NJ considers expanding helmet law to young ice skaters

 (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

(Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)

Young ice skaters in New Jersey may soon have to wear protective headgear.

That’s part of a plan proposed by Assemblywoman Marlene Caride who also wants to expand the law requiring skateboarders and roller skaters to wear helmets.

New Jersey law now requires anyone 16 or younger to wear a helmet when roller skating or skateboarding.

Caride, D-Bergen, has introduced a measure applying the helmet rule to 17-year-olds and young ice skaters.

The legislation is in response to seventh-graders at Ridgefield Park Middle School, she said.

“They sent me information from their health class asking us to please do something to increase the age due to the stories that have come out about brain injury especially to children not wearing helmets,” Caride said

Jon Kinsela with the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey is all in favor of the bill.

“Studies published in the journal Pediatrics have found that brain injuries and concussions are actually more common among ice skaters when compared with inline skating and roller skating,” he said. “Since prevention is the only cure for a brain injury, it makes complete sense to require children 17 and under to wear a helmet while ice skating.”

And, since many kids already have a helmet because of the law mandating they wear one while biking, Caride said requiring one for recreational ice skating should not be an extra expense for families.

(Editor’s note: The bill exempts figure skaters who are under the supervision of a coach or are participating in competition) 

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