Helmets for sledding? Really?

I sent my son to Grade 1 with a helmet today. It’s not that his classroom is particularly rough — it’s because I don’t want him to get a head injury during gym class.

Times have changed, you see. His school sent home a note to parents, just before Christmas, that said the students would be sledding sometimes during their gym period. Helmets were recommended.

I made a face when I saw the note. Helmets! For sledding! I remember sledding down icy hills behind my elementary school — as part of gym class, I think — and nobody was wearing a sissy helmet.

I tut-tutted a bit and then got to the bottom of the note. Parents had to sign the slip and send it back to the school, advising on whether or not your child would be bringing a helmet. If they weren’t, you still had to sign.

“You can’t sue us if your kid bumps their head or cracks their skull,” something like that.

I picked up a pen and hesitated over the slip.

How badly would I feel if my kid did hurt themselves sledding at school, and it could have been avoided if I’d just send a helmet?

I put the pen back down and grabbed my phone to google “child sledding helmet.” I found one on Amazon for $20 and ordered two — one for my youngest, who will be going off to primary in the fall. They were technically skateboarding helmets but it said “suitable for skating, sledding, skiing” somewhere in the description.

Once I’d confirmed the order through PayPal, I scrawled my name on the blank section next to “I will be sending a helmet,” and added a note saying I’d just ordered one online and I’d be sending it as soon as it arrived. There! Done!

Helmets were the topic of discussion at the bus stop the next morning, since everyone had gotten the same note. Some of the parents — the dads, mostly — were guffawing at the idea of helmets for something as innocent as sledding …

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene

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