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T O P I C    R E V I E W
rbibber Posted - 12/18/2007 : 4:07:59 PM
If there is anyone out there who thinks they don't need to put a helmet on their kids read this!

This past weekend I took my 10 yr old son Dustin out for some tandem sledding. I wanted to give him some practice on the runners before his first junior class race next month. We were using 7 of our slower dogs - some of which were on my 6-dog pro team last year. The sleds were arranged in tandem, with a line going from the gangline, under my sled and between my legs, to Dustin's sled. The trail was 4 miles long with a large recangular loop and 3 90 degree turns to the right and one to the left. Most of the turns were nice and wide, but one was sharper than I had thought. The dogs cut the turn on the inside and accellerated out of the turn. I had both feet dragging trying to slow them down (couln't use the drag mat thanks to the rope to the second sled). Dustin's sled whipped around suddenly like the tip of a whip and he went sailing headfirst into the snow on the side of the trail. I looked back and he wasn't moving. I hooked down the dogs and ran to him. He was ok but there was a large scratch on the top of his helmet where it hit a rock under the snow. That helmet probably saved his life.
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powderhound66 Posted - 12/23/2007 : 6:09:36 PM
I am 14 years old, and i have been mushing since i was 11 and i have never worn a helmet. I have also been riding horses by myself since i was about 5 or 6, without helmets. I have been dumped off the sled and bucked off many times and i have never had anything happen to me, not saying somethign WONT happen but nothign ever has. I can see why some people would wear them, but i dont see the NECESSITY of them. I agre with onehappyautumn with the downfalls of them
Sledkids Posted - 12/23/2007 : 3:39:14 PM
The disadvantage of bike helmets is that it doesn't take much of an impact for them to need replacing. We would have had to replace a bike helmet several times by now just because of tip overs and things. The snowboard helmet we got for our son is certified multiple impact so if he just has a minor crash we can still use it. Also, the bike helmet is a little tough to fit goggles around.
BAM Posted - 12/21/2007 : 06:51:34 AM
I wear my bike helmet in the fall, and my partners with a hat under if when it gets cold. He has a big head :). To be fair, I also take the velcro padding out. I figure the hat adds padding and with adjustment, it works great. I think I would prefer a snowboarding type helmet for sledding. I think we are more prone to side head trauma (smacking trees) which that type of helmet would help protect.
csimmons21210 Posted - 12/20/2007 : 1:50:36 PM
We use a combination of snowboarding and bike helmets. DH and I both wear snowboarding helmets. We have loaner bike helmets for the kids that we use during our programs. We wear the helmets and we require the kids that do our dog sledding and dryland dog sledding programs to wear them while on the rig or in the sled.

I love my snowboarding helmet and I am not a big helmet fan. DH had to drag me kicking and screaming into the ski shop to get a helmet. We tried both bike and ski/snowboard helmets but I liked the fit on the snowboard helmets much better. Now that I have the helmet though I love the thing. It's warm and comfortable. It has removable ear flaps that keep my ears warm when it is cold (but I can still hear through them) and it has vents that can be opened or closed depending on the type of weather. It also has a strap to keep my goggles in place for when it's snowing. It has a second set of ear flaps that are specifically designed to be used with an ipod although I have not tried them out as I like to be able to hear what's happening around me while out on the trail with the dogs. For reference, I have a k2 women's helmet that was about 90-100 bucks. Oh, and my favorite feature is the darned thing fits around my pony tail or braid.

Catherine Benson
Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC
www.marylanddogsledding.com
sleddogpodcast Posted - 12/19/2007 : 6:27:10 PM
I have 3 girls that run here and they all wear Skiing helmets. I thinks a great idea. Especially for the younger mushers. Plus they stay warmer in them. A thin hat/turtle combination underneath keeps them toasty.
Karal Posted - 12/19/2007 : 10:10:12 AM
I feel the helmet debate is on the same level as the seatbelt debate.
I myself have not worn a helmet, but not to say it hasn't crossed my mind, when running. A helmet will not save you in every situation, but could save you in some situations. When my folks had a car accident, the seat belt didn't save my dad, but, the seat belt surely saved my mom. I have a good friend that would have been dead if he had been wearing a seatbelt. A helmet saved my nephew from what could have been a serious accident when on his bike. His helmet cracked, could have been his head. I know of 2 people that got tossed from horses, they had helmets on, but still died. Are helmets a good idea, yes, my son wears one when riding his bike, and on horses. If he still likes running dogs when he is old enough to run jr class, he might be wearing a helmet then too.
GA Musher Posted - 12/19/2007 : 09:51:45 AM
I always wear a skateboarding helmet when I go dryland mushing. If I'm on a scooter, I wear knee and elbow pads (also designed for use with skateboards). Those knee pads are great - there are some pretty bad scrapes on them that I am very glad are there and NOT on my knees!

onehappyautumn Posted - 12/19/2007 : 09:33:04 AM
I have very mixed feelings about helmets.

Working in a nursing home years ago I saw a woman who was hit by a drunk driver. She was on her bike. Her helmet shattered and took out a good portion of her left frontal lobe. She was alive in her body but unable to do anything but focus on you with her eyes and cry.

I threw my helmet away that day. I would rather die then live like that.

Seven years ago I had a surgery go wrong that left me with nerve damage in my left hip. During my recovery period I chose to wear the helmet again while on the bike given that I had the tendence to fall off at the least little bump.

Now that I am almost completly recovered I haven't been wearing the helmet.

I know helmet technology has come a long, long way. But the image of the woman staring at me and crying is burned in my brain. That is my biggest fear - ending up like that. When I had my first cart experience with the dogs and I thought we were going to wreck I did think to myself - probably should be wearing a helmet for this one...

I think about wearing a helmet often... but it terrifies me as well.

While I choose not to wear one, due to my own personal demons, I do believe kids should with their softer skulls. Adults are free to choose.
rbibber Posted - 12/19/2007 : 08:40:33 AM
My son has a Pryme ski helmet with goggles.

The problem with bicycle helmets is that they don't keep your head warm and you really can't wear a hat under them. The ski helmets were designed to be worn in winter and have insulated earflaps.

I wear eye protection myself. Ski goggles in the winter and atv goggles in the fall. Took one too many ice-balls to the eye.

Woofy Posted - 12/18/2007 : 10:51:53 PM
THe holes in the sides of the snowboarding helmets depend on what one you pick. There's tons of designs and such. I have one, and I have a bike helmet for bikejouring. I also wear knee and elbow pads, and lately biking gloves when I bikejour. Haven't actually sledded yet...
Dori Posted - 12/18/2007 : 10:45:19 PM
My grandsons live in their bike helmets in the summer, but come winter they stop using them as they couldn't get a hat under them. Every time I watch them slide down a sledding hill I cringe. So, for Christmas this year they are getting winter helmets. I think they are ski or snowboard helmets, but they have insulation around their ears. They will also use them when dog sledding.
Admin Posted - 12/18/2007 : 10:41:19 PM
Do the snowboarding helmets have holes on the side or are they completely closed?

There was some concern that branches/sticks might find their way through various openings in the helmet.

Appreciate all the input.
EllieRose Posted - 12/18/2007 : 9:54:34 PM
Never used to wear a helmet either. After deciding to adventure into dryland racing this year I had to get one. I used it in the race and doing some training to get used to it. Three weeks ago out with a yearling bikejoring I went over the handlbars. I had the wind knocked out of me and scraped my knee. After catching my breath we headed home. It wasn't until two days later when I was heading out for a run and grabbed my helmet that I found the big crack in it. Sure makes you think what could have happened with out it. I haven't been out with a bike since- have to replace the helmet first (and it snowed). I haven't decided on a helmet for running the sled but it is definetly something I've put more emphasis on it as I prep for snow runs.
musher6 Posted - 12/18/2007 : 9:43:04 PM
i never used one and decided i had better start now with a 6 dog team and only being 15 so i had a hockey helmet from when i played (it was one of the nice ones, though im sure they have better ones since 4 years ago) but all i did was make it a little larger to it fit snugly over my hat and it was really nice the mask kept crap out of my face and it fit well and it straps on well and easy to take on and off and sorta nice to be able to lift the mask to get it out of the way but leave the helmet on!

ps. glad everyone is alright! and lesson learned!
MegC Posted - 12/18/2007 : 8:29:58 PM
I've used a bike helmet for years, mostly as a 'light mount' since I use a cycling light. They are light, comfortable, and you can pick a certified model up cheaply at places like Costco.

I always wear one on the scooter since it's fast and nuts... haven't worn one while running on snow except at night when I needed the light. But maybe it's time to reconsider. Years ago a helmet saved my life when a suicidal cat crossed in front of me while doing at least 30mph on a mountain bike. I was in the ER until 1AM getting extensive road rash cleaned up and an elbow stitched... but the chunk of foam barely hanging in the back of the lid after bouncing on pavement with my head in it was testimony that the evening could have turned out MUCH worse.

While we're at it: Everyone needs eye protection also. On the Cascade Quest eons ago I had a chunk of ice fly up into my eye and it took at least a week for the 'star effect' to go away, especially when looking at lights at night. These days I don't run dogs without either sunglasses or those super cheap clear safety glasses from the hardware store.

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