If you are under 18 and live in New York state, you must now wear a helmet when riding a horse. All the time. New York became the first state to pass a law requiring helmets for children under the age of 14 in 1999 and it has now extended the law to cover children up to age 18.
Non compliance with the law will result in fines of $250, for which parents and guardians can be held responsible for paying.
While I believe that wearing a helmet is a matter of choice for adults, I wear a helmet every time I ride a horse and think it’s important that helmet safety be emphasized among minors. I wish that it weren’t necessary to pass such a law, but think it’s probably a good idea. Medical knowledge of the long-term impact of concussions has expanded considerably since I was a kid and I believe that helmets can help prevent Traumatic Brain Injuries. I know too many people who have avoided serious head injuries by wearing a helmet and sadly, some people who have had permanent impairment from TBIs (not all from horse back riding accidents).
What do you think of laws requiring helmets? Does your state have one? Do you think children should wear helmets, and is it appropriate for states to mandate their use?