When looking for the ideal helmet for your child, you’ll want to consider a variety of both safety and comfort factors. After all, if a helmet is uncomfortable, your kid won’t want to wear it. The table below lists some of the most important features of our top helmet picks and shows how each helmet stacks up against the competition.
To research the best bike helmets for kids, we studied the products available on the market, checked out what the industry was saying about them, and looked for products that consistently received favorable reviews and high ratings. Learn more about our methodology.
Bike helmets for kids: Our top 3 picks
1. Giro Scamp Helmet: Best for babies and toddlers
It can be tricky to find a helmet that fits smaller heads, but parents love that the Giro Scamp offers the latest safety technology and fun designs in a helmet that fits children from twelve months up to age five.
The Giro Scamp comes in a rainbow of bright, fun colors that your kids will love to wear (and it will be easier to see on bike rides). It also comes with an anti-pinch buckle to keep little faces safe from accidents (ouch!). And we like the built-in visor that protects their eyes from the sun.
The Bell Sidetrack has a trendy, mountain-bike style design, and safety experts give it top ratings for crash protection. It’s priced reasonably, and its extra comfort features put it near the top of our list for best kids’ bike helmets.
The Bell Sidetrack is ergonomically designed to keep the helmet tough but lightweight and prevent head damage. Although it takes some finessing to get it to fit properly, its quick-adjust fasteners help form it to your child’s head (even as they grow).
When it comes to looking awesome, the Krash Black Gator multi-sport helmet takes the prize. Any kid will be eager to wear a helmet that’s sprouting a Mohawk.
But it’s not just about looks—the Krash is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and it has vents to keep your child feeling—and looking—very cool.
Just be careful when storing it, as some parents say the silicone spikes can easily get bent out of shape.
Appealing style for kids
CSPC and ASTM certified
Silicone spikes can be easily damaged
From family bike rides to riding off to school, your kids need a sturdy, comfortable helmet to keep them safe on bicycles. Kids aged 5 to 14 and teens from 15 to 19 years old have the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries.1
Small children, especially, can be hard for motorists to see and are vulnerable to accidents too. Even little spills can cause scrapes and scars on their face that a helmet can protect against.
We recommend leading by example. Wear your own helmet when you go with your kids on rides, whether you’re biking, skateboarding, or rollerblading. Starting the helmet habit early will help them stay safe throughout their life.
What is EPS? EPS stands for Expanded Polystyrene. It’s the same kind of foam used to make disposable picnic coolers. A higher-quality EPS is often used to make bike helmets because it’s both rigid and lightweight.
What is MIPS? MIPS stands for Multidirectional Impact Protection System. Swedish scientists developed MIPS technology for bike helmets to reduce stress on the skull from rotational impacts.
It cradles the head in a second inner shell that attaches to the outer helmet shell with elastic bands to absorb impact and allow the head to rotate in a controlled way during a crash. The biomedical team who developed MIPS actually based its design on the way the brain is naturally protected inside the skull.
How can I tell if my child’s bike helmet fits correctly? The helmet should be snug on their head and come just to the top of their ears. If your child’s eyebrows move when you shift the helmet on their head, that’s a good indicator that it’s snug enough.
The strap should be tight against their chin when they open their mouth all the way but loose when their mouth is closed. The helmet should rest on the forehead about two adult finger widths above the eyebrows.
What’s the difference between traditional helmets and multi-use helmets? A traditional bike helmet is lighter and has more vents than a multi-use (skater-style) helmet, so kids often find them more comfortable. But multi-use helmets are usually dual certified, so they can be used for biking, riding a scooter, skateboarding, and more.
Plus, they often provide a better fit for kids with asymmetrically shaped heads. Multi-use helmets can offer more protection for the back of the head as well.
What is the difference between in-mold and hardshell construction? All helmets have an inner EPS (foam core) layer and an outer plastic shell. Bike helmets are usually made with in-mold construction, where the EPS is fused to a thin plastic shell, keeping the shell from cracking or separating from the helmet.
With hardshell construction, the plastic shell is thicker, so it can’t be fused to the EPS. Instead, it’s glued to the foam core. ASTM standards require multi-use helmets to be more durable than bike helmets, which is why multi-use helmets are usually hardshell.
What’s the difference between CPSC and ASTM certification? The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is a US government organization that certifies US bike helmets for safety based on a specific set of cycling safety standards.
The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) is an independent, international nonprofit organization that tests and certifies multi-sport helmets for everything from horseback riding to snowboarding to mountain biking. For bike helmets, look for a helmet that’s at least CPSC certified.
Centers for Disease Control, “Bicycle Safety,” June 2017. Accessed August 14, 2020.
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Written by Kasey Tross
Kasey is a trained Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer with expertise in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four kids, including two teens, Kasey knows the safety concerns parents face as they raise tech-savvy kids in a connected world, and she loves to research the latest security options for her own family and for SafeWise readers. Learn more