You’ve seen those commercials talking about replacing your mattress after every eight years—after all, that’s a lot of dead skin cells, dirt, dust mites, etc., that gathers every night. And when it comes to your favorite pair of riding pants, you don’t think twice about replacing them when they’re starting to be wear thin. But do you even think about how old your riding helmet is?

Go ahead—take a moment to find your helmet and look at the tags inside.

Could you see the date? Or is it so faded you can’t tell if that’s a three or an eight? Can you remember when you purchased it? It might just be time to buy a new helmet.

As the seventh annual Riders4Helmets International Helmet Awareness Day, taking place on Saturday, Sept. 17, approaches, the organizers applaud those riders who don’t think twice about putting on a helmet before swinging their leg over a horse.

But if you’ve worn helmets most of your life, you might be the type to just pick up the same old helmet that has gotten you through your junior rider years and onto your adult classes because, well, it’s “broken in” and comfortable. But wearing a helmet that’s passed its limit of effectiveness might not fully protect you in the way a newer helmet can.

Did you know that helmet manufacturers generally recommend that you replace your helmet every four to five years? Think about all the time you spend in the saddle—the liters of sweat, the coats of dust, and drenching from the rains all t