Should Kids Wear A Helmet While Riding A Jet Ski?
Jet skiing is one of the most exciting activities for the family during the summer. There's just something about cruising along the lake or ocean at high speeds that can't be beat. While riding is tons of fun, it can also be dangerous for inexperienced riders. While you may have ridden for years, your kids likely have far less experience. You may wonder, "Should kids wear a helmet while riding a jet ski?" This is a good question that isn't addressed often. After all, jet skis move quickly with no safety harness like a seat belt. You've probably seen young riders racing too fast or trying to pull off crazy tricks. When you think about it, you wouldn't ride a motorcycle at speeds upwards of 50 MPH without a helmet, so why do it on a jet ski? Many think the absence of trees, roads, and railing will keep them safer in the event of a crash. The thing is, one wrong move can result in serious injury. Hitting the concrete-like surface of the water at such high speed can be devastating. This is why we recommend helmets for all jet ski riders, especially kids.
To operate a jet ski, a rider must be 16 years or older. Under no circumstance should anyone under this age ride, as they simply aren't mature enough (and in many cases heavy enough). Sure, your kid might be responsible, but you probably wouldn't trust them to go off on their own just yet. As a young person, there is still so much to learn about operating a vehicle. Just like you anticipate them to have a fender bender at some point, your child could also have an accident on the jet ski. Because of this, a helmet can really provide you with some peace of mind. Until they're 18, we recommend kids wear helmets while on PWCs. In reality, everyone could benefit from wearing a helmet! You'd never catch a professional rider without a helmet, meaning amateur riders are no different.
So, what is a jet ski helmet? Well, there isn't one specifically made for jet skis yet. When shopping for a helmet, go for ones designed for downhill mountain bikes. These offer full-face protection and a lightweight design. Ones with padding, like those for snowmobiling or motorcycles, can easily get waterlogged. This could be very bad if your child found themselves thrown into the water with a helmet becoming heavy with water. Downhill mountain bike helmets are perfect for preventing the head injuries that could happen from jet skiing. Ensure the helmet you choose has integrated chin protection, so if you fall off your ski and hit the water hard, it doesn't rock your jaw. Here are some other benefits to wearing a helmet while jet skiing:
- Protects head during collisions with other riders or accidents due to operator error
- Deflects airborne debris
- Full-face coverage prevents sun damage
- Ability to wear goggles for better visibility
What if your state doesn't require watercraft helmets? This is the reason why people don't wear them. The truth is many don't, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have your kids wear one. If your family avidly rides during the summer, sit your kids down before the season starts and explain why you're implementing the helmets. It may help if you're wearing one, too. Luckily, downhill mountain bike helmets have that aggressive, sporty design that won't detract from how "cool" they look while on the jet ski.
It's important to note that helmets can impede peripheral vision. While this is to be expected, you should reiterate the importance of being aware of your surroundings. Before heading off into the water, make sure the kids understand this!
Keep yourself and your kids safe this summer by wearing helmets while out on the lake or ocean. The reduced risk of injury will make the change worth it, especially when your child wipes out hard but isn't hurt. As with all powersports, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Purchase these helmets anywhere that sells mountain bike equipment – outdoor and sporting goods stores should have them in stock. Taking the responsible route will pay off in the end for your kids!