Helmet safety (part 1)
Published 03-04-2010 9:23 AM
This blog was written by Ron Friedson, from Pegasus Helmets.
Helmet Safety is a function of the quality of the helmet and the fit to the users head and the proper adjustment of the straps etc.
In addition age, wear and tear and previous accidents all will effect how well a helmet performs.
Basic Background Information:
No helmet can protect you in every foreseeable situation. The obvious example would be if you were riding down a road and car hit your horse and ejected you at 60 miles an hour onto the pavement. While that example is drastic, remember a motorcycle helmet, which is far to heavy to wear on a horse only protects a wearer up to a 15 mile and hour crash. A horse at full gallop can do that speed easily.
Most injuries come from breaking the basic safety rules, read the pony club manual, the 4-h horse safety rules and use some common sense: Don”t ride in a barn, be sure you and the horse are a good fit skill wise, etc. etc.
The current industry standard is ASTM F-1163-04a. Helmets are certified to that standard by the SEI (Safety Equipment Institute). Approved helmets carry a label proving they are so certified.
Some helmets also carry the European safety seal. This can be written EN1384 or BS1384, it is the same standard. The initials EN simply mean the lab filed the paperwork using that particular code. There is a fallacy out there that BS1384 helmet are different, when it simply means the paperwork was filed that way.
European rules require helmets used in horse shows in Europe carry the EN1384 approval. In the USA ASTM/SEI approval is required. In general helmets that pass the ASTM standard will pass the EN1384 standard. Helmets that pass the EN1384 standard may not pass the ASTM standard.
Both standards require annual testing and reasonable record keeping. There are some other standards out there that we will discuss at another time.
There is also the new IC mark which is a quality control standard. Much like the Underwriters Laboratories, UL seal of approval here in the USA. Helmets with the IC mark have to meet a higher level of quality control testing and sampling.