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May 8, 1996

Can Sports-Minded Kids Have Too Many Helmets?

JAMA. 1996;275(18):1391. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530420019011

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AS SPRING DAYS grow longer and milder, kids' thoughts are turning to bicycling, roller skating, and in-line skating. But as evidence grows in support of helmets to prevent sports-related head injury, parents may wonder whether an active child needs an extra closet just for sport-specific headgear.

The answer may be no, according to Frederick P. Rivara, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and director of the Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center. Helmets designed for use in one sport generally have not been recommended for use in other sports. But Rivara noted that at least 4 companies have developed multipurpose helmets that can protect children when they ride bicycles and participate in roller sports such as skateboarding and in-line skating.

Rivara discussed helmet use last month during the spring session of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Chicago, Ill. The advantage of multipurpose