I donâ€™t think I have ever heard of a child who willingly wears a bike helmet. There is always a lot of persuasion involved. What kind of helmet can I get to keep my kids safe as well as make them want to wear them?
Iâ€™m a working Mum of three boys who have been known to get more than a little adventurous when they are out riding their bikes. If there is one thing I have learned over the years is that helmets are not an accessory, they are a necessity.
After uncountable near misses and several rushed trips to the doctor, I have learned that they need to have helmets on every time they are riding, not only for their safety but also for my peace of mind.
Finding helmets that will protect them sufficiently are not particularly hard to find. Add the fact that any helmet they will actually want to wear also has to be cool enough for them, then it makes my search a bit more difficult.
Here is a guide to help you identify the perfect helmet for your childâ€™s safety and your peace of mind.
The Best Childrenâ€™s Bike Helmets â€“ A Comparison Table
No. of vents
Lazer Gekko / Lilâ€™ Gekko
46 cm â€“ 50 cm
Toddler: 9-18 mo.
Child: 18 mo-4 yrs.
XS – 45 cm -Â 49 cm
S â€“ 49 cm â€“ 53 cm
Toddlers & preschoolers
52 cm â€“ 60 cm
5 yrs. and above
48 cm- 57 cm
18 mo. â€“ 4 yrs.
Lazer Gekko and Lilâ€™ Gekko Helmet – Our Top Pick[amazon box=”B083TFQTRP” template=”horizontal” ]
Lazer Gekko helmets are an excellent choice for little riders because they are durable and feature Lazerâ€™s auto fit system. The helmet adjusts automatically to fit your childâ€™s head. This solves one of the most common problems with childrenâ€™s helmets.
Gekko and Lilâ€™ Gekko are essentially the same helmet in different sizes. Gekko is for older kids with a circumference range between 50cm and 56 cm. Lilâ€™ Gekko is for toddlers with head circumferences ranging between 46 cm and 50 cm.
They are considered lightweight though they are not the lightest in the market. The Lilâ€™ gecko weighs 330g with MIPS and 300g without. The Gekko weighs 340g with MIPS and 310g without.
Both Gekko helmets offer good side and rear coverage compared to other similar products in the market. They also stand out because of a flat back which is flush to the head. With this kind of helmet it is easy to take your child along in a bike trailer or bike seat. Helmets with a pointed back tend to force the childâ€™s head forward uncomfortably when they lean back onto the seat.
What is perhaps the most outstanding feature of this helmet is its auto-adjust system. Many kids forget to tighten their helmets in place before riding. They simply place it on their heads and off they go.
This auto-fit system makes getting a proper, safe fit completely effortless every time. All you need to do is make sure that your child puts the helmet on their head. The inner cage expands to hold it firmly in place using a tension wire which automatically conforms to your childâ€™s head.
Both Gekko helmets have a removable but sturdy visor. Its primary function is to protect your childâ€™s eyes from direct sun. A secondary function is that it protects their face in the event of a face plant.
Both are available with and without MIPS technology.
- Auto-fit adjustment system
- Removable visor
- Available on two sizes â€“ Lilâ€™ Gekko and Gekko
- Weight â€“ range between 300g and 340g depending on MIPS
- Optional MIPS
- Good side and rear coverage
- Flat back â€“ flush to head
- Side positioned buckle
- Good ventilation – 12 vents
- In-mold construction
- Visor not integrated
If you have forgetful little ones who rarely remember to strap their helmets in place, Lilâ€™ Gekko and Gekko are the choice for you. As long as itâ€™s on his head, he is safe.
Giro Scamp Helmet[amazon box=”B075KNFCHC” template=”horizontal” ]
The Giro Scamp is a favorite choice for parents because it is a high quality product available for a fair price.
- 8 vents
- Optional MIPS technology
- Sizes â€“ XS and S
- Flat back
It is a light helmet so it is comfortable for your child to have it on for hours. Internal padding is soft and is also sealed. Sealing prevents sweat from dripping down your childâ€™s face which can really disrupt the fun on a hot day. 8 vents provide sufficient air circulation.
It is easy to find a perfect fit using a dial adjust knob. The helmet is held in place using soft nylon straps so they are unlikely to irritate the skin.
As far as sizing is concerned, Giro Scamp helmets are available in two different sizes, which is extra small (XS) and small (S). The extra small fits heads with a circumference between 45cm and 49cm and the small size fits heads with circumference between 49cm and 53 cm.
The extra small size fits children as young as 12 months. It is actually one of the smallest childrenâ€™s helmets in the market because it can fit a head as small as 45 cm. The small size fits toddlers, kindergarten kids and could be used into pre-school for smaller children.
One of parentâ€™s favorite features in this helmet is that it sits flush to the head. This is especially useful at the back of the helmet when you are riding with the child in bike trailer or bike seat. A flash back doesnâ€™t force your childâ€™s head forward when it comes into contact with the back of the seat.
Giro scamp helmets are available with or without MIPS technology.
- Soft nylon straps
- Dial adjust system
- Soft internal padding
- Can pinch skin hen securing strap
- MIPS anchors sometimes get caught on long hair
Giro scamp helmets are a great balance between cost and quality. They are lightweight, comfortable and durable. They offer an exceptional fit. If you are on a budget, get everything Giro Scamp has to offer without MIPS. For a little more you can get it all, including MIPS.
Nutcase Street Helmet[amazon box=”B00G45K0BE” template=”horizontal” ]
Nutcase Street is categorized as a youth helmet made for children aged 5 and above with a head circumference between 52 cm and 60 cm.
- 11 vents
- Weight 430g
- Head circumference 52 cm -60 cm
- Hard shell construction
- Magnetic buckle
It is available in fun designs and features a Fidlock magnetic buckle. This makes sure the strap stays in place without the risk of pinching skin at the neck as happens with other systems. There is a soft chin-pad which makes the helmet more comfortable and therefore encourages children to have it on for longer.
The included visor helps to block glare from the sun which is a welcome addition but it is not integrated. It is easily removable which means it is the first thing kids will lose.
The primary selling point in this helmet is that it is dual certified for both biking and skateboarding. Many helmets in the market are certified for one or the other. This means if your child frequently rides a bike and goes skateboarding, you need to have 2 different helmets.
The idea behind all this is that typical impact from a skateboard fall is different from what would be experienced from a bike fall. Hence the need for different requirements and certifications.
This is a hard shell helmet. In this kind of helmet, the shell is cast separately from the foam liner and the two later laminated together. The benefit is that hard shells are generally cheaper but are significantly heavier than in-mold constructed helmets. This explains the higher than average weight of this helmet which weighs 430g.
- Dual certified for bike and skateboard
- Chin pad
- Internal dial-adjust system
- Heavy â€“ 430 g
- Removable visor gets lost easily
If you child is an adventurous one who wants to get involved in different activities, dual certified helmets are your best bet. It is hard enough to get him to wear one helmet, asking him to carry two for the different activities would definitely be a stretch.
Kali Chakra Helmet[amazon box=”B07XVRVW1X” template=”horizontal” ]
The Kali Chakra is a low profile helmet which cradles the childâ€™s head nice and snugly.
- Weight â€“ 280 g
- Dial-adjust system
- 21 vents
- Slim fit
- Has visor ( built-in and removable)
If your child is often in a bike trailer, this is a good helmet to have because it has a flat back. This lets them sit and lean back comfortable without having their head pushed forward awkwardly and of course uncomfortably.
The fit is considered superior because the back of the helmet ends lower down the head, almost at the nape. This provides coverage to more or less the entire head. It is a light helmet, weighing about 280 g. Many kids forget they have it on even when they are done riding.
The Kali Chakra comes in two sizes for different age groups. The chakra child designed for children with a head circumference between 48 cm and 54 cm and the chakra youth fits 52 cm to 57 cm.
For sun protection, both helmets have a visor only that one is built in and the other is not. The youth helmet has a plastic breakaway visor while the one in the child is built in.
Overall comfort of a helmet has a lot to do with ventilation. This helmet has 21 large vents which allow for sufficient flow of air to keep your childâ€™s head cool. A dial-adjust system is used to tighten the helmet and hold it in place.
One downside is that the straps are attached at the perimeter (not on the inside). If they are not tightened properly, the helmet slides from side to side.
The primary selling points in this helmet is that it comes with a crash replacement guarantee. You can actually return it and get a new one if it gets damaged from a bike accident.
- Superior head coverage â€“ covers back of head
- Flat back
- Crash replacement guarantee
- Straps attached on perimeter
Kai Chakra is an excellent product for its price range. It is lighter than average, comfortable and easy to adjust. You donâ€™t want your child having any accidents but it is still feels great to know that you can have it replaced if it gets damaged. You may never have to buy your child another helmet.
What To Consider When Buying the Best Childrenâ€™s Bike Helmets
Finding the right size and fit is essential to effectiveness and comfort. Start by measuring the size of your childâ€™s head. Use a cloth measuring tape or a piece of string and then measure it against a ruler. Take the measurement just above the ears or about an inch above the eyebrows.
For a perfect fit, make sure the helmet sits across the middle of the forehead. It shouldnâ€™t tilt on either side, back or forward. Why is it important to make sure it fits as such? Should your child fall, it ensures the helmet protects the head no matter what position they land in.
Finding the right size is the first challenge, once that is done, you also need to find a helmet with a convenient adjustment system. The easiest ones to adjust for your child or teach them to adjust for themselves is one with a dial-adjust system. It is at the back of the head and has a wheel-like adjuster used to vary the size of the helmetâ€™s inner cage for a snug fit.
Cheaper helmets use pads of varying thickness to achieve the perfect fit. You swap them out as your child grows. These do work but rarely provide a perfect fit with any of the pad sizes. They are also inconvenient since many children will have lost the alternating pads after using one for a couple of months.
The vents you see on your childâ€™s helmets are aesthetic but their primary purpose is ventilation. Having enough air circulating in there is key for comfort. Without it your child feels excessively hot and sweats, sometimes enough to ruin a good ride on a hot day.
Look for helmets with at least 8 vents. Remember you are better off with a helmet with too many vents than one with none. You can always have your child wear a warm wooly hat under a helmet with too much air circulation but you can punch holes in a helmet with no vents.
Truth be told, even you wouldnâ€™t like to be riding with an awkwardly heavy â€˜thingâ€™ on your head. Neither does your child. You may be able to persevere it for longer but it is still uncomfortable.
For childrenâ€™s helmets, the lighter the better. If it is too heavy, your child will definitely resist wearing it. It becomes less of a problem as the child gets older because their neck muscles get stronger as they grow.
The standard buckle on most helmets can pinch the skin on the neck as you buckle or unbuckle it. More expensive helmets incorporate a magnet system which uses strong magnets to hold the straps in place and avoid the risk of pinching.
Padding s used on the inside of helmets to make it more comfortable and make it fit more snug around the head. Padding is usually removable. Some brands offer additional padding of different thickness for a perfect fit on different sized heads.
Padding also helps to absorb sweat on a hot day and keep your child feeling fresh.
A helmet is a very necessary inclusion in your childâ€™s riding gear but they may not be old enough to understand just how important it is. There is always a reason for not wearing it. For preschoolers, it is uncomfortable. For older kids, it is not cool.
As a parent, you have a wide range of light and comfortable helmets which your child will love because they are also attractive enough to pass the â€˜coolâ€™ test.Â Wearing a helmet no longer has to feel and look like a bucket strapped onto your childâ€™s head
How can I tell if a helmet is MIPS equipped?
It is difficult to tell an MIPS equipped helmet from a non-MIPs equipped one, from the outside. When you look inside, you should see a thin yellow linear under the pads.
Some brands include a small yellow MIPS logo on the outside. An MIPS equipped helmet doesnâ€™t feel any different even when you wear it.
Can my child use a bicycle helmet for horse riding?
Bike helmet for horse riding, no. Horse riding helmet for bicycle riding, yes.
The Safety Equipment Institute certifies many different kinds of equipment for different purposes. Certification is based on activities and injuries common to that sport.
Bicycle helmets and horse riding helmets are designed to protect different kinds of impact. A horse riding helmet provides lower protection on the back of the head and is also harder than a bicycle helmet to protect from falls and hoof kicks. This is why they are typically more expensive.