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Put a lid on your kid

Post Independent Editorial Board

The death of a 15-year-old skier during National Ski Safety week seems like a clarion call for a helmet law for minors on Colorado’s slopes.After all, two people died in ski accidents at Colorado ski resorts the very week they were trying to promote safety – and another collapsed and died from natural causes. Those incidents highlight the importance of protecting young skiers and riders – especially during a season that has seen the death of a young ski racer in a collision with a snowmobile. But while incidents like those earlier this month illustrate the need for safety measures on the snow, they also illustrate the futility of outside efforts to keep young snowriders safe. We can pass a law mandating that all skiers or snowboarders younger than 18 wear helmets on the slopes, but it’s up to their parents to buy the helmets – and make sure their kids are wearing them.While helmets might not be a magic bullet for preventing ski injuries it’s hard to argue that they don’t help. It’s definitely still possible to die from other injuries, but a helmet simply means there’s one less body part for parents to worry about. That’s especially true for younger enthusiasts, whose bones and brains are still developing and are even more vulnerable in the event of a shot to the head.That peace of mind comes at a price – $100, give or take. Sure, that can be a stretch for parents who are trying to make ends meet and encompass an expensive sport. With the cost of lift tickets exceeding $70 (and season passes available for a few hundred), a durable, warm helmet seems like a necessary accessory for protecting the investment we make in our children – even if it comes at the cost of a day on the mountain.Few parents feel comfortable sending their children outside their supervision on bicycles without some sort of protection. Just like on the street, accidents happen on the snow, at similar speeds, and impact with the snow or a tree can be just as bad for the head as a smack on the pavement.While many people would say we need a law to guide parents, it would still be up to parents to implement it and not send young skiers out on the snow without adequate protection. We applaud parents for showing enough interest in their children by taking them to the mountain and introducing them to a sport that can be fun, rewarding and last a lifetime. They can show how much they care – and improve the odds that that lifetime is a long one – by investing in a helmet to protect the futures of their children.While many people would say we need a law to guide parents, it would still be up to parents to implement it and not send young skiers out on the snow without adequate protection. We applaud parents for showing enough interest in their children by taking them to the mountain and introducing them to a sport that can be fun, rewarding and last a lifetime. They can show how much they care – and improve the odds that that lifetime is a long one – by investing in a helmet to protect the futures of their children.


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