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Helmet chin strap -- fit?

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  • Helmet chin strap -- fit?

    Stupid question time: I teach riding, and so I do ask my (young) students periodically how their equipment is fitting... are their 1/2-chaps not too tight, do their boot soles still have tread on them, and that their helmets are not getting too tight on their heads.

    Anyhow, although I don't take responsibility for helmet fit, when it comes to chin-strap fit, I tell them to make it snug under their chin -- I personally make mine so that opening my jaw fully is difficult.

    So the question is: just what is the proper guideline? For sure, the dangling chin strap that you could fit a fist in is wrong , but I don't see any example of what is right. Even a chinstrap that looks snug could allow 2-3 fingers to slide in under the chin, which seems too loose, IMO...

    Are there any guidelines out there for a proper fit? The helmet shouldn't shift, but it's almost impossible to decide what is normal 'shift' and what is 'too loose.'


  • #2
    At pony club rallies they have the kids do a vigorous "yes" head shake. Helmet should stay put and not shift down to their eyes. Chin strap should be snug but not uncomfortable.


    • #3
      Just as a side note as an instructor you SHOULD be responsible for helmet fit! How can you not be? Oh and along with the head nod I adjust mine and my students so a finger can slip between.


      • Original Poster

        nlk, thanks for the one-finger guideline on the chin strap! Just to clarify, as noted in OP, I check in on fit, and I make sure they haven't outgrown their equipment.

        But, helmet FIT? No, that is the responsibility of the parent, the tackstore staff and the manufacturer. I simply point out what may appear to be a poor, worn, or outgrown fit, and alert the parent (or adult student) to this and encourage them to get this addressed asap. That is where my responsibility lies -- I have no training or expertise in helmet fit, so I make no pretense to saying a helmet fits appropriately. I point the student to the best outlet for that.


        • #5
          IHSA requires the chin strap be touching under your chin


          • Original Poster

            Thanks, JustMyStyle!


            • #7
              As a younger teen, which was not too long ago. I used to think I was cool when my chin strap was hanging. My helmet was properly fitted, but my chinstrap might as well not have been there it was so loose. Thank god in the numerous falls I took, my helmet did not come off because there was no way that it would have really stayed on if I hit a certain way.

              Of course, I did not see the problem. I was young and reckless (within reason) and I wore a hunt cap 99% of the time on the flat at an event. The only time that I would put on a helmet was for jumping at home and at an event.

              Well, one day my good friend was not wearing her chinstrap buckled and she fell as well as the helmet and she landed on the ground without a helmet on. She was induced into a coma and they had to cut out a section of her skull to stop the brain swelling. That changed the attitude of helmets for me. I started to wear my helmet more and actually make sure the chin strap fits. It does not need to be super restrictive, I can put one finger under my jaw tightly, but it should be touching your chin.
              I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.


              • #8
                I hate the hanging chin strap look that you see so often. What is the purpose of the helmet if it does not stay on the head in the event of a fall!!!

                A friend fell recently and her helmet went flying before she hit the ground. Just a concussion but now she tightens her chin strap.

                I have always believed that the chin strap should be tight enough that when you turn your head upside down and wiggle your head back and forth the helmet should stay in place. I like the 1-2 finger idea too.


                • #9
                  My chin strap doesn't even touch my chin.. 1-2 fingers probably. Chin straps shouldn't need to be tight if the helmet fits properly. In regard to "I personally make mine so that opening my jaw fully is difficult." ... that's WAY too tight imo.


                  • #10
                    This was partly bad luck I'm sure, but I usually wear my chin strap fairly tight (although I start to get a bit claustrophobic if it's even a little bit too tight). One day I was sick and it felt like it was choking me, so I loosened the strap. I was hacking an experienced horse and didn't think anything of it. Anyways, I got run off with. Ended up falling off on the pavement and having the helmet come off before I hit the ground. I got lucky- no concussion, but 5 stitches in my head and I did NOT feel so good the next day.
                    I try to keep it about touching my chin now, tighter on cross country though even though I feel like I'm choking lol.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by norcalammie View Post
                      I hate the hanging chin strap look that you see so often. What is the purpose of the helmet if it does not stay on the head in the event of a fall!!!

                      A friend fell recently and her helmet went flying before she hit the ground. Just a concussion but now she tightens her chin strap.

                      I have always believed that the chin strap should be tight enough that when you turn your head upside down and wiggle your head back and forth the helmet should stay in place. I like the 1-2 finger idea too.
                      I would love to see what happened if COTH stated publicly that they would not print any pictures with loose chinstraps. Should snug up those straps PDQ.
                      * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis