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Bike helmets need to be purchased every 3 years?

Original post made by Mom of 3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 16, 2013

As we were choosing a new bike helmet for my daughter, a customer told us styrofoam breaks down so helmets need to be purchased every three years to be sure the helmet is safe. And a helmet which is dropped on the ground is compromised also. So how many helmets are actually safe on our childrens heads, really?! I have three children and no bike shop has ever mentioned this. Is it true?

Comments (9)

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Posted by rule of thumb
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jun 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm

3 years is a rule of thumb, based on the typical abuse that children give to their helmets (locking them with their bikes at outdoor bike racks, leaving them inside overheated cars, storing them inside smog filled garages, etc). If you take good care of your helmet, it can last much longer.


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Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Jun 17, 2013 at 7:30 am

@rule of thumb - better case scenario... I see so many kids without a helmet. Occasionally, I take the liberty to comment, suggest wearing a helmet. My recommendations were rarely appreciated.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2013 at 7:44 am

Wow, 3 years! That's a long life for a bike helmet. Ours have rarely lasted a year! They get lost and mislaid, the covering cracks, water pools in them, they are used as Frisbees and other playthings, and sometimes they actually get outgrown too. We have had to buy them much more often - possibly every six months. I think boys probably abuse them much more than girls, but I could be wrong.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

The guy and these trolls probably worked for or have stock in helmet companies.

Look at the football industry though, they have done all kinds of tests and the experts have been asking for years for them to update and improve standards - they don't bother. If you want to try to chase the perfect helmet in the perfect condition and when someone knocks on it with their knuckles or it sees the outside sun replace it - be my guest.

Trying to make people afraid and fall in line for anything for their children is the number one form or terrorism in the country.

Just think. when was the last time you heard of a serious injury happening to someone who was wearing a helmet, and then extrapolate that to how many of those helmets were over 3 years old. Having any helmet one helps. Maybe if you are going to plow head on into a brick wall it might make a 1% difference if your helmet is less than 3 years old ... maybe not.


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Posted by My own helmet
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2013 at 11:55 am

Four years ago I was sideswiped by a car on Waverley St. This caused me to fall and hit the side of my head, which in turn caused a long crack in the nearly-new helmet. My head was the least of my injuries...my right elbow was broken and my right knee had a hairline fracture.

However, the paramedic on the scene told me I should replace the helmet before getting on a bicycle again!


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm

"My own helmet, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood " - My skull would need to be cracked before I would think to ride a bicycle with a cracked helmet. I don't think anyone would defend or suggest riding with a defective helmet under any conditions.

The issue brought up was, does styrofoam deteriorate to where it will not do the job of cushioning one's head in crash while wearing a helmet - I seriously doubt it, and if it does, styrofoam in helmets have been around long enough for the helmet makers to find a new better more durable material.

Helmets are so cheap to make, some injection molded plastic and foam with straps that they must be some of the post profitable items sold in sports stores ... maybe someone is trying to drum up more business.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Haha, "CrescentParkAnon", I'm thinkin' the same thoughts!


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Posted by NotGonnaFallForIt
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2013 at 11:08 pm

And, according to your mechanic, you need to change your car's oil every 3000 miles. And if you buy one new tire, you need to buy all four. Do people really still believe these things?

Take care of your helmet and it will last for decades.


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Posted by Mom of 3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Oh, duh, I Googled it and found the guidelines and the answer is no, it'll last longer than 3 years.

Web Link


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