Bikes September 12, 2019 Bike helmets are not accessories; they are safety equipment that provides essential life-saving protection for kids. Based on performance and quality of construction, here are our top 10 helmets for general bike riding for kids. Quick Navigation 1. Giro Scamp Youth Bike Helmet2. Giro Tremor Bike Helmet3. LAZER Helmet Nutz4. Kali Protectives Chakra Youth Helmet5. Nutcase - Little Nutty Bike Helmet6. Bell Spark Jr. MIPS Youth Bike Helmet7. Giro Hale Bike Helmet8. Uvex Quatro Junior Children's Cycling Helmet9. Bell Sidetrack MIPS Youth Bike HelmetHow to Choose the Best Helmet for your 5 to 12-year-oldSizeWeightAdjustabilityBuckleMIPSBike vs. Multi-Sport 1. Giro Scamp Youth Bike HelmetBest Overall – Young KidsSIZES: XS (45 – 49 cm), S (49 – 53 cm)FEATURES: Flat back for trailer or bike seat use, in-mold construction, dial-adjust fit, built-in visor, pinch-guard buckle, and optional MIPS technology.SPECSRatingHighly RecommendedWeight251 gHead Circumference45 – 53 cmConstructionIn-mold (most durable)Number of Vents8VisorYesSkater StyleNoAge GroupYoung Toddler (9-18 mo), Child (18 mo. – 4 yr.)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial Adjust Shop now at Amazon The Scamp is everything a helmet should be at a very reasonable price. Lightweight with a dial-adjust system and built with optional MIPS technology, the Scamp doesn’t have any extra bells and whistles, but its simplicity makes it easy to use and easy on the wallet.With just a $55 price tag for the Scamp with MIPS, it’s one of the most reasonably priced MIPS helmets available. From a kid perspective, it’s consistently been one of our testers’ favorites because it’s so lightweight and comfortable. The Scamp is a win-win!PROS:Lightweight and comfortable to wearOptional MIPS technology makes it one of the safest helmets on the marketDial-adjust system for an easy and accurate fitNarrower profile in the back - well-suited for trailer or bike seat use, in addition to bikes Full Reviews Fit & ComfortHelmets are like shoes. Kids never want to wear them, they only want to wear the ones that don’t fit, and finding one that properly fits is close to impossible. Why? All too often, kids’ bike helmets are a bad fit due to poor design and construction. Heavy, hot, and uncomfortable, it’s not a surprise that kids complain.Luckily, over the past few years, great strides have been made to improve the safety, fit and functionality of kids’ bike helmets. No longer mere buckets strapped to a child’s head, today’s helmets are much more comfortable to wear because they’re lighter, slimmer, and come in a variety of fun colors. The Giro Scamp is one of the best in this new generation of helmets.With years of experience behind them, Giro hit a home-run with the Scamp. Built with lightweight in-mold construction, a dial-adjust system and with optional MIPS technology (explained below), the Scamp has an impressive resume. Just as importantly, it offers a great fit. Straight out of the box, the Giro was eagerly received by even our pickiest preschool-aged testers.SizingThe Scamp is available in two sizes – S and XS. The XS fits heads with a head circumference of 45 to 49 cm and the small fits 49 to 53 cm. The first helmet we tested is a size small and fit our testers aged 2 to 5.We also tested the XS, which was perfect for our 12-month-old tester to use in the trailer and child bike seats. We set it at the smallest size setting for her. The Scamp XS is one of the smallest helmets available. The only helmet that is the same size or smaller (that we’ve been able to find) is the Schwinn Infant, with a minimum head size of 44 cm. It is, however, significantly lower quality than the Scamp.The Scamp is one of the least bulky helmets on the market, sitting very flush to the head. With a nearly flat profile in the rear, the Scamp is well-suited for trailer or bike seat use.Optional MIPS TechnologyThe Scamp’s optional MIPS technology adds layer of safety to kids’ helmets. The foam core of a helmet protects a child from direct impact but does not protect the head and neck from twisting during an impact. The MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) allows the energy from the crash impact to be absorbed by the helmet regardless of what direction the impact is coming from.Wanting to ensure the technology was truly beneficial, Giro spent several years testing MIPS technologies before adding it to their helmets. The results of that testing demonstrated MIPS effectiveness and Giro went on to not only add it to their helmets, but they also purchased 20% of the company that created MIPS.The secret to MIPS is a thin plastic shell inside the helmet that is connected to the helmet’s protective foam with flexible anchors. When under force, these anchors stretch to allow the helmet to rotate around the head upon impact. A video and explanation of MIPS in action can be seen here.In our tests, we also found that the plastic liner of MIPS, which sits close to the skin, does tend to slightly limit the overall breathability of the helmet. While the plastic liner DOES NOT cover up any vents, sweat does tend to adhere to it. As a result, for those living in really hot climates, the non-MIPS version may be worth considering.Internal Width Adjustments and BucklesThe Scamp has an easy-to-use dial-adjust fit system that allows you to “dial” in a fit that’s specific to your child. The adjust system works by simply twisting the wheel on the back of the helmet. Similar dial-adjust systems are found on all of the Scamp’s competitors.To keep costs down, the Scamp also has a standard buckling system, versus the more advanced buckling systems such as the magnetic buckle on the Nutcase Little Nutty or the monomeric buckle found on the Uvex Hero. Like the buckles found on most helmets, the Scamp’s buckle can pinch a child if buckled too close to their neck. Uvex’s Monomatic buckle is far less prone to pinching, but they cost more to produce and therefore play a role in increasing the overall cost of the helmet.Adjusting the Chin Straps of the ScampWhile the overall fit of the Scamp is easily adjusted with the dial in the back, like any other helmet, adjusting the length of the chin straps is necessary to complete a snug and proper fit. While the Scamp has a very common chin trap adjustment design, many of our readers have had trouble figuring out how it works. Luckily, it’s simple, just not obvious. The secret lies in the small black plug in the back of the helmet. By pulling out the black plug, you will be able to adjust the length of the chin straps on both sides. The chin strap webbing is threaded through this black plug, so by popping it out, you can adjust how much webbing is on both sides of the helmet. Once adjusted, simply push the plug back into place.Scamp vs. CompetitorsCompared to other helmets in its class, the Scamp is very fairly priced at $ for non-MIPS and $ for MIPS. We applaud Giro for designing a simple, yet safe and high-quality helmet that can be sold for a family-friendly price. Currently, the Uvex Hero is priced less than the Scamp and is a great helmet for the price, but the Hero’s shallow design has to lead to fit issues for kids with longer heads as it sits higher on the head than ideal. The Scamp is more round in shape compared to the Uvex, which has proven to provide a better fit for kids with more rounded head shapes.The Sidetrack Child offers the widest range of sizing and is great for rounder heads, but due to its larger size, it is the best fit for older toddlers.Bottom LineThe Giro Scamp with MIPS is exceptional. Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use, it’s one of our hands-down favorites for toddlers and preschoolers. For those on a budget, the non-MIPS comes in more colors and still offers exceptional fit and quality for a very reasonable price. 2. Giro Tremor Bike HelmetBest Overall – Older KidsMSRP: Without MIPS), ONE SIZE: Youth 50 – 57 cmFEATURES: Rubber-grip dial-adjust knob, side straps that don’t need adjusting, higher-quality internal pads, in-mold construction, sturdy and removable visor, upgraded MIPS technology.SPECSWeight306gRatingExceptionalHead Circumference50 – 57 cmAge GroupYouth (5 and up)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial AdjustConstructionIn-mold (most durable) Number of Vents18VisorYesSkater StyleNo Shop now at Amazon The Tremor is similar to the very popular Bell Sidetrack, except that for just $5 more, it’s a much better helmet. Its high-quality fit and adjust system is simple to use with a larger, rubber-grip dial-adjust knob that’s easier to turn, and soft side straps that don’t need adjusting, the Tremor makes fine-tuning a proper fit a breeze. Giro also made comfort a high priority with internal pads that are made of top-notch technical material and air channels in the pads for less head sweat. To top it off, the MIPS model of the Tremor features an updated MIPS system that has less plastic for better airflow.PROS:With no side strap adjusters, adjusting for the perfect fit is easyDial-adjust system has a larger rubber dial for ease of usePlenty of vents and internal air channels for great ventilationInternal pads are high-quality technical materialLighter-weight than previous modelsMIPS safety technologyCONS:The standard buckle can pinch but keeps costs down Full Review Giro’s Tremor and the Hale recently made a quiet entrance into the kid’s helmet market, but we want to shout from the rooftops how much we love both of them! The Tremor is similar to the very popular Bell Sidetrack, except that for just $5 more, it’s a much better helmet. The Hale is an update on Giro’s own Raze helmet, and they fixed everything about the Raze that we thought was a bit annoying. Two big thumbs up to Giro for taking kids’ helmets to the next level! Both models are available in optional MIPS safety technology, so can we give them four thumbs up? Both the Tremor and Hale are exceptional helmets, and for most kids, it just comes down to style or color preference.Coverage and SizeCoverageBecause the Tremor is stylized like a mountain bike helmet while the Hale is a junior cycling helmet, the Tremor has more coverage in the back and sides, but both helmets provide plenty of coverage to keep your child’s head safe in the event of a crash. SizeThe Tremor and the Hale are standard “Youth” sized helmets fitting kids’ heads in the 50 – 57 cm circumference range. At their widest point, they’re 16.5 cm, just slightly smaller than the Sidetrack at 17 cm. It’s incredibly important to remember that heads come in many different shapes. You could have two kids with a head circumference of 55 cm, but they may not be able to fit in the same helmet depending on how wide or tall their head is.While the Bell Sidetrack‘s sides narrow when the dial adjust knob is turned to make the helmet smaller, the sides are fixed on the Tremor and the Hale. So if your child’s head is a little wider than average, the Giro helmets would probably be the better choice. If your child has a very wide head, skater-style helmets like the Melon, are usually the route to go.AdjustabilityGiro’s Roc Loc adjustment system is A++ and is a step up from the Sidetrack and most other helmets we’ve seen.Dial AdjustThe dial adjusts the system of both the Tremor and Hale feature a slightly larger dial that’s covered in a rubber grip to make it so much easier to adjust, especially when it’s already on a child’s head. The Sidetrack dial is harder to grip and also doesn’t dial-in nearly as smoothly.PadsWhile many higher-end helmets come with multiple sets of pads of different thicknesses to better customize the fit for your child, it seems to be a trend to forgo the extra set of pads. This keeps costs down, and also gives parents one less thing to worry about when adjusting the size of their child’s helmet. And while it may be nice to have a set of thinner pads to exchange out as your child grows, if you can manage to keep track of them that long, you’re far better parents than we are.The Tremor and Hale are both lined with high-end sealed pads to prevent sweat from dripping down your child’s face, but also, the side that touches the skin is a high-end athletic performance material called Quick-Dry padding. These pads are definitely among the nicest we’ve seen and are an upgrade from the pads of the Bell Sidetrack and the Giro Raze, which are sealed but don’t feature the technical fabric.There is a slight difference between the pads on the Tremor and Hale. The cushioning of the Tremor’s pads are broken up periodically with small air channels to promote better airflow and ventilation, while the Hale’s is not.Side StrapsCorrectly adjusting the sliders on a helmet’s side straps is one of my least favorite things to do in life. It is SUCH A PAIN but completely necessary to have a truly great and lasting fit. THANK YOU, Giro, for removing this first world problem from my life.The Tremor and Hale both feature side straps that are fixed, don’t need to be adjusted and aren’t part of their fit system. (Most kids’ helmets require adjusting the side straps to get a proper fit.) We love it! We also love that the side traps are a much softer and more tightly woven fabric than the traditional nylon found on the Sidetrack and most other helmets. They feel soft against the skin and look pretty sweet.BuckleThe buckle on both the Tremor and Hale is a standard-style buckle. While more expensive helmets are starting to upgrade to magnetic, pinch-free buckles, we don’t mind a traditional buckle if it helps keep costs down. We also love this buckle because, while basic, it’s easy to use. The Sidetrack and many other child helmets feature a buckle called the “Pinchguard” that supposedly prevents your child from getting pinched while buckling or unbuckling. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s also really hard to use and just kind of annoying.The excess buckle strap on the Tremor and Hale is spot on – just enough for what you need without all the excess strap found on other helmets.Construction, Vents, & VisorThis area is where the Tremor and the Hale differ the most.WeightWith more coverage and less venting, the Tremor weighs 306 g while the Hale is one of the lightest weight helmets we’ve seen, at 247 g. The Tremor, however, does way about 14 g less than the similar Bell Sidetrack.ConstructionThe Tremor and Hale feature in-mold construction which means that the outer shell is fused with the inner foam core so the helmet is one solid piece. This is the preferred type of helmet construction because it keeps quality high and the weight low. The Raze does have slightly more coverage over its foam core than the Tremor. Exposed foam can get damaged more easily, so while still providing adequate protection, helmets that have more of the foam-covered do have a bit more durability. This is the one area where the Sidetrack beats the Tremor. That said, the Tremor’s coverage is sufficient and worthy of a high-end helmet.VisorThe visor on the Tremor extends out farther than most visors we’ve seen, including the Sidetrack, providing more protection from the sun. The visor on the Hale is much smaller but is also consistent with other cycling helmets.VentingContinuing the legacy of the Raze as a helmet with superior ventilation, the Hale still features 22 vents and 5 air channels running from front to back. If you live in a hot climate, the Raze should be high on your list of helmets to consider.The Tremor also features 5 air channels, but only 18 vents. This is better, however than the Sidetrack with just 15 vents.MIPSFor an additional $20, the Tremor and the Hale both offer versions available with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System). MIPS is the latest and greatest in helmet technology and is a feature we highly recommend. Helmets are not fashion accessories, but safety accessories. Anything that can make a helmet more safe for your child is something you should consider.The foam core of a helmet protects a child from the direct impact but does not protect the head and neck from twisting during an impact. MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) allows the energy from the crash impact to be absorbed by the helmet regardless of what direction the impact is coming from. The MIPS system works by allowing the helmet to slightly rotate around the head during a crash. The rotation is possible due to rubber anchors that adhere an inner plastic MIPS shell to the outer foam shell of the helmet. In an impact, the anchors stretch to allow the outer foam shell to rotate around the inner plastic MIPS shell.While in earlier versions of MIPS helmets the MIPS anchors would snag on long hair, the Tremor and Hale’s internal pad system covers the MIPS anchors so this is a non-issue.Giro’s New MIPS Upgrades vs. Bell SidetrackWhat we’re most excited about with the MIPS system we’re seeing in these new helmets is that they’re incorporated into the dial-adjust cage and are slimmer in design. What this means is less plastic making your child’s head sweat! Besides long hair catching on MIPS anchors, sweaty-head-syndrome has been the other small issue with MIPS. While we strongly believe that the added safety MIPS provides has been worth these minor inconveniences, it looks like Giro and MIPS are making great strides in comfort. The Sidetrack’s pads do cover the MIPS anchors, but that helmet does not feature the upgraded MIPS cage design.ComparisonWhile we still think the Bell Sidetrack is a great helmet, the truth is, the new Giro Tremor is just better.Why the Tremor is Better than the SidetrackDial AdjustLarger knob with rubber grip is easier to turn and also turns much more smoothlyPadsHigher quality technical material and air channels in the pads for less head sweatSide StrapsDon't need adjusting and are a higher-quality, softer materialWeightWeighs 14 grams less than SidetrackVentingHas 3 more vents for better airflowVisorLonger visor for more sun protectionMIPSMore integrated MIPS system has less plastic for less head sweatGiro Hale vs. Giro RazeThe Raze was a great helmet, but Giro’s upgrades with the Hale do make a big difference!Why the Hale is Better than the RazeDial AdjustLarger knob with rubber grip is easier to turn vs. Raze's pinch and turn dial adjust which was more difficult to usePadsHigher quality technical material on the pads for less head sweatSide StrapsDon't need adjusting and are a higher-quality, softer materialSide Strap AdjustersThey got rid of these on the Hale but were bulky on the Raze and caused skin irritation with some of our testersWeightLightweight - weighs 247 grams vs. 281 gramsMIPSMore integrated MIPS system has less plastic for less head sweatBottom LineThe Tremor and the Hale are both phenomenal options for your child’s next helmet. With one of the highest quality and easiest to use adjustment systems available in a kid’s helmet, great ventilation, durable and lightweight construction, and optional MIPS models, Giro has hit a home run with these helmets. When choosing between the Tremor and Hale, it might just come down to which colors and designs your kid likes better! 3. LAZER Helmet NutzBest Safety FeaturesMSRP: With MIPSSIZES: 46 – 56 cmFEATURES: AutoFit internal cage adjust system, pinch-proof buckle, locking chin strap sliders, in-mold construction, great ventilation, optional MIPSSPECSRatingExceptionalWeight300 gHead Circumference50 – 56 cmConstructionIn-mold (most durable) Number of Vents16VisorYesSkater StyleNoAge GroupYouth (5 and up)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemAuto Adjust Shop now at Amazon As close to luxury as a helmet gets, the Lazer helmets excel in style, performance, and safety. The Nutz key feature is its AutoFit system that takes the human error out of fitting the helmet to your child’s head. The enclosed tension wire inside the helmet automatically adjusts for a precise fit. Additional features include a magnetic, pinch-proof buckle, locking sliders to keep the chin straps in place, a built-in visor, and numerous vents for good air circulation.PROS:Durable, in-mold foam coreOptional MIPS technology makes it one of the safest helmets on the marketIncredibly precise fit - unique autofit system eliminates the need for an adjustment dial by automatically conforming to a child’s headCONS:The auto-fit system doesn’t work well with loose, long hair (tied back is fine!)A bit pricey Full Reviews As one of the world’s oldest helmet manufacturers, Lazer prides themselves on making not just mere helmets, but rather “brain protection” with “an excellent synergy between design, comfort, safety, and technology.” From the outside in, Lazer’s passion for perfection is demonstrated in their Nut’z kid's helmets. MIPS Safety SystemHelmets that incorporate MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) are arguably the safest helmets on the market and have shown to decrease brain injury by 30%. As shown in Lazer’s video, the standard helmet is designed to protect the brain from direct impacts (hitting the ground with strictly downward motion), while the MIPS helmets are engineered to protect against multi-directional impacts (hitting the ground while in a forward, downward motion).MIPS models run about $20 more than the standard, non-MIPS models. Besides the MIPS inner cage, the MIPS and non-MIPS models are essentially identical.Construction & DurabilityAdhering to their higher safety standards, all Nut’z models, are built with in-mold construction. While the standard in-mold construction increases the durability of the helmet, it also leaves the foam core beneath the helmet exposed.Lazer saw this as an opportunity for improvement and expanded their plastic shell to fully encompass the exposed foam on the bottom brim of the helmet. While the plastic shell doesn’t directly increase the safety of the helmet, it does so indirectly by protecting the foam core from damaging punctures and dents. Autofit Adjustment SystemLazer’s Autofit system also stands out amongst competitors. Consisting of a tension wire in a plastic housing, the system eliminates the need for an adjustment dial by automatically conforming to a child’s head, thereby creating a custom, precise fit with every use. Seeing that kids and/or parents often don’t take the time to properly adjust a child’s helmet, the Autofit system comes standards in all Nut’z models. While the Autofit system automatically adjusts the inner plastic housing of the helmet, it is important to note that the first time the helmet is worn, parents will be required to manually adjust the chin straps and side-ear sliders to ensure the straps are properly in place.While we generally loved the Autofit system, we did find it problematic on girls with long, loose hair. During use, the Autofit system seemed to slide the helmet up along the loose hair causing the helmet to become out-of-place within minutes. Once the hair was tied back, the helmet moved slightly but remained in a safe position on the head. Due to these findings, the Lazer helmet is only a top pick for boys, not girls.Bottom LineP’Nut and Nutz MIPS models are one of the safest helmets on the market. When purchasing a MIPS model be sure that it is listed as a MIPS model in the product description as the non-MIPS and MIPS models are otherwise identical. Compared to other non-MIPS helmets, the standard Nut’z models are top performers as well. So with exception to the issue with the Autofit system and long hair, if you are looking for a durable, worry-free helmet, the Nut’z models are a top pick. 4. Kali Protectives Chakra Youth HelmetBest on a BudgetWith a lightweight design, easy dial-adjust, excellent ventilation, and built-in visor, the Kali Chakra is a winner.RATING: Highly RecommendedBEST FOR: The best child helmet under $30, the Chakra offers great protection, durability, and ventilation.SIZE: 52- 57 cmADJUSTMENT SYSTEM: Dial AdjustSPECSRatingHighly RecommendedWeight208 gHead Circumference52- 57 cmConstructionIn-mold (most durable) Number of Vents21VisorYesSkater StyleNoAge GroupYouth (5 and up)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial Adjust Shop now at Amazon With a crash replacement guarantee, you may never need to buy your child another helmet! But seriously, we’ve had a helmet replaced for free after a Kali Chakra prevented a pretty serious injury to one of our riders. It’s the real deal!The Chakra is also super lightweight, compact, has 21 large vents for superb ventilation, an easy dial-adjust system, and a built-in visor. The Kali Chakra is a kid and parent favorite!PROS:Slimmer and more compact than other helmets also covers more of the back of the headUnique contoured shape makes it cradle the head and prevents it from slipping backFlatter back for easy use with bike trailers21 vents for excellent airflowSuper lightweightEasy-to-use dial adjust systemCrash replacement guaranteeCONS:If the straps attached at the perimeter of the helmet (rather than on the inside) aren’t tightened adequately, the helmet can slip side-to-side Full Reviews With a compact, lightweight design, easy dial-adjust, excellent ventilation, and built-in visor, the Kali Chakra helmet is a kid and parent favorite. Getting my daughter to consistently wear a helmet while riding her bike used to be a power struggle of epic proportion.I blame in equal parts my daughter’s feisty will and her old, sub-par, uncomfortable helmet. Fortunately for me, half of that equation was remedied by the Kali Protectives Chakra Helmet. (Her stubbornness was subdued a bit after my head was saved by a helmet from a nasty bike spill, but that’s another story.)Kali Protectives gets just about everything right with its Chakra helmet. I first loved how compact it is; no longer does my kid look like she’s wearing a carved out watermelon while riding down the street. Its low-profile design snugly cradles her noggin, and the back is shaped like the contours of a head rather than poking out. The flatter-style back meant that she was happy to wear it while being towed in the trailer since it didn’t push her head forward.The Chakra comes in two sizes, Child (48 – 54 cm) and Youth (52 – 57 cm), at age 5, my daughter was the perfect fit for the Child. Besides size and therefore weight, the helmets are the same, expect the youth has a plastic breakaway visor while the child has a built-in visor.Ventilation on the Child’s Chakra is superb. Twenty-one large vents allow for excellent airflow. At 208 grams, it is also one of the lightest-weight helmets we’ve tested. This helmet is so comfortable my daughter often forgets she has it on. One minute she’s out riding bikes, and the next she’s on the swings or climbing the playset, helmet still buckled happily on her head. (I’m not going to complain!)The subtle, built-in visor is nice because it won’t break off. The dial-adjust system is very easy for my daughter to use, and she knows to snug it up whenever she puts on the helmet. Unlike most other helmets, the back ends lower down the head. The dial-adjust is almost at the nape of the neck, leading to a cradled feeling, and importantly preventing the helmet from sliding back and exposing that all-important frontal lobe to trauma.The Chakra straps are fairly easy to adjust. The front straps are attached at the front, and the one-piece back strap is threaded through the back of the helmet. Just pop off the triangle in the back, adjust the straps as necessary, and trim off any excess.The only downside to having the straps attached at the perimeter of the helmet (rather than on the inside) is that if it’s not tightened adequately the helmet can slip side-to-side.Bottom lineKali Protectives Child Chakra (48 – 54 cm) is an excellent helmet at a price point that can’t be beat. It’s lightweight, compact, comfortable, and easy to adjust. Its unique contoured shape makes it cradle the head and prevents it from slipping back. The icing on the cake is that it comes in some fun colors and designs, making it that much easier to convince your kid to protect their brain. 5. Nutcase - Little Nutty Bike HelmetBest Dual-CertifiedWith funky designs, a great fit system, and dual-certification, the Street is a fun and safe choice for kids.RATING: Highly RecommendedBEST FOR: Kids who want a fun and funky dual-certified helmet for bike and skateboard use.SIZES: Street S (52 – 56 cm), Street M (56 – 60cm), Little Nutty (48 – 52cm)FEATURES: Dual-certified, dial-adjust fit, magnetic buckle, fun, and funky designs Shop now at Amazon Super safe without sacrificing style, Nutcase helmets are dual-certified for use for biking, skateboarding or scootering. Although many helmets are skater-style, many are only certified for biking use. To truly protect a child during skateboarding, the helmet must be constructed differently to protect from the multiple falls and impacts experienced by skateboarders. Nutcase helmets feature fun and funky designs as well as a dial-adjust fit, locking sliders and a magnetic buckle.PROS:Great fit - internal dial adjust and three sets of interchangeable sizing padsDual certified for biking and skateboard useSoft chin pad and magnetic "no pinch" buckleFun and funky stylesRemovable visorCONS:Few vents lead to sweaty heads (common with skater-style helmets)Heavier than a traditional helmet Full Reviews For preschoolers, they are uncomfortable and for grade-schoolers, they aren’t “cool”. As a parent, getting kids to wear (and keep on) a helmet can be a challenge. With the majority of kids wearing old, ill-fitting helmets that never stay in place, it’s no wonder kids don’t like wearing them. With the mantra, “Fits your head. Suits your soul.”, Nutcase helmets set out to change that. Designed to look as good as they protect, with Nutcase you can have your cake and eat it too. With funky designs, from hand-painted artworks to billiards eight-balls, paired with safety features such as full 360° visibility, a Fidlock magnetic buckle, and a dial-adjust head cage, the Nutcase Street is sure to please both parent and child.Dual-certifiedDual-certified for both biking and skating, Nutcase Street is ideal for all-around adventurous kids who ride their scooters and bikes. The impact of falls skateboarders experience is significantly different than those experienced by bikers, which is why two separate certifications are required. As the popularity of skateboarding and Razor-type scooters increases (which appear to be largely responsible for a 40% increase in child injury rates), for most parents, a dual-certified helmet is the best bet. The stickers below are two examples of dual-certified helmets labels. The one on the left is Nutcase Street, while the one on the right shows a dual-certified with European (EN) standards.The problem is, not all skater-style helmets are dual-certified and many of those that are, do not have adequate internal head cages and pads to keep the helmet properly in place. Sticklers for safety, Nutcase loaded the Street with two layers of adjustability to ensure a proper fit. Three sets on internal pads, of various thickness, are included with each helmet as well as a dial-adjust head cage, allowing for a precise fit.FeaturesEach Nutcase helmet comes with a Fidlock magnetic buckle. Easy to use and fun for kids to show off, the buckle is yet another reason why kids love wearing Nutcase helmets. The accompanying soft chin-pad is a bonus to encourage kids to not only wear their helmets but to keep them buckled.Blocking glare from the sun, the removable visor, a rare find in a dual-certified helmet, is a welcome addition. Unfortunately, it easily falls out and was often lost. Considering kids tend to drop their helmets next to their bikes and run off without a second thought, a tightly secured visor would be more practical.ComparisonsDue to the increased amount of coverage required, as well as the overall construction requirements of dual-certified helmets, they are almost always heavier and have fewer vents than traditional bike helmets. As a result, for those who only ride bikes, a traditional helmet is often more practical, but not nearly as fun :).While testing the Nutcase, our 8-year-old tester had several helmets to choose from, but the style of the Nutcase Street was her clear favorite. From mountain biking trails to balance bike races through the neighborhood, she happily and eagerly put on her Nutcase before headed out to ride. After several sweaty rides, however, she did come to prefer the lighter and cooler traditional bike helmets for longer mountain bike rides.Bottom LineThe dual-certified Nutcase Street is an ideal choice for kids on scooters, skateboards, and bikes. Fun, safe and versatile, the Street is sure to be a hit for both parent and child. Heavier and with less ventilation than traditional helmets, the Street is not ideal for extended bike rides. 6. Bell Spark Jr. MIPS Youth Bike HelmetBest Mountain Bike HelmetThe Spark is the ultimate bucket protector for adventurous riders, with amazing ventilation and integrated MIPS technology.RATING: ExceptionalBEST FOR: Neighborhood to aggressive riders wanting a high performing helmet with grown-up styling.SIZES: Spark (50 – 57 cm), Nomad (52 – 57 cm)FEATURES: Large ventilation holes for excellent ventilation, MIPS safety technology comes standard, sport-tech helmet pads to prevent sweat from dripping, and a dial-adjustment system for the perfect fitSPECS:RatingHighly RecommendedWeight345 gHead Circumference50 – 57 cmConstructionIn-mold (most durable) Number of Vents13VisorYesSkater StyleNoAge GroupYouth (5 and up)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial Adjust Shop now at Amazon The Spark Jr. MIPS is Bell’s newest (2019) offering for kid’s mountain bike helmets. With fantastic coverage and ventilation, this enduro-style helmet will keep your kid’s noggin’ safe while they shred in style. The Nomad Jr. MIPS is a more budget-friendly version of the Spark, but both come standard with MIPS safety technology.While the Nomad is made to fit larger heads (minimum head circumference of 52 cm vs. 50 on the Spark), it’s significantly more narrow than the Spark. As a result, it may be more difficult to fit on larger heads. If your child has a wide head, you’ll need to get the Spark instead of the Nomad. Additionally, the MIPS anchors on the Spark are covered, while on the Nomad, they’re exposed. Exposed MIPS anchors easily snag on long hair, so the Spark would also be a better choice than the Nomad for most girls.PROS:Fun, modern mountain biking styleSuperior airflow to keep heads coolIntegrated MIPS protectionSweat pad on the forehead to prevent dripping sweatThick, moisture-wicking padsLightweight designDial-adjustCONS:Standard buckle (not non-pinch)Non-locking chin strap sliders Full Reviews A true helmet for little groms and any young adventurous rider, the Bell Nomad Jr offers the look and performance of an adult enduro mountain biking helmet in a pint-sized package. Complete with integrated MIPS technology, thick, moisture-wicking pads, and 13 large vents working side-by-side with deep channels in the helmet’s foam core, the Spark Jr. is our favorite helmet for young mountain bikers.SizeThe Spark is sized to fit heads 52 to 57 cm in circumference and was a great fit for our testers aged 7, 10 and 12. Designed for a more aggressive rider, the Spark Jr. is deeper to provide extended coverage along the sides and back of the head.To highlight the extended fit of the Spark Jr., we compared it to the Bell Nomad Jr., which retails for $20 less than the Spark. The Nomad Jr. also features MIPS technology and mountain-bike styling but has a wider size range of 50 to 57 cm.7-year-old with a 52 cm Head CircumferenceBoth the Nomad Jr. and the Spark Jr. fit our 7-year-old tester, but the Nomad’s shallower build places the helmet higher on the head. The deeper Spark provides additional protection down the sides and the rear of the helmet but was almost too deep for our 7-year-old. Extending down to his eyebrows, the Spark rested on the top of his sunglasses. As a result, if your young grom prefers wearing sunglasses while riding, be sure they are equipped with smaller, kid-sized sunglasses (Uvex Sportstyle glasses shown).12-year-old with a 56 cm Head CircumferenceAlthough older and having a larger head circumference, the Spark Jr. has a similar fit on our 12-year-old tester. Being older and more likely to ride at higher speeds, the extended coverage of the Spark Jr. is especially beneficial. The Spark Jr. does provide more room for sunglasses for her as compared to the 7-year-old, but not nearly as much as the high set Nomad Jr...10-year-old with a 57 cm Head CircumferenceThe shape and design of the Spark Jr. as compared to the Nomad Jr. was especially noticeable with our 10-year-old with a round head. The narrower Nomad was too narrow for him to get on, while the wider Spark was able to fit. While it fits, the Spark Jr. offered little room for growth, so for him, the adult-sized Spark, versus the Spark Jr., would be a better purchase option.Spark Jr. vs. Nomad ShapeA side-by-side comparison of the Spark Jr. versus the Nomad Jr. clearly shows the difference in their shape. The Nomad is designed for a smaller head and its foam core is much narrower than the Spark. As a result, the Spark is much better suited for wider heads than the Nomad.Integrated MIPSBuilt for the ambitious young rider, the Spark Jr. not only comes with MIPS, it takes it one step further with an integrated MIPS system. MIPS stands for multi-directional impact system, which provides additional protection to the head and neck from steeply angled impacts. Upon an impact, the MIPS system allows the helmet to rotate around the head, thereby preventing a portion of the angular forces from tweaking the head and neck.On most MIPS helmets, the MIPS consist of a separate internal plastic layer that works independently of the helmet’s internal adjust cage (the cage that controls the fit of the helmet). The MIPS system on the Spark is an integrated system which allows the MIPS layer and the helmet’s internal adjust system to work together as one.As a bonus, the MIPS anchors are covered on the Spark. Located beneath the pads, the anchors are safely tucked away to prevent long hair from being snagged on the anchors. The extended brow pad on the front of the helmet helps to pull sweat away from the face and prevent it from dripping down the face.Weight, Air Flow, and PaddingAlthough the Spark is technically a larger helmet than the Nomad, it’s several grams lighter. The Nomad comes in at 353 g while the Spark is 345 g. While the integrated MIPS system plays a slight role in lightening the Spark, the deep pockets in Spark’s foam core, which allow for additional airflow, play a larger role.Running down the middle of the helmet, as well as front to back between all 13 vents, the Spark provides superior airflow with air channels. These air channels are recessed into the foam and allow the air to flow underneath the red MIPS liner, between vents, and eventually out the back of the helmet. The Nomad has a few air channels between the air vents, but they are not as deep or prominent as the Sparks.The pads on the Spark are also a step up from the Nomad’s as they are thicker, more numerous, and constructed out of moisture-wicking material.VisorsThe visor on the Spark is more smoothly integrated into the design of the helmet than the Nomads. The Spark’s visor attaches to the helmet via three plastic anchors, versus the Nomad’s two. Neither visor is adjustable.Unlike traditional visors on helmets, the visors on the Nomad and Spark are placed higher on the helmet, significantly above the bottom of the helmet’s foam core. The higher placements provide relief from the sun without compromising visibility while leaned forward on the bike.Bottom LineThe Bell Spark Jr. is a top-notch helmet fully equipped to tackle everything from neighborhood riding to intermediate mountain biking trails. With MIPS technology, lightweight design, and superior airflow, the Spark Jr. will keep your young grom’s bucket cool and protected. As compared to the cheaper Nomad Jr., the Spark Jr. is especially beneficial for kids with longer hair (covered MIPS anchors) as well as those with round-shaped heads. 7. Giro Hale Bike HelmetBest True CyclingONE SIZE: Youth (50 – 57 cm)FEATURES: Airflow channels and 22 vents for superior ventilation, high-quality and easy-to-use adjustment system, technical fabric on padding, upgraded MIPS systemWith one of the highest quality and easiest to use adjustment systems available in a kid’s helmet, the Hale is a winner.RATING: Exceptional BEST FOR: Parents looking for a helmet with upgraded features, best-in-class comfort, ease of adjustability, and the added safety of MIPS technology.SPECS:Weight247gRatingExceptionalHead Circumference50 – 57 cmAge GroupYouth (5 and up) CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial AdjustConstructionIn-mold (most durable)Number of Vents22VisorYesSkater StyleNo Shop now at Amazon The Giro Hale is an update and serious upgrade to Giro’s Raze youth helmet. Weighing in at just 247 grams and with 22 vents, the Hale is lightweight and boasts some serious ventilation for less sweat and a more comfortable ride. The high-quality technical material on the sealed internal pads also helps keep your child’s head cool and dry(er). The fit adjustment system is simplified and easy to use, and the optional MIPS model now comes with an updated MIPS system that has less plastic for less head sweat.PROS:With no side strap adjusters, adjusting for the perfect fit is easyDial-adjust system has a larger rubber dial for ease of usePlenty of vents and internal air channels for great ventilationInternal pads are high-quality technical materialLighter weight than previous modelsMIPS protection systemCONS:The standard buckle can pinch but keeps costs down8. Uvex Quatro Junior Children's Cycling HelmetBest BuckleWell-ventilated to keep kids cool, while Uvex's unique buckle is truly pinch-free.RATING: ExceptionalBEST FOR: One of our top picks for 4 to 5-year-olds (50 - 55cm), or older toddlers in need of a deeper helmet. The true non-pinch buckle makes it very suitable for kids antsy about being pinched.SIZE: 50 – 55 cmFEATURES: Unique non-pinch ratcheting buckle, locking chin strap sliders, durable in-mold construction, optional LED flashing light attachmentSPECS:RatingExceptionalWeight265 gHead Circumference50 – 55 cmConstructionIn-mold (most durable) Number of Vents9VisorYesSkater StyleNoAge GroupYouth (5 and up)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial Adjust Shop now at Amazon The Uvex Quatro is a well-designed, well-built helmet with lots of vents, but its unique ratcheting buckle is what makes it shine! Having tested many different buckling systems, Uvex’s is the only buckle that we haven’t accidentally pinched a child with.The size of the Quatro is also unique. Larger than most toddler helmets, but not as large as most youth helmets, the Quatro is the perfect fit for kids who need that rare in-between size. Its narrower fit range (just 4 cm of adjustability) allows the helmet to fit more securely and is also less bulky on smaller heads as compared to most “youth” size helmets.PROS:Precise fit for young kids’ heads - designed for kids who are too old for toddler helmets, but still too small for most youth helmetsUnique, pinch-free, ratcheting buckleDurable in-mold construction prevents the shell from warping or crackingDial-adjust internal fit systemEasy-adjust chin straps with a soft chin padCONS:Too narrow for wider heads Full Reviews The Uvex Quatro Junior is a uniquely sized helmet designed to fill a much-needed gap between toddler and youth size helmets. Toddler helmets are designed for smaller heads, so they’re smaller and shallower than youth helmets. Youth helmets are deeper to fit larger heads but are often too bulky for preschoolers.The Quatro is designed to be the sweet spot in between – large enough for kids ages 4 to 8, without the extra bulkiness that often comes along with youth helmets. The Quatro’s slimmer fit (fits heads 50 – 54 cm) is due to its narrower sizing fit.With only 4 cm of sizing range versus the standard 7 to 8, the Quatro fits snugger and there is much less excess space around the inside of the helmet. As a result, the Quatro won’t produce the “bobble-head” effect with preschoolers like a youth helmet often does.ConstructionThe Uvex is built with in-mold construction that offers years of durability and performance. Hailing from Germany, Uvex is a well-established helmet brand used by many top athletes around the world. The construction of the Uvex is top-notch and is in line with or better than the construction found on larger, more well-known brands such as Bell and Giro.SizeThe Quatro fits heads with heads 50 to 54 cm in circumference. We tested out the Quatro on kids ranging from 4 to 8 and found the Quatro to be very accommodating on heads of various sizes and shapes. Our testers had head circumferences ranging from 50 to 53 cm and were easily able to adjust the helmet to fit each one.The one downside of the Quatro’s unique size is that it does provide less room for growth and kids will outgrow it sooner than they would a traditional youth helmet. How long your child will fit in the Quatro depends on your child.Our main tester has been wearing the helmet for 4 years, but other kids may outgrow it within a year or two. To get the most out of the Quatro, we recommend purchasing the Quatro if your child has a size 50 or 51 cm head.The narrower size range of the Quatro allows the helmet to sit more flush against the head and to be less floppy on smaller heads. Although the range is narrow, our main tester, shown below, has been wearing the Quatro for the past three years and it still fits perfectly!To accommodate the traditional head shapes of kids in the 4 to 8 age range, the Quatro is intentionally more oval as compared to “toddler” helmets, but wider compared to “youth” helmets.As shown below, you can see that the Bell Nomad “youth” helmet is longer and narrower than the Quatro, while the Uvex Hero “toddler” helmet is rounder than the Quatro. These slight changes between helmet shapes are consistent with the average child’s head becoming less round and more oval as they age.The shape of the Quatro is also unique in-depth and rear coverage. The Quatro is deeper like a youth helmet (sits closer to the eyes) but still has extended coverage on the back like a toddler helmet. These images also show the difference in “bulkiness” with the Quatro being less bulky than the Nomad, while still being larger than the toddler-sized Uvex Hero helmet.Monomeric Buckle and Locking SlidersIn addition to its unique size, the Quatro also features Uvex’s “monomictic” ratcheting buckle. Having used many different types of buckles throughout our years, Uvex’s buckle is certainly my favorite. Its unique design ratchets in place, versus snapping like a traditional buckle. We’ve found Uvex’s buckle to be easier to use and essentially pinch-free.The beauty of the ratcheted system is that it allows you to slowly snap the buckle together. This prevents the child’s skin from accidentally getting caught while the buckle is snapping shut. With traditional buckles, the snap goes together quickly and it’s very challenging, if even possible, to slow the buckle down when snapping it shut.To help keep the chin strap stay secure and in place, the Quatro features a locking slider. The slider on a helmet is located just below the ear and connect the two straps of the helmet. To provide for a proper fit, the slider should be adjusted along the strap so it brings the two straps together to make a triangle just beneath the ear.Most sliders are NOT locking and constantly slide around, leading to the need for continual adjustment. The Quatro’s sliders are locking which help keeps the alignment of the straps secure.Vents and Optional LED LightTo maintain proper airflow, the Quatro is well ventilated with 13 vents. The front three vents have mesh to help keep the bugs out.For added visibility, Uvex offers an optional LED light that easily pops into one of the rear vents. The light is easily activated by pushing the white triangle. The red LED light can be set to blink or be continuous. GlassesUvex offers a great line of kids sunglasses. Our testers have used and loved Uvex glasses for years. In addition to protecting delicate eyes from the sun, they help keep dust and dirt out during trail rides.Best of all, their glasses are super durable, even kid-proof. Our testers have bent and twisted the glasses over and over again and we’ve never had a pair break! Uvex kids glasses are available through Uvex.ComparisonsThere aren’t a lot of other helmets specifically designed to bridge the gap between child/toddler helmets and youth helmets. The Bell Sidetrack Child and the Giro Scamp, however, are similar enough to warrant a comparison.Uvex Quatro Junior: The best option for toddlers or preschoolers who need a deeper helmet or any kids age 4 – 8, especially those antsy about being pinched by a buckle.Bell Sidetrack Child: Best for kids with a head circumference less than 50 cm, who need a helmet that’s deeper than a traditional toddler helmet.Giro Scamp: Our top toddler helmet, the Scamp is rounder in shape and best for the littlest of kids. It’s generally a great fit for most toddlers and preschoolers.Uvex Hero: Smaller and more shallow than the Quatro, the Hero is ideal for toddlers with rounder heads, especially those antsy about buckles.Bottom LineWell designed, durably built, and complete with features adults are sure to envy, the Uvex Quatro Junior is one of our top picks for ages 4 to 8, especially those in need of a deeper helmet. 9. Bell Sidetrack MIPS Youth Bike HelmetStylized like an adult mountain bike helmet but in a pint-sized package. Durable, adjustable, and full-featured.RATING: Highly RecommendedBEST FOR: Youth riders, typically ages 6 to 12, looking for an "adult-looking" helmet with a lot of features and the added protection of MIPS technology.SIZE: 50 – 57 cmFEATURES: Ergo Fit dial-adjust system, in-mold construction, durable snap-in visor (removable), optional MIPSSPECS:RatingHighly RecommendedWeight276 gHead Circumference50 – 57 cmConstructionIn-mold (most durable) Number of Vents15VisorYesSkater StyleNoAge GroupYouth (5 and up)CPSC Certification5+Internal Adjustment SystemDial Adjust Shop now at Amazon Styled like an adult mountain bike helmet, the Bell Sidetrack Youth offers the safety features parents desire along with a sporty and modern design kids love. A helmet can only protect your child or tween if they’re wearing it – Sidetrack to the rescue by making helmet wearing cool again! Built with durable, in-mold construction and a sturdy dial-adjust system, the Sidetrack is also well ventilated for comfort. The Sidetrack is available with MIPS safety technology to minimize injuries from impacts at sharp angles. Safe, comfortable, durable, easily adjustable, and just plain cool, the Sidetrack has it all!PROS:Extended coverage in the back for better protectionDial-adjust system has a full cage for a more precise fit15 vents and internal air channels for great ventilationTri-glide sliders stay in place better than traditional slidersStylized like a mountain bike helmet for an extra cool lookMIPS safety protection systemCONS:The buckle is difficult to figure out and takes some practiceThe dial adjust can be hard to grab when on a child's head Full Reviews Stylized like an adult mountain bike helmet but in a pint-sized package, the Sidetrack is durable, adjustable, and full-featured for a very decent price. And let’s be honest, it has some cool factor! Available in Child and Youth sizes, the Youth model is available in optional MIPS safety technology for the best noggin’ protection you could ask for.Coverage and SizeExtended Coverage: Designed with the look and feel of a mountain bike helmet in mind, the Sidetrack boasts lower coverage on the back of the head. Size: The Sidetrack comes in two sizes – Child (47 cm – 54 cm) and Youth (50 – 57 cm). There is a 4 cm overlap so that a child with a head circumference of 50 – 54 cm could technically wear either helmet.The tester below has a head circumference of 50.5 cm. He’s on the very low end of the Youth’s range but in the middle of the Child’s range. The Youth helmet looks slightly bulky on the sides and back but still fits him just fine. The Child, however, appears to be a better fit and still leaves several cm and years for growth.Here’s where it gets tricky. As explained in more detail below, as you turn the dial on the back of the helmet to make it smaller for smaller head circumference, the inside of the helmet narrows, including the sides. While the Child helmet appears to fit our tester better, it’s too tight on the sides when dialed in to fit his head. So in his case, the Youth would actually be a better choice. It’s about head circumference, but also about head width.At its widest point at the largest setting, the Child is 15.5 cm wide. Youth is 17 cm. So take into account that the Youth is probably going to be a little wider at any given setting when deciding whether the Youth or Child is better for your kid. If your child has a noticeably wide head, you might want to check out a skater-style helmet like the Melon, which is known for being more round than oblong.Adjustability The Sidetrack features Bell’s fit and adjustment system called Ergo-Fit, which is comprised of two elements: 1) A full internal cage for the dial to adjust, and 2) No-twist, tri-glide side strap sliders. Combined, these allow for an accurate and longer-lasting fit so your child’s helmet can protect them in the event of a crash.Dial Adjust: The dial adjusts the system of the Sidetrack allows for a more dialed-in fit than a standard dial adjusts the system. Dial adjusts systems work by tightening an internal plastic “cage” that lines the inside of the helmet to match the circumference of your head.Most dials adjust systems, even on high-end helmets, are half cages and only make the fit tighter from the back. The Sidetrack’s cage lines the entire inside of the helmet, so when the dial is turned the cage narrows from the back and the sides. This is a great emphasis on extra safety, especially for the price point. (Be aware though, that if your child has a wide head, this could be an issue.)Because the helmet has additional coverage in the back and such a large size range (7 cm for both), when the dial is tightened close to all the way, it’s difficult to reach and get a grip on when on a child’s head. You have to come at it from underneath. If your child’s head is on the small end of the range, you may have to take the helmet on and off to adjust the dial. It can also catch on hair (both short boy hair or long hair) when being turned, but this should only be an issue the first time you adjust the fit. Thereafter only minor adjustments should ever need to be made.Pads: While higher-end helmets come with multiple sets of pads of different thicknesses to better customize the fit for your child, the Sidetrack comes with just one set. Is this a bad thing, though? In our experience, the second or third set of pads that can be changed out as your child grows often get lost, so having just one set of pads is almost a relief. One less thing to keep track of in the garage, and it also keeps the cost of the helmet down!Side Straps: Correctly adjusting the sliders on the side straps beneath the ears is necessary to have a truly great and lasting fit. These sliders are notorious for coming loose regularly and, as a result, sliding down and failing to keep the helmet centered over your child’s head. While Ergo Fit’s no-twist, tri-glide side strap sliders don’t lock into place and can move over time, they are an upgrade from standard sliders and do a better job of staying in place. That said, we’re not sure what the “no-twist” feature is about because they can and did twist during our testing, but no more than any standard helmet.Buckle: If there’s one thing we wish were different on the Sidetrack, it’s the buckle. The PinchGuard buckle is supposed to be an upgrade from a standard buckle and prevent a child from getting pinched when buckling or unbuckling. In reality, our testers had a really hard time using it (even our 11-year-old!), and when I stepped in to try to help, I often ended up pinching them! So not only is it not truly “non-pinch”, it will require parental supervision for some time until your child finally gets the hang of using it. This buckle is not unique to Bell and several other brands use it as well.The other minor annoyance about the buckle is the abundance of the excess strap that is wrapped up next to it (see yellow arrow above). It’s a lot of extra straps, but you can cut it and then melt the end with a match to re-seal the end.Construction, Vents, & VisorWeight: At 310 grams for the Child and 340 grams for the Youth with MIPS, the Sidetrack is a pretty standard weight, even with the extra coverage in the back.Construction: The Sidetrack features in-mold construction where the outer shell is fused with the inner foam core so the helmet is one solid piece. This keeps quality high and weight low. Both models of the sidetrack have 15 vents.Visor: So many of the visors on helmets we see are cheap pieces of plastic that fall off easily and don’t do much in the way of protection from the elements. The Sidetrack’s snap-on visor is made of pretty hefty plastic and is very securely attached to the body of the helmet. It also protrudes a fair amount from the helmet so that it shields a child’s face from the sun or rain. As far as snap-on visors go, this is one of the best we’ve seen.MIPSThe Sidetrack Youth is available in a MIPS version, which adds a layer of safety to kids’ helmets. (It’s NOT available in the Child size.) The foam core of a helmet protects a child from the direct impact but does not protect the head and neck from twisting during an impact. MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) allows the energy from the crash impact to be absorbed by the helmet regardless of what direction the impact is coming from.What we especially love about the MIPS version of the Sidetrack is that the internal pads cover the yellow MIPS anchors. On other MIPS helmets we’ve reviewed, these anchors can easily snag on long hair, which is pretty annoying. (Which I say from experience!) With a simple change in the shape of the pads, the Sidetrack solves this problem!As a general note about MIPS, be aware that the system does affect ventilation because the thin plastic MIPS shell covers the air channels that run down the center of the helmet. Depending on how hot it gets where you live, you may need to consider how sweaty your child will be.Bottom LineThe Sidetrack is a sweet looking helmet with tons of features for a very decent price. We especially love that the Youth model is available with MIPS – the best safety technology around. While we’re not big fans of the buckle design, no helmet is perfect and the rest of the Sidetrack’s features are rock-solid. How to Choose the Best Helmet for your 5 to 12-year-oldFor a more detailed discussion about how to choose and fit the perfect kid’s bike, check out our post: Guide to Choosing the Best Bike for Your Child. If you’re looking for something quick, here’s a summary of the most important things to look for to find the best helmet for kids approximately 5 to 12-years-old.Related Articles: How Safe is Your Bike Helmet?Bicycle Safety Tips for Parents and KidsSizeIf a child’s bike helmet doesn’t fit, it’s not going to help protect their head in the event of a crash! Helmet sizes come in ranges that represent the circumference of your child’s head. For example, a helmet with a size range of 52 – 57 cm fits kids with a head circumference in that range.That said, helmet sizing can be a bit tricky because everyone’s head isn’t shaped the same. Some kids have wide heads, others narrow. Some helmets are wider, while others are more narrow. So even if your child’s head circumference fits within a helmet’s range, if your child’s head is wide and the helmet is narrow, it might not fit.In general, skater-style helmets are rounder all the way around and are a more sure bet for kids with wide heads.WeightThe lighter the helmet the better. Wearing a heavy helmet can get tiring over time and can make it more likely for a child to refuse to wear a helmet. As a child gets older this is less important because their neck muscles are stronger, but younger kids resist wearing heavy helmets.AdjustabilityOnce you find the right size helmet, it can still be tricky to get it adjusted correctly so that it stays snuggly on your child’s head. The easiest helmets to adjust for a perfect fit have a dial-adjust system at the back of the helmet that makes the helmet’s inner cage larger or smaller to cradle your child’s head.Other (cheaper) helmets have pads of varying thickness that you swap out to get the right fit. These helmets generally don’t fit as accurately, and over time you have to swap the pads out as your child’s head grows. Hopefully, you can find those pads when the time comes!BuckleMost helmets come with standard buckles that can pinch a child’s neck when buckling or un-buckling. Higher-end helmets now feature magnetic “pinch-free” buckles. While more expensive, they are worth the price if you can afford it.MIPSMIPS is a newer technology that adds a layer of safety to a helmet. If an impact occurs, a plastic inner cage rotates with your child’s head to provide better multi-directional impact protection. MIPS helmets are more expensive but are becoming very common.Bike vs. Multi-SportMost bike helmets are only certified for biking use. (This also includes using a scooter.) If your child is going to be skateboarding as well, they need a dual certified helmet that is designed to protect from impacts from crashes while biking or skateboarding.Not all helmets that are skateboard-style are dual certified. A dual certified helmet will have stickers on its interior that say CPSC and ASTM.