If there’s one thing I’ve learned from hosting a ski forum, a sure way to get an argument going is to start a thread on ski helmets.
It’s like starting a fire. For some reason, people feel very strongly one way or the other, and no amount of persuasion is going to change anyone’s mind.
I’m not going to go into the pros or cons here. I’m sure we’ve heard all the arguments before, so why waste valuable blog space?
The only reason I bring it up is because California’s Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed the legislature’s bill to require ski helmets in children under 18. “While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state,” he wrote. “Not every human problem deserves a law. Parents have the ability and responsibility to make good choices for their children.”
Ironically, last year the previous governor, Schwartzenegger, voiced support for a ski helmet law but vetoed it due to its ties to legislation requiring ski resorts to develop and implement formal safety plans.
All this indicates government’s total confusion over what to do in this matter. Still, government has been down this road before. We protect children from alcohol by passing age requirements on drinking. We have laws that require car seats for babies, and we don’t allow people under a certain age to drive. So Governor Brown’s argument, while I agree in some measure, doesn’t really hold up. Then again, do we want to live in a nanny state? Should government be responsible for every aspect of our behavior, down to how we behave on the ski slope? Who’d be responsible for enforcement? And would it even make a difference?
So what’s the solution?
Darned if I know. But one thing is certain. No matter what the law, if I had a kid skiing, I’d put ’em in a helmet. No helmet, no skiing. It’s the Law of The Mom. Simple as that. Because despite all the arguments for and against, it certainly couldn’t hurt. And a head injury certainly could.