Safety is a parent's number one concern when it comes to their kids and sports. Providing your kids with safety equipment is not enough. You must be sure that the safety equipment you provide your child is properly fitted in order for it to reduce risk of injuries. Football, baseball, softball and lacrosse players must be fitted for protective gear such as helmets and protective pads.
According to a recent news release from the Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, wearing a properly fitted football helmet can reduce your risk of a loss of consciousness concussion by as much as 82%! Each manufacturer provides instructions on how to fit the helmet but if you have misplaced these instructions and need some general guidelines, they are provided below. You may also be able to contact the manufacturer of your child's helmet for more precise and detailed instruction for the exact helmet model your child wears as well as for sizing information. If you get your gear Epic Sports, the manufacturer’s sizing chart is listed on the product page, (just scroll down).
Selecting the correct size of helmet is the first step in having a properly fitted football helmet. To figure out which size your child needs, start by measuring the circumference of your child's head around the widest point which is generally about an inch above the eyebrows with a cloth measuring tape. Refer to the size chart that accompanies the helmet model that your child has or is looking to purchase. Once you have the correct size of helmet, you can proceed to fit it to the player's head.
Some helmets come with inflatable liners, for these types of helmets you should follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to inflate. If unable to locate actual manufacturer's instructions for inflating, you can do the following: Locate the 2 ports on the helmet, one will inflate the crown liner and the other is used to inflate the lateral air liner. Inflate the lateral airliner first, using the port located near the lower back of the helmet. Then inflate the crown liner. To inflate, use a pump and needle, and whenever possible, use the one recommended by the manufacturer because needles come in different lengths and you want to make sure you don't compromise the airliner by using the incorrect sized needle. Lubricate the needle with glycerin and glycerin alone. Vaseline or saliva can damage the airliner so avoid using these to lubricate the needle. Keep in mind that the airliners should be inflated to the point that they are snug and be careful not to overinflate. Once the airliners have been inflated, attach the chin strap to the faceguard, hold the chincup to the player's chin and tighten the straps until there is no slack. Check to be sure the ear holes are around the player's ear and cut off the excess strap. The last thing you need to do is insert jaw pads, snug against the face and flush with the jaw line. Do a final check of the helmet fitting by moving the helmet side to side and up and down. If the helmet moves and doesn't pull the skin of the player, you will have to start the fitting process over.
Be sure that every two weeks or so you evaluate the fit of the helmet and re-fit it as necessary. The airliner may deflate or lose air over time with use and so this is a very important step in ensuring your child is as safe as possible!
Baseball helmets are important to decrease impact of baseballs to the head of batters. The baseball helmet must fit so that when running, the helmet doesn't fall off!
There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a baseball helmet. Be sure to get one with lots of padding (1/4 inch or more) and that it includes a moisture wicking lining. Moisture can lead to the breaking down of the padding, decreasing the effectiveness of the helmet. When selecting a helmet you will want to measure your child's head circumference around the widest part of his/her head and also around the head about an inch above your child's ears and use those measurements against the manufacturers sizing chart to select the proper size helmet. The shape of a player's head can impact the fit so have the player try on the helmet before use to verify that it fits snuggly.
Over time you want to inspect the helmet for dry rot and cracks in the shell. If there are cracks, the helmet will need to be replaced. Also, if the helmet is hit, replace it because it can become weakened by the blow.
Lacrosse Safety Gear:
There are several types of protective gear for lacrosse players, each of which needs to be fitted properly. The helmet, much like that of football, must be fit so that it is snug and does not move independent of the player. The padding inside the helmet should pressure the player's head uniformly and the chin strap should not have any slack. To choose the right size for your child, measure the player's head and select the corresponding size on the manufacturers sizing chart.
Shoulder pads will help protect the shoulders and upper chest of the player and must be fit and worn appropriately to ensure the best protection. The sizing chart for each manufacturer may differ so check the chest measurement (measure just beneath arm pits) against the one that corresponds to your gear.
By measuring the distance from the cuff of your gloves to the edge of the shoulder pads, you can determine which size of elbow pad is needed. Refer to the manufacturer's sizing chart to determine the best size for your child.
Use your child's coach, league administrators, and other sports parents as a resource. It is always best to have an expert help you with fitting your child for his/her protective gear. Not only will they know how to do it, they will also know all the right questions to ask your child during the selection and fitting processes. Communication is key when selecting the proper size and adjusting gear to fit because the player will be able to better identify when the gear doesn't feel right. Also, by having an expert walk your child through the process, your child will learn how to wear the gear and adjust the gear should it ever need to be done when mom and dad aren't nearby.