The Practicing Parent: Is your child's helmet safe?

Practicing Parents, the days are longer and the weather is warming up. Soon the kids will be dusting the dirt off their bikes. So this is the perfect time to make sure your family's helmets are up-to-par.

Cleveland Clinic Pediatrician Mike Macknin says take a minute to make sure that helmet fits securely.

"Make sure your child has not outgrown their helmet from last year. And then, when you put a helmet on it should fit snugly, but it should be comfortable. You shouldn't have much play side-to-side. And it's not cool to tilt your helmet over to the side or tilt it forwards, or tilt it backwards. It really has to be level on your head," Dr. Macknin said.

Plus, he says it's vital to use the strap.

"You have to strap it up and it should be tight, but not uncomfortable. You shouldn't have a lot of play in the helmet. It shouldn't move back and

forth or side to side."

Dr. Macknin says all bike helmets must meet minimum federal safety standards so a more expensive helmet may look a little nicer, but does not provide any more protection than a less expensive option. He says the most important thing is wearing it.

"Helmets are designed to take one good hit and you may think, what good is that?. Well, it's wonderful because it protects your brain and that's the goal.

So Dr. Macknin says replace a helmet if it's been involved in a crash. He adds, UV sunlight and environmental conditions can deteriorate the helmet's padding over time so the general recommendation is to replace it every three to five years regardless of condition.