Safer skateboarding

No young skateboarder who comes into contact with Holly Irwin is apt to forget her poignant message. Now, more of them can do something about it.

Irwin is the mother of Conor irwin, a Ledyard teen who died almost two years ago after a fall while skateboarding. She has taken the path of other parents who have lost a child to a potentially avoidable accident and vowed to prevent the same risk to other youngsters. She visits parks and and skateboard shops to get the word out.

With the passage of a new law slated to go into effect Oct. 1, any child under 15 who rides a skateboard in Connecticut must wear a safety helmet. It is a good measure, even if it saves only one life — but it will likely save more than that. The goal, as Norwich Police Chief Patrick Daley said Monday at a helmet giveaway in Ledyard, is "to get them to 15, and then 16."

Thanks to state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes and Eastern Savings Bank, 100 helmets were available to give away. Police in Montville, Ledyard, Norwich and Troop E will hold the rest for distribution.

It's a chilling thought for any parent, but especially painful to Holly Irwin, that some parents wouldn't even know that a helmet was needed for safety. She says that's what happened when she and Conor bought his skateboard. The law will raise the level of awareness, and police and other adults will be able to inform young skateboarders that riding a board is now like riding a bike — not to be done bareheaded.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Pat Richardson, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, retired Day editor Lisa McGinley, Managing Editor Tim Cotter and Staff Writer Julia Bergman. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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