New York State Senator Ken LaValle has passed a bill in the New York State Senate that will require horseback riders younger than age 18 to wear a helmet. The bill, LaValle said was created after Nicole Hornstein, the 12 year old daughter of a Southampton resident died from brain injuries after falling off a horse without a helmet while riding in Florida.
“New York State was one of the first states to adopt a helmet law protecting children,” Senator LaValle said, “however the current law does not adequately protect all children. Currently, only children 14 years of age and under are required to wear a helmet. Changing the age to eighteen years of age would further protect our children, prevent serious injuries and help save lives.”
Horseback riding is the eighth leading case of emergency room treated, sports and recreation related injuries and has been identified as a higher-risk activity than automobile racing, motorcycle riding, football and skiing.
Approximately 70,000 people are treated in emergency rooms annually due equestrian-related injuries, while thousands more are treated in physicians' offices. Head injuries account for approximately 60% of deaths resulting from equestrian accidents.
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday and will now be taken up by the Assembly.