How to have Head Safe Adventures

A healthy lifestyle is put into play through many wellness choices, including getting outside and staying active. Whether hitting the trail for a day, enjoying extended portage voyages, travelling for jamborees or more, avoiding injury is important for ensuring that a fun adventure doesn’t turn into bust memory.

As Scouts, we learn how to be prepared for any situation to prevent mishaps or safety incidents. This summer stay safe on your Scouting and non-Scouting adventures with preventative tips and head safety mindfulness.

Think ahead, protect your head!

In Scouting, the planning phase is key to enjoying any adventure. Every successful outing starts with a plan that includes the details of the activity, equipment required, and protocols needed to ensure a safe and fun experience for everyone.

Bringing the correct equipment for any excursion is a must, especially while engaging in activities like rock climbing, rollerblading, cycling, skateboarding and white water rafting to name a few. A helmet is the best way to protect your head, but it is important to use the correct type of helmet for the activity you are doing and to wear it properly.

“Helmets are shaped and built differently depending on the activity you are doing.”

Helmets are shaped and built differently depending on the activity you are doing. A helmet made for climbing and repelling helps protect the wearer from falling rocks and ice, while a batting helmet protects the user from stray balls and any contact along the base path. A helmet for inline skating or skateboarding offers great protection for the front and back of the head since this part of the head is most at-risk during falls.

Helmets are composed of many different materials which may not function well in conditions they were not designed for, such as extreme temperatures. For instance, a bicycle helmet could crack in winter if worn while tobogganing, while a batting helmet is too heavy and does not provide the proper drainage required for whitewater paddling sports.

Put safety learning into play with your Scouting Section and discover our new Helmet Mix and Match Trail Card, which explores how to match the right helmet to each adventure.

Proper helmet fitting

The most common mistake I personally have seen in adults and youth alike is wearing a bicycle helmet too far back on the head, leaving their forehead exposed. For a cycling helmet, use the 2V1 rule to fit it properly:

  • Allow a two fingers width between the helmet and eyebrows.
  • Form a “V” with the strap that goes under the ears and chin, with a 1 finger gap between the strap and chin.

While there is no single rule that ensures a proper fit for every type of helmet, be sure to check out the manufacturer’s website for detailed instructions.

Concussion symptoms

Without proper head safety, you can hurt your head and get a concussion. Symptoms can include:

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Sensitivity to noise, light, motion and odours
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling emotional or irritable
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Neck pain
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty remembering facts or events from earlier in the day

If you think you or someone you know might have a concussion, then consult with a doctor immediately. The recovery from a concussion can take months and involves resting with minimal stimulation—meaning no reading, TV, or any screen time whatsoever. Even when a doctor approves resuming activities after a head injury, it will only be for 10-15 minutes at the beginning, and no activity involving physical contact will be allowed.

Discover the full Return to Play protocol and six steps toward recovery from a concussion here.

If preventing a concussion isn’t enough reason to protect the head during an activity, our new Concussion Simulation Trail Card should do the trick! By wearing special gloves, ear plugs and warped vision goggles to limit the senses, Scouting youth then attempt simple daily tasks like jogging, reading or stacking objects.  Will youth find it just as easy to perform these easy tasks while experiencing simulated concussion symptoms? In the Review stage, youth can imagine living with these conditions for weeks or even years, and reflect on the importance of not only preventing head injuries but also the impact of recognizing concussion symptoms early on in order to treat the injury.

Our new Head Safe program

As a leader in youth safety programming, Scouts Canada strives to extend our culture of safety to communities across Canada. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Hydro One to create a new and engaging Head Safe program.

Through Head Safe, we will provide youth, families and communities with resources and training opportunities to prevent, identify and respond appropriately to head injuries.

With these head safety tips in mind, get out there and make your next adventure memorable and safe this summer!


Discover the Head Safe Program 



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