Research finds ski helmets lessens severity of injuries

February 27, 2017, Children's Hospital Colorado

New research from Children's Hospital Colorado (Children's Colorado) focused on helmet safety and injury prevention among young skiers and snowboarders. The research found that children who wear a helmet while skiing or snowboarding sustain less severe head injuries and lower overall injury severity, compared to children who do not wear a helmet. The research was published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery in February 2017.

The research was led by Steven Moulton MD, medical director of the trauma program at Children's Colorado. The study analyzed 16 years of level I data from Children's Colorado and included ages 3-17 years old who sustained an injury while skiing or snowboarding. In addition to proving the benefits of helmet use, Dr. Moulton found that young Colorado residents were nearly twice as likely to be wearing a helmet at the time of injury, compared to visitors from out-of-state.

"Many Colorado parents may not view these findings as a surprise. It is imperative, however, that we broaden the conversation so that parents who encourage their children to ski or snowboard know that wearing a helmet is protective, but does not excuse recklessness," said Dr. Moulton. "Parents must teach their kids to enjoy snow sports within their own safety limits. Wearing a helmet lowers the risk of sustaining a serious head injury—but does not prevent other serious bodily injury."

Explore further: Winter's no reason to hibernate: head outside for some sports fun

More information: Melissa Milan et al. Helmet use and injury severity among pediatric skiers and snowboarders in Colorado, Journal of Pediatric Surgery (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2016.11.001

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