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From football to baseball to hockey, wearing a helmet is essential in keeping your athlete safe. A helmet is an important piece of sporting equipment that should be worn regardless of experience, age, or level of playing. Designed to protect the head from trauma, a helmet significantly reduces the risk of serious head and brain injury. To ensure that your athlete is receiving the proper safety benefits of their helmet, check out the following helmet safety tips.

Though no helmet is concussion-proof, wearing a helmet can prevent deadly injuries. When purchasing a new helmet, read the manufacturer label. Make sure that you follow the guidelines meticulously. If your athlete has a crash on the field, make sure that the helmet has not been compromised. Sometimes the helmet will appear fine, but the interior has damage, so do a full assessment.

Every helmet should fit snug. You don’t want a helmet to slide from front-to-back or from side-to-side. The chinstrap is designed to keep the helmet from wiggling.

Never sit or lean on a helmet

Clean the helmet regularly with warm water and mild detergent—do not soak any part of the helmet or put it close to high heat.

Store helmets out of direct sunlight, never in a car, and always somewhere that’s not too cold or too hot.

In addition to these general helmet tips, there are certain safety rules for specific helmets.

Batter’s Helmet

When buying a batter’s helmet, make sure that your athlete is properly measured. Use a soft tape measurer or a string that can be measured. Having the exact measurement will help as you look at different brands. The general fit of a batter’s helmet should not have any spaces between the pads and their head. And remember, nothing should be worn under the helmet—no baseball cap, no handkerchief, etc. You should also make sure that your athlete can see straight forward and side-to-side. Their vision shouldn’t be compromised.

Football Helmet

A football helmet should fit your athlete snug, no spaces between the pads and their head. To take care of their helmet, make sure it’s not cracked or damaged. No padding or parts should be missing. If you need to alter the helmet, the helmet is not effective and it’s time to replace it.

Hockey Helmet

A facemask or cage should fit with specific dimensions—no more than one inch from an athlete’s face. The chin cup should be centered under their chin. And, remember, this specific type of helmet may be different than other helmets, so get them measured according to the specific type of helmet they’ll be wearing.