You may have heard the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) - along with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) - has implemented some changes to certification standards for helmets starting this month. SEI is a private, non-profit organization that tests and certifies safety and protective products. SEI certification programs are voluntary and available to any manufacturer of safety and protective equipment who wants certification. The ASTM writes the standards for equestrian helmets in the United States. While anyone can propose a change to the ASTM committee and additions to standards can occur at any time, the ASTM typically updates its standards every five to six years. The changes are here but it's not something you should spend too much time agonizing over according to Krista Schneider, who is the GPA brand representative working with Foxcreek. "There are some moderate changes that will now make helmets function better. For example, the latest GPA models have a five-point harness system and offer four layers of protection," she added. The GPA 4S, available now at Foxcreek, features an outer shell made of absorbent polymer to cushion the initial shock. The second layer absorbs the residual shock wave. The main hull is reinforced with fiberglass to provide rigidity and protection of the cranial box. The final layer is designed to decelerate shock by preventing forward pressure on the cranial box and minimizing the risk of cranial lesions.Other helmet manufacturers are upping the safety game as well even though the new ASTM/SEI standard should have minimal impact on current helmet design. In fact, helmets meeting the previous standard can still be sold as their certifications remain valid and will continue to be so for the life of the helmet. Equally important is the fact that helmets with the older standards also meet USEF requirements for protective headgear and feature some of the best protection available today. The biggest change is what happens to helmet certification going forward. Starting this month, manufacturers must certify that any helmet they make meets the new ASTM F1163-13 standard. But rest assured, the USEF Safety Committee is not contemplating, or anticipating, any rule change regarding protective headgear at this time. "The bottom line is any helmet with the old certification is still safe and you can show in it without worry," Krista added. Foxcreek Mobile Equine Outfitters has a wide selection of certified helmets to meet a variety of needs. Come in today to get fitted with the one just right for you.