Snell Children's Helmet Standard
courtesy geludead (Iasi, Romania)
Snell and FIA Institute Develop Joint Youth
Motorcycle Helmet Standard
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by webBikeWorld.com Combined Staff
The Snell Memorial Foundation and the Fédération
Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) plan to
publish a new crash helmet standard designed
specifically for use by young riders.
The helmet, which
has been developed by the
FIA Institute for Motor Sport
Safety, is the first of its kind to be designed for
children and teenagers rather than adults.
The proposed standard (Snell - FIA CMH-2007) is
intended to encourage the manufacturing of lighter, more
protective and better fitting headgear for use in
children's motor-sport competition, such as karting,
motocross and off-road motorcycle activities. There are
two types of standards: one for children ranging from 6 to 11 years old and
another for youth from 12
to 15 years old. Each grouping also has different weight and size
The need for such a helmet was first identified by
American orthopedic surgeon Dr. Terry Trammel, a motor
sport specialist, and expert race medic Dr. Steve Olvey. They found that smaller versions of adult helmet designs
-- all that are currently available on the market -- were
of inappropriate geometry and mass. Trammel and Olvey,
both Fellows of the FIA Institute, collected size and
mass data using young volunteer subjects.
Under the guidance of FIA Institute project manager
Andrew Mellor, this data was used to build 3D surface
models of the heads and shoulders of young motor sport
competitors. These models were used to create the first
Despite the significant weight reduction the helmet
has been designed to pass all of the stringent tests
required by Snell and the FIA.
These comprise tests involving impact, roll-off, dynamic
retention, shell penetration and visor penetration.
The proposed Snell/FIA CM2007 Standard addresses the
worldwide need for age-appropriate helmets for young
children participating in various motor-sport
In the United States alone, there were
three-fold increases in off-track dirt bike and mini-bike
head injuries sustained by children between 1997 and
2002 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission
(CPSC). Many of the injuries linked to these activities
occur in children under the age of 16.
Most existing motor-sport helmets used by children
are actually designed for adults. Children, especially
those under 12-years old, have very different
physiological characteristics from adults in terms of
head size and neck strength.
Adult full face helmets may
be much too heavy. The chin straps may be poorly suited
to the child's shorter face and smaller chin. Even with
a good match to head circumference, because of
children's shorter neck lengths and head heights, the
bottom edges of a full face helmet may contact a child's
shoulders well before the crown of the helmet touches
the top of his/her head.
The proposed Snell/FIA CMH-2007 Standard
distinguishes between children from age 6 to 11
and 12 to 15 years old.
For ages 6 to 11, the
helmet weight should not exceed 1100g or 1200g if
configured with face shields. For ages 12 to 15 years old,
the helmet weight should not exceed 1250g or 1350g if
configured with face shields. For both age groups, the
helmet impact test velocity is the same exacting level
as for adult motorcycle or special application helmets.
It is intended that Motocross and off-road children's
helmets meeting the proposed Snell/FIA CMH-2007 standard
may also be authorized for use on public roads if the
manufacturer additionally achieves certification to the
relevant standards such as DOT or ECE R22-05.
We will post more information as it becomes
available. For more information, contact the
Memorial Foundation or the
FIA Institute for Motor Sport
NOTE: This is a developing story.
It's unclear at this point what the new label may look like or what it
will be called. If you have further information regarding this
topic that you'd like to share with others, please send it to