Knowing when to replace a helmet?
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05-27-2009, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Edmonton, AB
Motorcycle helmets are designed to withstand one major impact. Some hockey helmets are also only meant to withstand one major impact, while others can handle multiple impacts.
When do you replace a hockey helmet? It depends on the type of foam used -- vinyl nitrile or EPP. Vinyl nitrile has a memory and will return to it's original shape, so it can withstand multiple impacts; but offers less protection. EPP foam, on the other hand, doesn't have a memory. One major blow and the structure of the foam crushes, keeping your head very safe -- but also making the helmet unsafe to re-use. (EPP foam is also used in motorcycle helmets, bicycle helmets, etc.)
In the past, most helmets were vinyl nitrile, either single-density or dual-density (softer foam against your head, harder foam against the shell). EPP is getting more popular, though, so it's best to check what foam your specific model uses.
If you've never had your head slam into the boards or ice, then a rule of thumb is five years. After that period, the foam starts to harden up and gets less and less protective.
Last edited by densetsu: 05-28-2009 at
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