall or collision, they will absorb much of the energy of impact. However, helmets have not been proven to prevent concussions – and consumers should beware of any claims that a particular helmet can prevent concussions.
- All helmets are not the same. If you wear a bicycle helmet when playing football, or vice versa, your head will not be adequately protected; each activity is associated with different types of impact, and requires helmets specifically designed for those impacts.
- Different safety standards apply to most types of helmets. For example, bicycle and motorcycle helmets must comply with mandatory federal safety standards. Helmets for many other recreational activities are subject to voluntary safety standards. Helmets that meet these standards are designed and tested to protect the user from receiving a skull fracture or sever brain injury.
- Helmet safety requires that you achieve a proper fit and wear the helmet correctly. The helmet should be both comfortable and snug. If it has a chin strap, make sure it is securely fastened.
- Know when to replace your helmet. Single-impact helmets, such as bicycle helmets, are designed to withstand only one impact – and must be replaced after such an occurrence, even if they do not appear damaged. Football and ice hockey helmets are multiple-impact helmets – but they may need to be replaced after a severe impact if the helmet has visible signs of damage. In all cases, it may be prudent to replace any helmet within five to 10 years of purchase. Consult the manufacturer's instructions for guidance on when the helmet should be replaced.
- Remember that New Jersey law requires anyone under 17 years of age to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, skateboard, roller skates or inline skates.
New Jersey's CALA offices work with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to enforce New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, and related statutes and regulations, in each county that includes a CALA office. Consumers can file complaints by contacting their local CALA office or the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of marketplace abuse, can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.