A few weekends ago, when it was 60 degrees here on the east coast and winter seemed like a thing of the past, I bought my son a bike helmet. I went back and forth about the decision and wondered if I was beginning my journey down the road of becoming “that mom.” My neighborhood has what my husband and I refer to as bike gangs. Large groups of boys that ride their bikes everywhere — from the baseball field and playground at one end of the neighborhood to the corner store at the other. They all appear to be between the ages of 8 and 11 or so, and none of them wear helmets.
The reason I hemmed and hawed is because my son is only 19 months old. I know they wear helmets at the center, but those tricycles are further off the ground. At home, he has two small “bikes” that are less than a foot off the ground — but he’s very clumsy. Most of the time, I wish I could put a helmet on him indoors when he’s walking and tripping over everything from his own two feet to the dog. We’ve already had our fair share of bumps on the head and even one black eye. Since I have visions of us enjoying our back yard and driveway all summer while I’m out on maternity leave, I decided to get the helmet, hope he leaves it on, and hope it starts him on a lifetime of wearing one while biking, skateboarding etc.
Then, this story about Natasha Richardson comes out and for me, it validates my decision. Like many adults taking beginner ski lessons, she wasn’t wearing a helmet. Her accident was a freak one and I feel for her friends and family. She was on the bunny slope WITH an instructor! I don’t know if wearing a helmet would have helped her, but I think with my son, I’m not going to take that risk. I’ll walk the fine line between overprotective and cautious and encourage my little Lance Armstrong to sport his newest accessory while riding his trike.