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The Best Bike Helmets for Kids

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.

1. ​Giro Scamp Youth Bike Helmet

Best Overall – Young Kids

SIZES: 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.

SPECS

Rating

Highly Recommended

Weight

251 g

Head Circumference

45 – 53 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)

Number of Vents

8

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Young Toddler (9-18 mo), Child (18 mo. – 4 yr.)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Giro Scamp Youth Bike Helmet

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 wear
  • Optional MIPS technology makes it one of the safest helmets on the market
  • Dial-adjust system for an easy and accurate fit
  • Narrower profile in the back - well-suited for trailer or bike seat use, in addition to bikes

​Full Reviews

2. Giro Tremor Bike Helmet

Best Overall – Older Kids

MSRP: Without MIPS), 

ONE SIZE: Youth 50 – 57 cm

FEATURES: 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.

SPECS

Weight

306g

Rating

Exceptional

Head Circumference

50 – 57 cm

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Construction

In-mold (most durable)                                        

Number of Vents

18

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Giro Tremor MIPS Bike Helmet

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 easy
  • Dial-adjust system has a larger rubber dial for ease of use
  • Plenty of vents and internal air channels for great ventilation
  • Internal pads are high-quality technical material
  • Lighter-weight than previous models
  • MIPS safety technology

CONS:

  • The standard buckle can pinch but keeps costs down

​Full Review

​3. ​LAZER Helmet Nutz

Best Safety Features

MSRP: With MIPS

SIZES: ​46 – 56 cm​

FEATURES: AutoFit internal cage adjust system, pinch-proof buckle, locking chin strap sliders, in-mold construction, great ventilation, optional MIPS

SPECS

Rating

Exceptional

Weight

300 g

Head Circumference

50 – 56 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)                                        

Number of Vents

16

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Auto Adjust

 LAZER Helmet Nutz

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 core
  • Optional MIPS technology makes it one of the safest helmets on the market
  • Incredibly precise fit - unique autofit system eliminates the need for an adjustment dial by automatically conforming to a child’s head

CONS:

  • The auto-fit system doesn’t work well with loose, long hair (tied back is fine!)
  • A bit pricey

​Full Reviews

4. Kali Protectives Chakra Youth Helmet

Best on a Budget

With a lightweight design, easy dial-adjust, excellent ventilation, and built-in visor, the Kali Chakra is a winner.

RATING: Highly Recommended

BEST FOR: The best child helmet under $30, the Chakra offers great protection, durability, and ventilation.

SIZE: 52- 57 cm

ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM: Dial Adjust

SPECS

Rating

Highly Recommended

Weight

208 g

Head Circumference

52- 57 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)                                        

Number of Vents

21

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Kali Protectives Chakra Youth Helmet

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 head
  • Unique contoured shape makes it cradle the head and prevents it from slipping back
  • Flatter back for easy use with bike trailers
  • 21 vents for excellent airflow
  • Super lightweight
  • Easy-to-use dial adjust system
  • Crash replacement guarantee

CONS:

  • 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

​5. Nutcase - Little Nutty Bike Helmet

Best Dual-Certified

With funky designs, a great fit system, and dual-certification, the Street is a fun and safe choice for kids.

RATING: Highly Recommended

BEST 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

Nutcase - Little Nutty Bike Helmet for Kids

 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 pads
  • Dual certified for biking and skateboard use
  • Soft chin pad and magnetic "no pinch" buckle
  • Fun and funky styles
  • Removable visor

CONS:

  • Few vents lead to sweaty heads (common with skater-style helmets)
  • Heavier than a traditional helmet

​Full Reviews

​6. Bell Spark Jr. MIPS Youth Bike Helmet

Best Mountain Bike Helmet

The Spark is the ultimate bucket protector for adventurous riders, with amazing ventilation and integrated MIPS technology.

RATING: Exceptional

BEST 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 fit

​SPECS:

Rating

Highly Recommended

Weight

345 g

Head Circumference

50 – 57 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)                                        

Number of Vents

13

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Bell Spark Jr. MIPS Youth Bike Helmet

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 style
  • Superior airflow to keep heads cool
  • Integrated MIPS protection
  • Sweat pad on the forehead to prevent dripping sweat
  • Thick, moisture-wicking pads
  • Lightweight design
  • Dial-adjust

CONS:

  • Standard buckle (not non-pinch)
  • Non-locking chin strap sliders

​Full Reviews

​7. Giro Hale Bike Helmet

Best True Cycling

ONE 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 system

With 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:

Weight

247g

Rating

Exceptional

Head Circumference

50 – 57 cm

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)                                                       

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Construction

In-mold (most durable)

Number of Vents

22

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Giro Hale Bike Helmet - Kid's

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 easy
  • Dial-adjust system has a larger rubber dial for ease of use
  • Plenty of vents and internal air channels for great ventilation
  • Internal pads are high-quality technical material
  • Lighter weight than previous models
  • MIPS protection system

CONS:

  • The standard buckle can pinch but keeps costs down

​8. Uvex ​Quatro Junior Children's Cycling Helmet

Best Buckle

Well-ventilated to keep kids cool, while Uvex's unique buckle is truly pinch-free.

RATING: Exceptional

BEST 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 cm

FEATURES: Unique non-pinch ratcheting buckle, locking chin strap sliders, durable in-mold construction, optional LED flashing light attachment

SPECS:

Rating

Exceptional

Weight

265 g

Head Circumference

50 – 55 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)                                        

Number of Vents

9

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Uvex 2018 Quatro Junior Children's Cycling Helmet

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 helmets
  • Unique, pinch-free, ratcheting buckle
  • Durable in-mold construction prevents the shell from warping or cracking
  • Dial-adjust internal fit system
  • Easy-adjust chin straps with a soft chin pad

CONS:

  • Too narrow for wider heads

​Full Reviews

9.  Bell Sidetrack MIPS Youth Bike Helmet

Stylized like an adult mountain bike helmet but in a pint-sized package. Durable, adjustable, and full-featured.

RATING: Highly Recommended

BEST 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 cm

FEATURES: Ergo Fit dial-adjust system, in-mold construction, durable snap-in visor (removable), optional MIPS

SPECS:

Rating

Highly Recommended

Weight

276 g

Head Circumference

50 – 57 cm

Construction

In-mold (most durable)                                        

Number of Vents

15

Visor

Yes

Skater Style

No

Age Group

Youth (5 and up)

CPSC Certification

5+

Internal Adjustment System

Dial Adjust

Bell Sidetrack MIPS Youth Bike Helmet

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 protection
  • Dial-adjust system has a full cage for a more precise fit
  • 15 vents and internal air channels for great ventilation
  • Tri-glide sliders stay in place better than traditional sliders
  • Stylized like a mountain bike helmet for an extra cool look
  • MIPS safety protection system

CONS:

  • The buckle is difficult to figure out and takes some practice
  • The dial adjust can be hard to grab when on a child's head

​Full Reviews

How to Choose the Best Helmet for your 5 to 12-year-old

For 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 Kids

Size

If 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.

Weight

The 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.

Adjustability

Once 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!

Buckle

Most 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.

MIPS

MIPS 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-Sport

Most 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.