Safety concerns for young athletes has been a hot topic recently with more and more brain injuries occurring in young children. To prevent such injuries, the popular sporting manufacturer, Rawlings, is increasing the safety standards for batting helmets.

Many childhood injuries are preventable when the necessary precautions are taken. However, wearing a helmet when playing baseball may only do so much to protect children. The reason is because children’s heads are disproportionately large compared to their necks, which enhances the impact to the skull. The limited variation in helmet sizes for kids may mean that a child’s helmet could be too big or too small. To ensure your child’s helmet fits properly, you should refer to the safety manual included with the helmet or read our article “Bike Safety for Kids." Also, children’s brains are also underdeveloped, which makes the brain injury much more severe. In recent years, helmet manufactures like Rawlings have taken extra steps to ensure that their products are safe and sturdy enough for a hard impact.

Rawlings just announced that it will begin to implement its own rating system to inform consumers of the impact each helmet can withstand. The Rawlings Performance Rating (RPR) is described by the company as being the, “first-of-its-kind batting helmet classification system designed to educate consumers on selecting and purchasing the best option of protective headwear based on expected pitch velocities covering all levels of baseball competition.”

The rating system is labeled on the outside of the packing and ranges from being able to withstand a 70mph (S70 rating) pitch to withstanding a 100+ mph (S100® Pro Comp™) pitch which far exceeds the 68 mph industry standard set by the National Operating Committee for Standards on Athletic Equipment® (NOCSAE®).

The Senior Vice President of Rawlings, Art Chou, believes that the rating system will better inform parents of the type of helmet their child needs as he or she progresses in their level of baseball.

“Many individuals do not understand the current standard for batting helmets in the market today, as established by NOCSAE,” Chou said. “We’re confident the Rawlings Performance Rating system will enable consumers to make informed decisions about the protective equipment they need based on the level of baseball they play in terms of pitch speed.”

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.