Safety Meeting: Certified vs. Non-Certified Helmets

Alright folks, gather ’round for an actual safety meeting…about safety. There’s a lot of mystery and debate in the world of helmets about what’s adequate. We all know that the certified, hard foam helmets are ideal, but anything will do…right? Not the case, as the Athlete Recovery Fund so bluntly shows us in their video (below).


In it they travel over to Easton-Bell’s testing facility and show the difference between a certified and non-certified helmet, the results are pretty shocking. The performance of a non-certified helmet is so poor that it’ll produce lethal results at a fall from 1m — only half the height they usually use to certify helmets. In it the tests showed an impact of 816 g’s in the non-certified helmet and something like 135 in the certified helmet, anything below 300 g’s is considered to be non-life threatening. You might walk away a little concussed, but you won’t die. 816 to 136 — that’s a huge, huge difference. It’s life or death, no two ways around it. As Jake Wade of Team Tangy said, “I may as well be wearing a hat, at least I look better in one.” While I still think there’s more value in a non-certified helmet than that, it does make you think twice about what you’re putting on your lid.

What do you want to look for when shopping, then? CPSC certification is the government standard for helmet safety, and is the logo or fact you want to look for when purchasing your new lid. In order to attain CPSC certification, no more than 300 g’s can be produced in a drop from 3.3-6.6 feet. In some cases it can be even less. That means you’ll walk away from the fall with a concussion at the worst — much better than death, brain bleeding, TBI’s, etc. If you don’t see CPSC, look for it’s equivalent but less used certification, ASTM F1447.

I have to admit, I knew that non-certified helmets weren’t as safe as the hard-foam certified versions, but didn’t ever think that the results were this dramatic. I took a big fall and smacked my head hard with a non-certified helmet, and am now even more thankful than ever that I walked away just fine. Bottom line? Pick a certified helmet up. I’m going to buy a new one ASAP and suggest you do too. It’s just not worth risking a traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, or death. 90% of traumatic brain injuries that result in death are preventable, so use your head and protect it properly. Visit the NOBI Foundation and Helmets in Hands for more statistics and information.

Did you know the differences between helmets was so stark? Sound off in the comments below.