“Did she wear her helmet?”
It was the first question I asked when my husband and youngest came into the house.
“Yes,” he explained grimly. “She was the only kid at the birthday wearing one, but she wore it.”
He walked past me shaking his head. My little one danced around me, chattering about the party.
“It was so COOL,” she exclaimed. “And I’m really good at skating now! Next time I won’t have to wear a helmet!”
I didn’t say anything, but inside I was cringing. I’d fight that battle another day.
It’s no secret that I am overprotective and always have been. However, since my own health issues I’ve actually adopted a more laid back attitude. I want my kids to have fun without worrying too much. I want them to trust themselves and the world. But there is a limit to my new attitude: Anything that could give them a head injury.
Three months ago I joined a Facebook group for people with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and their caregivers. (Yes, concussions are considered TBIs.) Anyway, last week someone posted a thread asking how people got their injuries. There were several common themes in the answers:
- motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents
- military incidents such as mortar blasts
- horseback riding
- slipping on ice
As I sat there reading the hundreds of responses I had a hard time not worrying about my kids. Most of the car accident victims were just that: victims. Drunk, drugged or texting people slammed into their cars. And so — when I remembered that my daughter was going to an ice skating party it was hard not to think what if. What if she slipped and fell? What if she hit her head? I became Overprotective Mommy again, making her wear a ski helmet.
I think I did the right thing, though. Skating can be dangerous. According to a recent story in the Mercury News, “Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek told TMZ Sports before the Sochi Games that he had suffered at least 15 concussions in his career. Rising U.S. star Joshua Ferris suffered three concussions in a three-week period in 2015 and then retired last year at age 21 because of potential risks.”
The Journal of Pediatrics has even taken a pretty strong stand on the issue: “The proportion of head injuries among ice-skaters in this study was greater than that observed for participants in other types of skating, for which helmet use is recommended and often required. Children should wear a helmet during recreational ice-skating. Mandatory helmet use by pediatric ice-skaters at indoor rinks should be implemented.”
The point of this rambling blog? Well, I think it is important to let my kids do more and trust that they will be safe, but when research and experts says there’s a danger, it’s okay to put safety measures in place. What’s your take?