Is A Youth Neck Brace Necessary Protection For My Kid ???

Posted by on Aug 25, 2013 in Youth MX & ATV Gear | 7 comments

Youth neck braces are fairly new to motocross, so they must not really be necessary. Right?

Besides that nobody knows for sure if they even work. Right?

If you think either one of those statements might be true, then you’d better read on.

Youth neck braces are a vital piece of protective equipment for kids.Around for ages, most protective equipment has been accepted into the motocross community a long time ago. Take motocross helmets for example, nobody questions the need for them anymore.

Skip To Neck Brace Deals

But because neck braces are still relatively new to the sport some controversy remains over whether or not they’re really needed. At least for some people.

Neck brace proponents say things like, “I really like being able to walk, and chew food.” To them riding without a neck brace is a risk that’s not worth taking.

Critics claim that there is no proof that they actually work since neck brace manufacturers can’t go around testing them on humans. I guess those dummies never heard of test dummies!

Do Motocross Neck Braces Really Work?

All neck brace manufacturers claim that they’re brace limits the range of motion in the neck, and distributes head snapping forces away from the neck to other areas of the body. This sounds good and all. But do youth neck braces really work?

Well despite what the uninformed think, neck braces really do work! In fact certain neck braces even have proven effectiveness.

Such is the case with the industry leading Leatt Brace, which has gone through rigorous testing with a top of the line anthropomorphic test dummy. It’s the very same test dummy used by car companies to accurately measure many different impact scenarios, except this dummy has one major difference.Neck Brace Test Dummy

Martin, (that’s what the testers called him), is equipped with what is known as a motorcycle neck, a specialization used for testing unrestrained torso impacts, (no seat belt). He is the result of more than 30 years of testing and development and has come very close to approximating that of humans.

It is this type of testing, and the fact that they actually make public their test results, that separates them from many of their so called competitors. Although, since the advent of the Atlas Tyke Youth Neck Brace (for toddlers), and the Atlas Prodigy Neck Brace (for bigger kids), they are no longer alone in that regard.

The chart below illustrates the test results in a very easy to understand way. For those of you who would like to conduct a more thorough investigation, the 147 page pdf file of the test results can be found here.

Leatt Neck Brace Test Results

Neck Braces Cost Too Much!

When it comes down to it, if they’re honest, I think most non-neck brace wearers would admit that the real reason they don’t wear a brace isn’t because they think they don’t work. But rather they think that they cost too much.

And to them I say, Get Real! What is a few hundred bucks when it comes to protecting your or your child’s spinal cord? Just quit smoking for a couple months, have a yard sale, put it on a credit card….whatever.

Wearing motocross neck braces reduces the chances of a broken neck or a more serious spinal cord injury.

Fortunately this person avoided a spinal cord injury.

Surely you’d pay dearly to reverse a spinal cord injury (not that you could, they’re permanent). So why not chump change to prevent one?

If you get one of the adjustable neck braces that your child can grow with it will fit him for a long time. Say he gets 6 or 7 years out of it. That would only cost you about $4 a month! Big deal right?

Can’t I Just Get A Cheap Neck Roll Instead?

Many people are tempted to get a neck roll instead of a brace because they are so much cheaper. But unless you’re buying for a toddler it isn’t recommended.

They will work quite nicely for a toddler though, however, as they do a great job of preventing the bobble head effect common among riders at that age. You might think head bobble is kind of funny. But it’s important to limit it because it helps small children feel more in control and ride more confidently. And it also reduces end of day neck soreness as well.

But if you are equipping a bigger, heavier, and presumably faster kid, then you will certainly want to go with a neck brace. Since a brace is going to be much more effective at offering alternative load paths for extreme forces that would otherwise be acting on the neck and spine.

Worrisome Wipe Outs

When it comes to neck injury potential there are at least a couple types of crashes which have elevated risk. “Lawn Darting”, and “Face Planting”, are two well known crashes everyone hopes to avoid, but happen none the less.

Lawn Darting normally occurs when a rider gets bucked up over the bars, and then comes down like a lawn dart on to the head. A Face Plant is exactly what it sounds like, and can happen in a variety of circumstances.

During these unfortunate events the head gets snapped back. But if the rider is wearing a good MX neck brace it will quickly come into contact with the helmet, thus limiting rearward over-extension. The remaining force is then distributed across the shoulders and back.

So why don’t all riders wear neck braces? And why aren’t they mandatory in competitive racing? After all, helmets are.

Well someday they may be mandatory. But until then it’s a personal choice. It’s up to you to decide. Those wise enough to acknowledge the risks and address them properly by regular practice and use of available safety equipment are going to fare much better than those who simply keep their fingers crossed, and hope that nothing ever compromises their child’s safety.

Hope For The Best. Prepare For The Worst.

Of course everyone hopes that it will never happen to them or one of their kids, and it probably won’t. But it is recommended that you take every possible precaution to reduce the chances of this type of an injury.

In motocross crashes are a likelihood. We all know that. And we all hope that they’ll all be minor spills and never more. But why risk it?

Don’t wait for the entire motocross community to accept them first. Neck braces are here now. Use them now.

In the next, and final portion of this article, I will provide images, and a brief description of all of the youth neck braces available on the market today. As well as link you to a couple of the top motocross gear retailers in the industry which are always competitively priced.

I’ve also done extensive reviews on some of these neck braces in separate articles. So if you’re not quite sure which one you want to buy yet, then I recommend reading through those first.

Read Product Descriptions, Customer Reviews, or Purchase a Youth Neck Brace Below

Both locations have pretty much the same product descriptions, and probably the same price too. But I recommend clicking both links anyway, so you can read all the customer reviews, as they can be a big help.

Atlas Tyke Youth Neck Brace

The Tyke neck brace is one of 3 offered by Atlas Brace Technologies. It is the smallest of the three, and is made to fit small children with a chest circumference of 24-28 inches.

The Atlas youth neck brace is a top of the line piece of motocross gear which protects the childs neck and spinal cord.

This neck brace is designed to fit 4-8 year old children.

It features a unique split back design, which gives the neck brace a lot of flexibility, and makes for a very comfortable experience. Unlike the Atlas Brace for adults, the Tyke youth neck brace has a release button which allows children to easily put on, or take off, the brace.

If you’d like to find out more about this neck brace before purchasing it, then read our Atlas Tyke Neck Brace Review. I should warn you though, there aren’t many of these braces left out there. So you’ll need to act fast to get one.

If you’re ready to take advantage of these awesome closeout prices, then follow one of the links below.

* Motorcycle Superstore – $199.99, $179.99, CLOSEOUT PRICE?
* Rocky Mountain ATV MC – $199.99, $179.99, CLOSEOUT PRICE?
* Amazon – Prices vary here, but they are often the lowest.

Atlas Prodigy Youth Neck Brace

The Prodigy neck brace is their mid-sized brace, and fits children, and small women, with a chest circumference of 29-33 inches. It has all the same features as the Atlas Tyke, it’s just bigger.

Youth Neck Brace - Atlas Prodigy

The Prodigy neck brace is designed to fit 8-16 year old kids. It’s also available in black.

Read Safety First Gear’s Atlas Prodigy Neck Brace review here. Or click below to see the closeout pricing.

* Motorcycle Superstore – $249.99, $224.99, CLOUSEOUT PRICE?
* Rocky Mountain ATV MC – $249.99, $224.99, CLOUSEOUT PRICE?
* Amazon – Prices change frequently here, but can be very low.

Leatt Brace GPX 5.5 Youth Neck Brace

Leatt’s youth neck brace is a feature rich brace which is highly adjustable. The vast amount of adjustability means that almost every rider will get a perfect fit, aiding in brace comfort, as well as brace effectiveness.
This is Leatt's junior size neck brace, which is made for medium sized children.There is a lot to talk about on Leatt’s latest offering. To read Safety First Gear’s Leatt Youth Neck Review click here. If you’re ready to purchase then click below.

* Motorcycle Superstore – $299
* Rocky Mountain ATV MC – $299

Alpinestars Bionic Neck Brace

Alpinestars has come out with a newer neck brace than this one. But this is still a great neck brace at a great price, (about $100 less).

Alpinestars is a very popular motocross gear company, so it comes as no surprise that their bionic neck support is popular as well.

The presence of a newer Alpinestars brace has driven the cost of this one down some. So be sure to click those links to see if the price has dropped even more.

* Motorcycle Superstore – $219.95, $199.99
* Rocky Mountain ATV MC – $219.95
* Amazon – Click to see sale price.

EVS Youth R4 Neck Support

The R4 neck brace is the most affordable neck brace on the market. If money is no object for you then you’ll want to go with one of the pricier braces, which are of a better quality, and will outlast this one. But if you’re one of the many parents who have trouble keeping up with all of the expenses of motocross, then this is the brace for your child.
The EVS R4 is a highly affordable neck brace for kids.

I reviewed this neck brace in a separate article, and provided some pros and cons to this entry level neck brace. Click here to check that out.

* Motorcycle Superstore – $98.95, $89.99
* Rocky Mountain ATV MC – $98.95, $89.99

Alpinestars Youth Neck Roll

Neck rolls shouldn’t be used by anyone but the smallest of riders. They help support the weight of the helmet, and prevent head bobble on toddler sized riders. But that is all they are good for.

Neck rolls are no replacement for neck braces, and should only be used for toddlers.

* Motorcycle Superstore – Does not sell.
* Rocky Mountain ATV MC – Does not sell.
* Amazon – $39.99

Have a different take on motocross neck braces? Think they’re useless? Think they should be mandatory in competition? Love this one? Hate that one? Voice your opinion below.

*** Update *** 1/30/15 An Italian racing federation has become the first to mandate it’s participants wear neck braces during their competitions. Read the article here.

7 Comments

  1. Wow, good information on this site. As someone who had a severe neck sprain when I was younger I can say that it takes quite sometime to work through it. It is not worth the risk of injury when there are proven safety measures that can be taken.

  2. Hey, love the write up. It really gives detail on how to protect yourself with the right equipment.

    • I am sure these things will become mandatory soon. But like you say, until then….

  3. Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the site is also very good.

  4. I’ve been wondering about using a neck braces on kids ever since a friend of mine recently bought his daughter a dirt bike and I saw some of the vids he posted of her riding on facebook. I’ve been telling him he’s crazy, but I get why he would do it… kid’s are hard to say no to, especially when they see you doing the thing they wanna do. They’re pretty resilient, too, and seem to bounce right back up… that said, the big disadvantage they tend to have is coordination.

    So, herein lies the question, does a neck brace restrict a young rider’s range of motion and, if so, how common are neck injuries among youth who are smaller, lighter, and don’t seem to crash as hard?

    Would a kid be more prone to going down cause of restricted range of motion, or are kid-size Leatt’s like adults-size one’s, in that you get used to wearing them pretty quickly and hardly notice them. I personally wouldn’t ride without one, but does that hold true for children? My kid’s not old enough yet, but I’m sure he’s gonna wanna follow in his old man’s footsteps eventually and start nagging to get a bike of his own soon enough. Thanks for any input.

    • Yes it does restrict range of movement, but only extreme range of movement.

      The brace stops your child’s head from tilting too far forward, backward, or to the side, which can damage the spinal cord.

      The ability to look left and right is still there. And you can still tilt your head far enough backward to look down the track while in the attack position.

      However, looking up at the sky, say… to spot a bird trying to poop on your new brace, will be a bit challenging.

      If we’re talking about toddlers here than I’d suggest a simple neck roll for now. Even the very lightest kids mx helmets are more of a load than a small child’s neck would prefer to bear. So a soft neck roll is going to offer needed support. But isn’t going to do much to prevent a spinal injury.

      It’s like you said though. Kids that small are much lighter, and more importantly, slower. Therefore the risk of spinal injury is much less.

      Beyond that though, I would advise going with a neck brace as soon as possible. Not only to address the increasing level of risk, but also to develop a safety consciousness in your child. As well as to get him used to riding in the gear that he’ll be wearing throughout his motocross career.

      It’s a little like teaching your kids to brush their teeth, even though you know those teeth are going to fall out soon.

      Great questions! I hope I answered them all.

      • I thought, for a second, that you were gonna go in a different direction the way you started there about the range of motion of the neck braces. But those were some good points. I guess that’s the whole idea to begin with, restricting range of motion to prevent spinal cord injuries, that is. Anyway, thanks for replying… you seem to have some pretty good info about youth neck braces. And, I’ll make sure to look out for bird poop on the kids neck braces! ;)

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