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As the temperature has finally dipped into the twenties in the northeast, skiers and snowboarders are starting to think about knee-deep powder, but before you head out to the slopes this season, make a quick stop at your local ski or snowboard shop, and get you and your kid properly fitted for snowsports-specific helmet.

With all that we’re learning about post-concussive syndrome and sports-related brain injury in general, you can’t be too safe when it comes to protecting our little ones’ melons. Make sure your child is properly fitted with a snowsports helmet approved by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). Even better yet — set a good example by wearing a helmet yourself. This isn’t just a suggestion, either; California, New York, and Massachusetts have mandatory helmet laws pending in their state legislatures, and in New Jersey, a mandatory helmet law is already in effect.

In April, Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that made New Jersey the first state to require kids to wear helmets on the slopes (the irony is that the only “slopes” in New Jersey are nothing but glorified sledding hills, but that’s not the point). The law, which took effect on November 1, requires everyone under 18 to wear a “securely fitted protective helmet specifically designed by the manufacturer to be used while engaged in the activity of downhill skiing,” and subjects parents/guardians to a fine of as much as $100 ($25 for the first offense) if their child is caught sans helmet.

Other states are sure to follow New Jersey’s lead. To find out whether your state has helmet legislation in the works, or to educate yourself about brain injuries in snowsports, visit www.nsaa.org (National Ski Areas Ass’n) and LidsOnKids.org.

Photo credit: Michael Choi