The Snell foundation has finalised its children’s motor sports helmet standards CMR2007 and CMS2007 which are the two standards that fall under the new Snell/FIA CMH (Children’s Motorsport Helmet) program.
What are the new standards for?
In short they are to provide a suitable helmet for children to use in motorsports, rather than a helmet designed for the adult head (and neck) and shrunk down to kid sizes. The geometry of children’s heads is different so a simple scaled-down model isn’t sufficient. The standard only accepts helmets for head circumferences under 60cm, so for kids with a large head should still go for the SA and M standards.
The purpose is to encourage the manufacturing of lighter and more protective helmets for children. The standard sets different maximum weight limits depending on the helmet size, with 1300 grams being the maximum weight for a full-face shielded helmet for sizes 57-59. Helmets in the SA2005 sstandard can weigh somewhere around 30% more than that.
The main difference between the CMR and CMS standards is that CMR (like the SA standard) allows for a narrower field of view than the CMS standard (like the M standard).
What does this mean for competition karting?
CIK-FIA has updated their regulations for 2008 with a recommendation that all under-15 should use a CMH helmet, and in 2009 it will be made mandatory. I imagine they will put in a note to say that if you’re under 15 with a size 60 head you don’t have to squeeze into a 59 or smaller CMH helmet but can use a SA or K standard helmet. For the majority of young karting drivers worldwide this will mean very little, as the SA and K standards are likely to me accepted for all drivers in most competitions, but with the improved safety of the helmets for children karters parents should look into finding one for their kids when they arrive on store shelves.
When will the helmets be available?
Helmet manufacturers are able to start certification testing at Snell’s testing facilities starting November 1st, 2007. Expect the helmets to be readily available part-way through the 2008 racing season.
SA2010 and K2010 standards getting ready
Snell is also updating the SA and K standards, with helmets using the new 2010 standard available at the end of 2009. The M2010 standard has been finalised and the SA and K standard should adopt similar changes. The main change is that impact testing will depend on the head form size used in the test, so that different size head forms will have different impact velocities. One change that we should be able to see on the helmets (and/or the box it comes in) is a new requirement that the helmet must state what circumference heads it is designed for (so instead of just saying “Size M” or “57”, it has to say 56-57 for example).
More information about Snell helmet standards can be read on their website www.smf.org.