Bill Would Increase Helmet Requirement to Teens 18 and Under
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic) to protect more teens from head injuries while ice skating, roller skating skateboarding or using a scooter by extending the requirement to wear helmets was approved Thursday by an Assembly panel.
“Studies show that falling from as little as two feet can cause a traumatic brain injury,” said Caride. “That’s why it’s so important that young people wear the recommended safety gear to prevent these avoidable tragedies. If increasing the age requirement for wearing a helmet can prevent more serious and long-term injuries in teens, then it’s a change we should make.”
Caride’s bill (A-1437/2192) would increase the age for requiring a person to wear a helmet when ice skating, roller skating skateboarding or using a scooter to 18 years of age and younger. Current law requires anyone 16 years of age and younger to wear a helmet when roller skating or skateboarding.
Caride noted that according to Safe Kids Worldwide, 80,040 children ages 19 and under had skateboard-related injuries, and 5,283 had skating-related injuries, in 2012. The group also noted that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by at least 45 percent, brain injury by 33 percent, facial injury by 27 percent and fatal injury by 29 percent. One study suggests that helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by 85 percent and severe brain injury by 88 percent.
The bill exempts figure skaters involved in organized competitions.
Caride noted that, due to a high proportion of head injuries among ice skaters, some researchers have concluded that children should wear protective helmets during recreational ice skating.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.