When I was a child we rode our bicycles around everywhere without a helmet. Noone wore a helmet. And it is still not a legal requirement in Belgium now.
Then I came here where bike helmets are mandatory. I do not like wearing them. And so I don’t for short trips. I only wear one when I ride a longer distance and/or on a main road.
But I do enforce Ella always wearing hers. I got tempted a few times to let her off wearing one because kids’ helmets never seem to fit very comfortably. And they’re unpleasant for anyone in 38 degree heat. And… she doesn’t fall very often!
But this morning she had the mother of all stacks. She was riding on the foot path, I was following a bit behind her on the road. I used to ride right next to her those first times we made this trip, just in case she came off the footpath. But she always went pretty straight. Until this morning…
She said “I’ll race you to the second pole, mum!”, sped up, the bike did a massive wobble and was suddenly lying on the side of the road with Ella flying after it. I see the fall in slow motion now because I instantly started replaying the scene in my head. And what I remember most is seeing her head hit the bitumen. Her helmetted head. The beautiful head with the rather uncomfortable chunky helmet that I bought only a couple of weeks ago. I saw it hit the bitumen hard.
I love helmets. I love my child without serious head injuries. I’d still love her if she had serious head injuries! But life would not be quite as rosy as it is today. The grazes were easily fixed with a couple of band-aids. The tough stretchy brown ones. And some Detol cream. The crying stopped after a couple of minutes and a cuddle and she got straight back on the bike and rode home.
I hate hopsitals.
I love helmets.