Surgeons in Australia call for law to make it compulsory for children to wear hats after a new report reveals the risks of riding

A new Australian study of children admitted to hospital with horse-related injuries showed that those who wore hats were less likely to suffer long-term neurological damage.

Five out of six riders, who suffered severe injuries and who were not wearing hats, died.

The study, carried by the Australian Associated Press, quotes researcher Dr Andrew Holland as saying that the potential for serious injury or death in a young child involved in a riding accident was high.

The researchers are now calling for the use of a standards- approved hat to be made mandatory in Australia for children who ride.

The AAP quotes him as saying: ” Although it would not be practical to enforce hat use in rural areas, compulsory use in all competition riding, as well as in riding schools and on public highways, is likely to have an impact on riders of all ages, and in particular children who take up riding in later life.”

In Britain, it has been compulsory for children under 14 to wear hats while riding on the roadsince 1990.

Those responsible for the children – a parent or riding establishment – would be liable for prosecution if a child was seen riding without an approved hat.

Conservative MP, Harry Greenway, who was responsible for pushing the bill through Parliament more than 10 years ago, said:

” I would like to make it universally compulsory for any age group to wear hats on the roads. I am discussing a possible amendment to the 1990 bill with the British Horse Society.”

A spokeswoman for the BHS , Nichola Gregory said: ” I don’t know of any case where there has been a prosecution, but the bill has created a generation of riders who have grown up wearing hats automatically.”