The best kids’ bike helmet is, of course, the one a child actually wears — every time they get on a bike, scooter or skateboard. Bicycle helmets are essential gear for riders of all ages and experience levels, but especially so for children who are just learning how to balance themselves on a bike or scooter. Bike helmets for babies, toddlers, and older kids should meet two criteria: The right youth bike helmet is the one that’s been designed to protect children at a given age and weight — but it’s also the one they’ll want to put on and keep on. The best bike helmet fulfills all the safety requirements but also appeal to kids’ interests — aesthetically or otherwise.
The American Academy of Pediatrics confirms what you already know: a helmet is effective at preventing a traumatic brain injury during a bike crash — but only if it fits correctly and is secured appropriately. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some clear-cut tips for making sure the helmet fits.
- The bike helmet should sit level on the head and low on the forehead, which means about one or two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
- The chin strap should be snug, so nothing more than a finger can fit under it.
- To make sure the helmet fits correctly, have your kid yawn wide. If the helmet does not pull down on his or her head, you need to tighten the chin strap.
- If the helmet rocks back two or more finger-widths above the eyebrows, you need to shorten the front strap. If the helmet rocks forward into the eyes, the back strap needs to be tightened.
But a helmet’s protection is only as good as its construction, and two organizations — the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) — work to ensure helmets’ components are ready to protect. Always look for at least one certification before purchasing a helmet. All the below helmets pass that test. As for which helmet, well, the rest is up to you and your child. If you opt for a basic design but your kid wants something wilder (or sillier), helmet covers offer a cool compromise.
The Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers
German engineering and Scandinavian design, what's not to like? From the maker of beautiful, vintage-inspired bikes, Banwood's toddler helmets are constructed with durable ABS hard-shell and made comfortable with a soft foam inner lining. The dial-adjustment system ensures that the helmet is a perfect fit, and safely secured.
For the toddler who wants to make a style statement, this helmet is great for kids 3 and older. The CPSC-compliant helmet is as sturdy as it is badass and features an adjustable strap fit system, and a shock-absorbing EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) shell. It's specifically designed for smaller noggins.
Giro bike helmets have a distinctive, rounded look to them. A polycarbonate shell on this bike helmet protects an EPS liner to cushion and spread impacts. It comes in a range of circumferences, and the smallest, extra small (47 to 51 centimeter circumference), will fit children in their first year, making it an appropriate choice for those looking for an infant bike helmet or a toddler bike helmet. It's CPSC-certified for biking only.
A solid choice for beginner riders from a trusted name in the cycling world. This bike helmet has cooling vents, high-impact reflectors to improve visibility, and a guard that ensures pinch-free buckling. It's CPSC-compliant for bikes.
The Best Bike Helmets for Kids
This lightweight youth helmet from Schwinn is a great option for tweens and teens (ages 8 to 14). It features a dial-adjustment system, so it's eminently adaptable, perfect for protecting smaller and bigger heads. A soft, padded interior makes it comfortable to wear, and 20 air vents keep it cool.
For kids aged 5 to 8, the Rally customizes its fit with each wear thanks to an internal harness system. It’s a simple and effective means of making sure the best fit is achieved without a lot of time-consuming manual adjustment. Sixteen vents offer a ton of breathability for summer days, which a pinch-proof buckle helps prevent injury. It's CPSC-certified for biking only.
The only thing you really need to know about Triple 8's Brainsaver is that it's the helmet of choice of badass pro skateboarder Mike Vallely. For years Mike V refused to don a helmet, but now he has two girls, so suck it. It's dual-certified for bikes and skateboarding and also incorporates MIPS technology, which improves protection during angular impacts, not just head-on collisions. It's ASTM-certified.
Damn, these are some good-looking bike helmets. They're CPSC- and ASTM-certified as well. The bike helmet has an EPS inner shell designed to absorb impact, and soft pads cushion the inside. There's ample ventilation, too.
Some kids just want to burn down the world. For them, the skull-imprinted Mongoose MG77927-2 offers a grinning death mask with which they can terrorize the suburban roads and city streets while you and your partner gasp in mock horror. While the cavernous eye sockets on its rear are certainly noteworthy, they also allow airflow to your kid’s noggin, which is pumped in through ports on the front. This is an ASTM-certified multi-sport helmet, for scootering, skateboarding, and biking. It’s best for kids in the latter part of their first decade through the early teens.
This bike helmet still meets CPSC and ASTM safety standards as a bike helmet while allowing wider use and a cooler silhouette. Rigid foam with a hard protective shell ensures your child is protected, while ventilation ports keep him or her cool. We also like its range of sizes (even big enough for you). The small is appropriate for ages five and up, but confirm your son or daughter’s head circumference prior to purchase.
This bike helmet is meant for kids 8 and older, has 16 vents for an extra cool ride and rear reflectors for added visibility.
The Razor V-17 Youth Multi-Sport helmet comes in fun colors but ditches the cutesy patterns for fashion-conscious ages 8 to 14. It has 17 vents to ditch heat during high-output activities. and is CPSC-compliant.
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