Trivia Challenge: Think You're Savvy About Safety Helmets?

Answer the questions, then check at bottom for the key. For more fun and educational information about horses and horsemanship, read H&R’s ‘The Ride’ newsletter. (Not getting it? Sign up below.)

Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

1. True or false: If your safety helmet falls (because you’ve come off your horse or dropped the helmet on a hard surface), you needn’t replace it unless the fall results in a dent or crack.

T / F

2. True or false: Human heads tend to be either roundish or ovalish, and this variable will affect the proper fitting of a safety helmet.

T / F

3. Which of the below is true, regarding trying on a helmet for size and fit?

A) When you shake your head, you should feel the helmet moving just a smidge.

B) The helmet will become a bit less comfortable as you wear it, but that’s a sign of a good, snug fit.

C) When you rock the helmet forward and back, your eyebrows and skin will not move with it.

D) None of these is true.

4. True or false: An easy and effective way to clean your helmet is to run it through a dishwasher, using limited dishwasher detergent.

T / F

HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)

1. F is correct. You should replace your helmet any time it’s been involved in an impact from a fall. Even if you don’t see a crack or dent, there can still be damage to the internal foam that provides the cushioning that protects your skull and brain.

2. T is correct. Head shape will affect which models of helmets fit best. You can often tell which head shape you have by where you feel pressure from a helmet. If it’s extra-tight on your forehead, you probably have a more oval-shaped head. If it feels tightest on your temples, you likely have a rounder head. Try to find a model that feels snug—like a hug—all around your head without pinching anywhere.

3. D is correct. All these statements are false. What’s true is that a well-fitting helmet: shouldn’t move when you shake your head; should become less noticeable and more comfortable as you wear it; and should cause your eyebrows and skin to move up and down when you rock the helmet forward and back.

4. F is correct. Do NOT wash your helmet in the dishwasher or otherwise submerge it in water. Clean it inside and out by sponging with warm water and mild detergent. Don’t use solvents or other strong cleaners, or place the helmet near high heat.

[Before you go! Find more great tips on safety-helmet fitting and care.]

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