This paper reports the findings of a study investigating the potential development of a consumer evaluation program of pedal cycle helmets for child pedal cyclists. The essential step in justifying a consumer program is to identify any existing differences in the level of protection offered by current helmet designs to child cyclists.
The primary objective of this work was to identify and document any variation in protective features of the helmets currently available. If worthwhile variations were found then previous experience had shown that a consumer information program could drive overall improvements in helmet protective features. A two stage process was employed to study variations in design currently in the marketplace. Firstly a visual survey of helmets in the marketplace was conducted and secondly a series of dynamic tests were carried out on a small sample of helmets. Available injury data was also reviewed as best it could be given the surprisingly limited detail available on these databases.
Results from visual examination of helmets currently on the market in Australia, and dynamic evaluation of a small exemplar sample helmet showed that significant variations in performance exist. This paper argues that a consumer information program, such as that employed for new cars (NCAP) and child restraint systems (CREP), is justified by the variations in performance.