Snell Approved Helmets Tips

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How important is it to buy a properly fitting helmet?

Pick a Snell approved helmet that fits you well for the best protection.

Regardless of the approval process a helmet that does not fit you well will not offer the package of protection to prevent head injuries that you are buying the helmet for in the first place.

It is essential that you choose a helmet that fits your head.

Many manufacturers offer helmets in sizes such as small, medium and large, with pre-fit liners. The best way to buy a helmet is to choose one that allows you to purchase the liner separately from the shell.

This way you can get a better fit. The Snell Foundation suggests that you wear helmet for a couple of hours, just as you would an expensive pair of shoes, to make sure it is comfortable on your head and that there are no hot spots.

It is important that you properly tighten the chin strap so the helmet will remain in place in the event of an accident.

When you first put the helmet on, tighten the chin strap so it is slightly uncomfortable. Within a few minutes you will no longer notice this. Tightening the chin strap in this fashion will help keep the helmet in place which is why you are wearing the helmet in the first place.

   
Where can I buy a Snell approved helmet?

Where to buy a Snell approved helmet.

When it comes to purchasing a helmet you can purchase them online but it is best to purchase a helmet from a local motorcycle shop so that you can try a variety of helmets on to see which helmet fits you properly.

Remember, a helmet that does not fit right will not protect you properly in an event of an accident.

Most motorcycle shops carry a wide variety of helmets.

At least some of these should be Snell approved. If the shop you choose to buy your helmet at does not have any Snell approved helmets on their shelf, ask them if they can get them. If not, and you want a Snell approved helmet, check out other motorcycle shops.

There is a list of motorcycle dealers online at http://www.smf.org/links.html which do carry Snell approved helmets.

There are motorcycle shops that only carry novelty helmets and none of those are Snell certified.

However any legitimate motorcycle shop that sells quality, certified helmets should carry or at least be able to get a Snell certified helmet. Be sure to look for the decal and make sure that you are getting a Snell certified helmet. If you have any doubts, the sales person should be able to help you, you can call the Snell Foundation or look at the Snell Foundation website for more information.

   
Can a helmet lose their Snell certification?

Snell approved helmets can lose their certification if they fail future certification tests.

Even though a helmet manufacturer might have Snell approved helmets because of the random testing that the Snell Foundation does that manufacturer can lose their certification if the quality of their helmet goes down.

The idea of the random testing is to guarantee the consumer that the product that receives the certification is the same product that they are buying and that the quality of the helmet has not gone down.

The Snell Foundation randomly tests helmets that have their seal of approval to make sure that manufacturer continues to meet their rigorous standards.

If a helmet fails the test the Snell Foundation will request three more helmets to see how they hold up. If they fail the test, the manufacturer can lose their certification and the Snell Foundation can ask for their decals back.

The Snell Foundation does try to work with the manufacturer before taking away their certification so that the helmet manufacturer can fix the problem and keep their certification.

However, before the Snell Foundation will allow a manufacturer to put their decal on a helmet it must pass all five of the Snell Foundations tests with flying colors.

Because the Snell Foundation is a non-profit organization who have a set of voluntary standards set by the Foundation not by a government agency their standards are higher than even the DOT standards for helmets.

   
What standards do Snell approved helmets meet?

Snell approved helmets meet a voluntary, not a set, standard.

The Snell Foundation does not solicit motorcycle helmet manufacturers' to get certified.

They are a non-profit organization that was run by volunteers for the first thirty years. They have been in business for fifty years now and currently do have paid employees but still do their best to fail a helmet when a manufacturer comes to them for certification.

If a helmet fails even one of the rigorous tests it is put through, then the helmet is not certified.

If a helmet passes the rigorous tests than the manufacturer of the helmet enters into a license agreement with the Snell Foundation.

The manufacturer of the helmet agrees to allow the Snell Foundation to randomly sample their helmets from time to time to ensure that the manufacturer of the helmet continues to produce a product that stands up to the Snell Foundations standards.get certified.

The Snell Foundation is a non-profit organization that was run by volunteers for the first thirty years. They have been in business for fifty years now and currently do have paid employees but still do their best to fail a helmet when a manufacturer comes to them for certification.

If a helmet fails even one of the rigorous tests it is put through, then the helmet is not certified.

If a helmet passes the rigorous tests than the manufacturer of the helmet enters into a license agreement with the Snell Foundation.

The manufacturer of the helmet agrees to allow the Snell Foundation to randomly sample their helmets from time to time to ensure that the manufacturer of the helmet continues to produce a product that stands up to the Snell Foundations standards.

   
How do I know if a helmet is Snell approved?

Find out if a helmet is Snell approved.

Sometimes a manufacturer will try to lead you to believe their helmet is Snell approved by using words such as “exceeds,” “meets” or “have met” Snell certification standards.

Only manufacturers who have a valid licensing agreement with the Snell Foundation are allowed to claim the Snell certification.

Additionally the helmet model number must be on the Snell certification list which can be viewed at http://www.smf.org/cert.html

It might even be a good idea to print this page out and take it with you when you go to look for a Snell approved helmet so you can compare the certification certificates.

Look at the helmet to see if it contains a serialized decal.

The list of decals can be seen on the Snell Foundation Historical Decal Reference page at http://www.smf.org/decalref.html

If in doubt, ask the sales representative, do some additional research or contact the Snell Foundation to inquire about the helmet you are considering before purchasing it.

Remember a certified Snell approved helmet has been through vigorous testing to make sure it meets their specific safety specifications. Additionally, a Snell approved helmet will not cost any more than a comparable helmet that is not Snell certified. The difference in the cost of the helmet is mainly because of graphics and design and has nothing to do with how well the helmet will stand up in a crash situation.

   
Why are Snell certified helmets better than other certifications?

Snell approved helmets present a package of protection designed to prevent head injuries.

A Snell approved motorcycle helmet will provide more protection than any other type of helmet according to statistics as long as it fits you properly.

Since the purpose of wearing a helmet is to prevent head injuries it only makes sense to do some research and then purchase the best motorcycle helmet you can afford.

Snell approved helmets have gone through rigorous testing before they have the Snell seal of approval put on them.

Approved helmets must pass an impact test, a positional stability or roll-off test, a dynamic retention test, a chin bar test, a faceshield penetration test and a flame resistance test.

The performance of a particular helmet can vary given the situation at hand and how well the helmet has been taken care of after it was purchased.

However, the fact that the Snell Foundation destroys thousands of helmets every year to make sure only the highest quality helmets receive their approval gives consumers the assurance that once a helmet has met the rigorous standards of the Snell Foundation that they are purchasing the safest helmet on the market.

Remember, in a crash, the only thing protecting your head is the properly fitting helmet you are wearing.

   
What is the Snell Foundation?

Learn more about the Snell Memorial Foundation.

William “Pete” Snell was an amateur sports car race driver who died in 1956 when the helmet he was wearing failed to protect his head during an automobile crash.

The Snell Memorial Foundation was founded as a memorial to “Pete” in 1957 by a group of scientists, physicians, racing colleagues and friends who decided to team together and attempt to create a safer helmet.

The purpose of the foundation was to create a dedicated effort to promote research, education, testing and development of standards geared to improve the effectiveness of automotive racing helmets. Today Snell approved helmets can be found for a wide variety of sports including motorcycling.

In 1959, the first safety standards for protective headgear for auto racing were issued by Snell.

The Snell standards address the performance of the helmet, not the materials used. Snell is known today for its ongoing work of continually upgrading the helmet standards throughout the world. The real advantage of this testing is because it allows consumers to buy helmets that provide the highest degree of safety.

Snell helmet standards surpass the requirements set forth by numerous organizations that oversee helmet safety including the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission's 16 CFR Part 1203, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM).

   
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