Getting your kid into cycling is one thing, it's another to make sure they are safe. We put together a buyer's guide on what to look for when choosing a kids' bike helmet
Buying a helmet for yourself can be a simple affair; with so much choice you never have to worry about finding something that suits your needs.
When it comes to choosing a kids’ helmet, there’s a little less choice – and even less information available. However, if you’re setting about teaching your child to ride a bike – be it an early start on a balance bike, or a later introduction on a kids’ pedal bike – it’s a good idea to invest in a quality children’s helmet.
Kids’ cycle helmets sold in the UK will need to adhere to basic safety guidelines – and to do so they’ll have been tested in some pretty extreme scenarios – so you know they’ll provide plenty of coverage and safety, even from an entry level price point.
Spending more will get you a lighter lid, with greater provision for ventilation. This will become more important if your little one is becoming more interested in cycling – riding further or for longer, where they are more likely to get hot and bothered.
Some more expensive kids’ cycle helmets gain their extra value simply from looking a little bit cooler. Although you probably don’t want to shell out too much purely for swanky patterns, it’s worth remembering that as children get older, the helmet can become a barrier to riding – so it may well be worth spending a little bit more on one they like.
We’ve picked out some of the best options on the market, and outlined what you need to look for when you’re shopping, below.
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Our picks for the best kids’ bike helmets
Perfect for one year olds and up: Giro Kids Me2 kids bike helmet
Coming in a variety of colours, this helmet will not only look the part for any young intrepid cyclist but thanks to its microshell construction and EPS lining, it will protect them too. The biggest problem with children is that they grow so fast and the idea of buying a new helmet every couple of months is tiresome. Thankfully this comes with a retention dial allowing head sizes from 48cm up to 52cm to fit with ease.
Lazer Sport P Nut kids bike helmet
It’s very rare that kids like what their parents like – but the design of this Lazer kids bike helmet means that it can sport a clean black look, or a much more fun and friendly aesthetic thanks to the free cover provided. This cover can either imitate the look of a fireman helmet or a strawberry or even a cow depending on your choice. The cover allows the child to choose his or her style with ease and if the weather is a bit chilly out, it will also keep your little one’s head warm. This helmet has a retention system that fits 45cm to 53cm.
Bell Sidetrack MIPS kids bike helmet
If your child is bit older and is looking to take on some serious riding, wether that be off or on road, than this offering from Bell is a good transition before they start wearing adult helmets. The helmet comes complete with MIPS technology which uses an inner movable shell to add further security to your child’s health while on the bike. The system has been adopted by many brands for its innovative way of preventing further damage to your head in a crash.
MET Crackerjack kids bike helmet
Riding at night isn’t something you want your child to be doing a lot but sometimes a long ride can see you coming home when it’s not so light. Thankfully, MET’s crackerjack helmet has a built in LED on the rear so even if the light gets poor your little one will shine up.
Bern Bandita/Bandito Thin Shell kids bike helmet
Extreme sports company, Bern, give a slightly different offering with their child orientated helmets. For a slightly older child, these bandito and bandita helmets are a good fit for ages 8 up to 15. Designed to be used on the bike and on the slopes, this helmet can shut its vents using the interior lining. Great if the temperature drops or you want to do some winter skiing. There’s no obvious difference between the bandito and bandita apart from colour offerings.
MET Gamer kids bike helmet
The MET Gamer helmet is a nicely packaged helmet that resembles the much more advanced helmets of their adult range with a clean streamlined look and build. For the larger child, this helmet fits 52cm to 57cm, making it a great way for kids to grow into before they get a larger helmet size.
Boys helmets and girls helmets
It may not seem obvious but the majority of helmets out there are gender neutral in their design and fit. Colourings and visual designs may differ substantially but ultimately all helmets must pass the same rigorous testing before they can be sold to the masses. In terms of structural integrity, all helmets are the same unless you purchase full face mountain bike helmets which are built to take more abuse.
Other things to look out for in a kids’ bike helmet
Unlike clothes, helmets on the whole aren’t sold like children’s clothing – in ages. Instead, most helmets are sold by actual size. For the best fit it’s recommended to measure your child’s head circumference with a tape measure just above the ears. This is where most measurements are sought when designing helmets. If you’ve not got a flexible tape measure, use a piece of string, then measure its length.
In the interest of growing children it’s also good to get a helmet that’s size can be adjusted using a dial. This will save you some cash in the long run.
Getting the right fit is key, you don’t want to strap on a helmet too tight as it might be discomforting or too loose and it not perform well. A simple test would be to secure the helmet on and have your child shake their head. If the helmet is comfortable and doesn’t move around on the head then it will be sufficient.
Having enough ventilation is key if you want your child to have fun when riding in the sun. A helmet that lacks ventilation may cause your child to overheat when riding, which won’t be any fun. While you can always wear a wooly cap under a helmet that is too ventilated, you can’t punch holes in a helmet that lack venting.