WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff is recommending skiers and snowboarders wear helmets to help prevent head injuries from falls and collisions. In a January 8, 1999 report, the CPSC staff concluded that helmet use by skiers and snowboarders could prevent or reduce the severity of 44 percent of head injuries to adults, and 53 percent of head injuries to children under the age of 15. The proportion of skiing and snowboarding head injuries is higher in children than in any other age group.
In 1997, there were 17,500 head injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding. The CPSC study estimates that 7,700 head injuries -- including 2,600 head injuries to children -- could be prevented or reduced in severity each year by using skiing or snowboarding helmets. The study also shows that helmet use could prevent about 11 skiing- and snowboarding- related deaths annually.
"We know that helmet use can prevent serious head injuries in a wide variety of sports and activities, including bicycling and in-line skating," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "This study of skiing and snowboarding shows that helmets can prevent or reduce the severity of head injuries on the slopes, just as they do on the streets.
" The study of head injuries associated with skiing and snowboarding was conducted as part of CPSC's ongoing work to reduce head injuries in a variety of sports and activities.
In addition to the CPSC staff study, research in other countries has shown that helmets can help prevent head injuries to skiers. In Sweden, a national study found that head injuries among skiers wearing helmets were 50 percent lower than for skiers not wearing helmets.