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Achieving all-age helmet use compliance for snow sports: strategic use of education, legislation and enforcement
  1. Lynne Fenerty1,
  2. Jennifer Heatley2,
  3. Julian Young2,
  4. Ginette Thibault-Halman1,
  5. Nelofar Kureshi1,
  6. Beth S Bruce3,
  7. Simon Walling1,
  8. David B Clarke1
  1. 1Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
  2. 2Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Halifax, Canada
  3. 3Faculty of Health Professions, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr David B Clarke, Division of Neurosurgery, Dalhousie University/QEII Health Sciences Centre, 1796 Summer Street, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3A7; d.clarke{at}


Background Nova Scotia is the first jurisdiction in the world to mandate ski and snowboard helmet use for all ages at ski hills in the province. This study represents a longitudinal examination of the effects of social marketing, educational campaigns and the introduction of helmet legislation on all-age snow sport helmet use in Nova Scotia.

Methods A baseline observational study was conducted to establish the threshold of ski and snowboarding helmet use. Based on focus groups and interviews, a social marketing campaign was designed and implemented to address factors influencing helmet use. A prelegislation observational study assessed the effects of social marketing and educational promotion on helmet use. After all-age snow sport helmet legislation was enacted and enforced, a postlegislation observational study was conducted to determine helmet use prevalence.

Results Baseline data revealed that 74% of skiers and snowboarders were using helmets, of which 80% were females and 70% were males. Helmet use was high in children (96%), but decreased with increasing age. Following educational and social marketing campaigns, overall helmet use increased to 90%. After helmet legislation was enacted, 100% compliance was observed at ski hills in Nova Scotia.

Conclusions Results from this study demonstrate that a multifaceted approach, including education, legislation and enforcement, was effective in achieving full helmet compliance among all ages of skiers and snowboarders.

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