On the Pulse

Spring Safety-Gear Check-Up: Bike Helmets and Life Jackets

3.26.2024 | Heather Cooper

A little girl rides her bike down a sidewalk wearing an blue helmetSpring is a great time to check your family’s bike helmets and life jackets, to be sure they’re in good shape and still fit properly. Invest a bit of time now, before summer arrives and someone misses out on a spur-of-the-moment bike ride or boating adventure.

On the Pulse shares tips on checking out the condition and fit of your family’s safety gear, and provides resources for learning more about bike and water safety.

Bike Helmet Basics

Inspect bike helmets for cracks and other damage. Discard helmets that are in any way damaged.

Check the fit. A helmet should sit level and rest low on the forehead, one or two finger widths above the eyebrows. The straps should be even and lay flat against the head, forming a ‘Y’ under each earlobe. The buckled chin strap should be just tight enough so that one finger fits between buckle and chin.

If a new helmet is needed, get one that meets safety standards, fits properly — and that your child likes.

Life Jacket Basics

A boy in a red life jacket holds up a fish while sitting in a canoe on a lake with his dadCheck life jackets for wear and tear and throw them away if you find punctures, tears, rot or mildew.

Check for a good fit: when fastened, a jacket should be snug yet comfortable. Lift your child by the jacket’s shoulders and be sure their chin and ears don’t slip down.

Younger kids need a jacket with both a collar for head support and a strap between the legs.

If a new life jacket is needed, be sure it’s U.S. Coast Guard-approved, and that the size and weight specifications match your child. Never buy a life jacket for your child to ‘grow into.’

Get a coupon for 20% off life jackets at Big 5 Sporting Goods stores in Washington and Northern Idaho.