The Swedish insurance company Folksam has independently tested 15 riding helmets for children and adults available on the Swedish market. The test shows that only three out of fifteen helmets obtained the Folksam best in a test or good choice label. If you are unlucky to find yourself in an accident, the right choice of the equestrian helmet may prevent a concussion. The test also shows that the price is irrelevant in choosing a helmet as one of the most expensive helmets was among the worst-performing ones.
The Swedish insurance company Folksam has independently tested 15 riding helmets for children and adults available on the Swedish market. The test shows that only three out of fifteen helmets obtained the Folksam best in a test or good choice label. If you are unlucky to find yourself in an accident, the right choice of an equestrian helmet may prevent a concussion. The test also shows that the price is irrelevant in choosing a helmet as one of the most expensive helmets was among the worst-performing ones.
– ” Approximately half a million Swedes ride on a regular basis. It is the second largest sport among young people according to The Swedish Sports Confederation. Among the 154.000 members of the Swedish Equestrian Federation, about five riders sustain head injuries each week. One out of nine who sustained a concussion must deal with permanent medical impairments. Given these numbers, it is deplorable that so few helmets actually protect the riders against concussions. The manufacturers of equestrian helmets should take a larger responsibility in improving the protection.”, says Helena Stigson Ph.D. and Associate Professor at the Folksam research team.
This is the second time Folksam is conducting a test of equestrian helmets. Since the last test from 2014, the helmets have improved but there are still big flaws. The test shows significant differences between the helmets and the risk of sustaining a concussion is two to five times higher if one of the lowest-scoring helmets is used compared to the best one.– “We can tell by the test that there is great potential for improvement to make the helmets safer. The two top-scoring helmets were equipped with rotational motion protection system (Mips), but all equestrian helmets need to be better at reducing rotational forces to avoid concussions or even more serious brain damage”, says Stigson.
The major difference between a good and a poor helmet is how well it protects the head during an oblique impact. Today there are no legal requirements for equestrian helmet manufacturers to prevent rotational forces. Only vertical impacts are tested to show how well the helmets can prevent skull fractures. This is in spite of a lot of research showing that rotational forces create brain damage. In the Folksam test the helmets are subjected to impacts at an angle, which closer simulate the actual forces during an accident compared to the vertical tests performed required by current legislation.
– “For us, it comes very naturally to engage in helmet tests since a poor helmet could have serious consequences for the users. We think it is regrettable that there are no legal demands on testing how well helmets can protect against oblique impacts which better simulates how a rider will hit the head during an impact. To avoid helmets being sold without any protection against the rotational motion, testing for oblique impacts should also be included in the European certification tests”, says Stigson.
–“It is very important to point out that it is always better with any helmet than without one. Research clearly shows that a helmet will reduce the number of head injuries by 50%.” Stigson concludes.
Back on Track EQ3 Lynx Mips was awarded “Best in test” and Back on Track EQ3 Mips and Charles Owen Ayr8 Leather Look was awarded “Good choice”. The helmets scored as follows:
5: The helmet is awarded “Best in test”. This means that the helmet complies with all legal regulations and is 30% better than the average helmet in the test and protects well.
4: The helmets are awarded “Good choice”. This means that the helmet complied with all legal regulations, performs better than the average helmet in the test, and protects well.
3: Complies with legal regulations and has an average test compared to all helmets in the test.
2. A lower test score compared to other helmets in tests but complies with legal regulations.
1. A lower test score compared to other helmets in test and poor results in all tests, but complies with legal regulations.
For more information:
Helena Stigson, researcher Folksam, phone +46 70-831 62 04
Folksam’s press contact, +46 8-772 66 60
Mips is a world leader in helmet-based safety and the protection of the human brain. Based on an ingredient brand business model, MIPS Brain Protection System (BPS) is found in helmets around the world and across multiple market categories. The BPS solution, which is patented in all relevant markets, is based on 20 years of research and development together with the Royal Institute of Technology and the Karolinska Institute, both located in Stockholm, Sweden.
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