Ottawa-based neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Vassilyadi has conducted research that shows hockey helmets are the most effective at protecting children and preventing serious head injury to children tobogganing. The experiment conducted by Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, the neurosurgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and also a professor at the University of Ottawa, tested helmets designed for hockey, downhill skiing, and cycling. Dr. Vassilyadi and his Ottawa team simulated the potential impact that might occur while tobogganing. The findings were amazing. Hockey helmets were determined to be the safest, over bicycle helmets. This is especially true if the hockey helmet has a face shield guard. Dr . Vassilyadi noted that often times when a child suffers a tobogganing injury, they often have facial injuries such as torn lips, broken teeth, broken nose, or eye injuries.
The bottom line is that any helmet is better than none for tobogganing. So if you can’t have access to a hockey helmet, then please grab whatever helmet you have when you take your kids out tobogganing. As a personal injury lawyer who has had many clients with severe head injuries, I am in complete agreement with Dr. Vassilyadi and support is a desire to see a helmet created for outdoor winter activities such as tobogganing and skating. It really does seem crazy not to.
Dr Vassilyadi explained that collisions in tobogganing are usually to the front of the head, whereas ski accidents usually involve impacts to the side of the head, where ski helmets were the most effective. Again this just goes to show that there is a need for a specific helmet to be designed for tobogganing, as there is currently no helmet specifically designed to protect the front of the head-on impact.
All this to say, do everything you can to keep your little ones (and yourself) safe. Take every safety step you can. A child’s brain injury or head injury is life-altering. Enjoy this winter and all its wonderful activities, but please be safe.