Football can be a lot of fun, but unfortunately, there are a lot of ways that players can be injured.  Concussions are a football related injury that has received a lot of attention lately.  Football players at every level take repeated impacts to the head during every game.  It is crucial to take steps to minimize the risk of concussions and other injuries.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a concussion-proof football helmet.  However, there are important considerations to keep in mind when it’s time to buy new football helmet.  How can you know that you’ve found the right helmet?  These four pointers can help:

1. Size Matters

When it comes to choosing the right helmet, size is the single most important characteristic.  To determine the correct size, use a tape two measure the circumference of your child’s head.  Once you have this measurement, refer to the sizing chart that every helmet manufacturer provides.  This chart will tell you what size your child needs.  If your child is between sizes, you should choose the smaller size.

2. Try It On

Football helmets should be tight, but not uncomfortable.  Checking the fit is essential.  The cheek pads shouldn’t slide when you pull the helmet from side to side.  When you pull the helmet up and down, the helmet shouldn’t move.  Unless you really know what you’re doing, this isn’t a job you should tackle yourself.  Fitting helmets properly requires experience.  One more tip: children should not wear adult helmets which are heavy and may become a hazard.

3. Choose a Model That Feels Right

Football helmets may all look the same, but there may actually be significant differences between styles.  Everyone’s head is different, and not all styles of helmet fit everyone.  That’s why most school and recreational football teams offer a choice of models.  Some football helmets feature inflatable padding to help ensure the proper fit.  While your child is wearing the helmet, an experienced trainer should inflate the padding to the proper level.  It’s important to check the pressure before every game so you always know your child is getting the protection they need.  Keep in mind helmets with air bladders need attention as the elevation of where you are playing affects the air pressure.

4. Don’t Depend on the Strap

You may think the chinstrap is there to hold the helmet onto your child’s head, but it’s really just an extra bit of insurance.  The truth is that a properly sized football helmet should feel snug and secure even without strap.  If your child needs the strap to keep the helmet on, it doesn’t fit properly.

There many situations where you can afford to cut corners.  Your child’s safety is not one of these situations.  Concussions are serious injuries that can have long-lasting repercussions for your child’s health.  Spending the time and effort to get the right football helmet size is the best way to prevent serious injuries.