It’s a battle that has been waged between countless parents and children for years: The child wants to ride his or her bike, skateboard or scooter, but doesn’t want to wear the helmet necessary to prevent possible head injuries. On the other end, the parents have to try to convince their child to wear potentially bland and "uncool" helmets.
A new line of helmet accessories by Jocelyn Fine and Kelly Dineen named Fohawx is looking to make the helmet fashionable and cool for kids, adults and everyone in between. The vibrant and colorful creations were inspired by a struggle Fine had with her own son.
"My family was going for a bike ride in South Orange [N.J.] and my 7-year-old son Alex was protesting wearing his helmet," said Fine. "My daughter Maya, who is very crafty, ran into the garage and got some tissue paper, which she glued to the side of his helmet. They looked like a mixture of long, dangly dreadlocks and a mohawk. She appeared out of the garage with this newly decorated helmet, and his eyes lit up."
During the bike ride, Fine noticed the paper blowing in the wind off her son’s helmet, making it easy for Fine and her husband to track him. By the time they got home, the tissue paper had started falling off the helmet, so Fine set out to make her own version, and began tweaking what would eventually become the Fohawx line of helmet accessories.
Fine has previously worked on the business development team at Toys R Us and has experience teaching art, while Dineen was a part of the visual merchandising team at Toys R Us and works in interior design. The two friends created a business plan for Fohawx and were motivated by winning several business competitions a few years ago. Since they launched the company this past March, they've seen a steady rise in sales.
"The real evidence is in the kids," said Fine. "They're excited to wear the helmet with Fohawx attached. I even see kids looking at another kid wearing them and smiling, which is fun to see. It's not only young kids that like it, though -- there are a lot of tweens excited about it because of the feeling and attitude. Even some adults even think it's really cool." And let’s not forget all the parents who have assuaged their frustrations of trying to get their child to wear a helmet -- for now, a ceasefire has been initiated in the war on helmets being uncool.
The current Fohawx line features five styles at $19.99 apiece, though Fine is hoping to release more to ensure the fashionable safety of skaters, bikers and more everywhere.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, more than 70 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 ride bicycles, but even with aggressive new laws and programs to encourage helmet wearing, no more than 40 percent of children riding bicycles reportedly wear helmets. For bicycle riders, helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent, a figure that has lowered the bicycle injury death rate for children under 14 by 70 percent from 1987 to 2002.