Best kids’ bike helmets: A buyer’s guide

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 child is already a confident rider or 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.

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Kids’ bike helmets adhere to the basic safety guidelines that your high-end racing lid does — 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.

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Spending more will get your mini-shredder a lighter lid with better ventilation. This will become more important as your little one becomes more interested in cycling, riding further or longer, where they are more likely to get hot and bothered.

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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, and thus it may well be worth spending a little bit more on one they like.

Our picks for the best kids’ bike helmets

We’ve picked out some of the best options on the market, and outlined what you need to look for when you’re shopping.With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

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Mini Hornit LIDS kids bike helmets

best kids bike helmets

Mini Hornit LIDS

Designed to be a bit more universal (and cooler) than the majority of bike-specific helmets, the Mini Hornit range is inspired by skateboarding and is perfect if your kids ride scooters, skateboards, or other wheeled devices in addition to their bikes.

The Hornit helmets are tested to the CSCP (US) and EN1078 (Europe) safety standards and feature super comfortable padding to ensure children will enjoy wearing the Mini Hornit.

Two sizes are available to fit everyone from toddlers to teenagers (and beyond) and all are fully adjustable and well-ventilated thanks to eleven vents. A neat LED rear light is fitted as standard for a little extra peace of mind in low light conditions.

The Mini Hornit range is huge and there are colours and designs to suit absolutely anything your children might be in to from the Llama design above to an understated Stealth Black version.

Buy Now: Mini Hornit LIDS from Hornit for £29.99 or from Amazon for $39.99

Giro Hale kids bike helmet

best kids bike helmets

Giro Hale

Coming in a variety of colors, this helmet will not only look the part for any young intrepid cyclist, but thanks to its In-Mold construction, and EPS liner, it will protect them too.

Its visor is removable and the high quality padding dries quickly so a good option for kids that are looking to go a bit faster and push themselves.

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; but, thankfully this comes with Giro’s Roc Loc Sport dial-based retention system allowing head sizes from 50cm up to 57cm to fit with ease.

Buy now: Giro Hale from Amazon UK from £43.99 or from Competitive Cyclist for $59.99

Lazer J1 kids bike helmet

best kids bike helmets

Lazer J1 kids helmet

With 19 vents, an integrated visor, and Lazer’s Advance Turn Fit retention system, the J1 Helmet has almost the same level of features we’d expect from an adult lid.

It’s made with an In-Mold manufacturing process, so the outer shell won’t separate from the foam over time, and will keep your little one’s noggin intact after a spill.

It comes in a range of colours, including a flames graphic, and is compatible with Lazer’s TS+ rear LED light, so if they are out late battling Demogorgons, they will still be visible once the sun goes down.

Buy now: Lazer J1 from Cyclestore UK for £26.99 or from Competitive Cyclist for $49.99

Bell Sidetrack II MIPS kids bike helmet

best kids bike helmets

Bell Sidetrack II MIPS

If your child is a bit older and is looking to take on some serious riding, whether that be off or on road, than the Bell Sidetracked II MIPS is a good transition before they start wearing adult helmets.

The helmet has 14 vents and comes complete with MIPS technology which uses a movable inner liner designed to more efficiently dissipate impact in a crash. You’ll find this same technology in the top of the range helmets from just about every brand for its purported ability to absorb rotational forces before they reach the brain.

Buy now: Bell Sidetrack II MIPS from Tredz for £64.99 or from Competitive Cyclist for $69.95

Specialized Mio MIPS kids bike helmet

best kids bike helmets

Specialized Mio MIPS

For the kids who haven’t quite graduated from their balance bikes, the Specialized Mio MIPS helmet is designed for smaller heads and perfect for toddlers.

Made with an In-Mold construction, there is plenty of rear coverage, and a magnetic buckle to prevent nasty under the chin pinches. Inside is a MIPS liner and Specialized’s SC fit system which allows for head uses from 46-51cm. It comes in a range of funky styles so there’s bound to be one your child loves.

Buy now: Specialized Mio Mips from Cyclestore UK for £45.oo or from Jenson USA for $54.99

Bern Bandita/Bandito Thin Shell kids bike helmet

best kids bike helmets

Bern Bandito

Extreme sports company, Bern, give a slightly different offering with their kids lids. 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 ski slopes, the vents can be plugged with an interior liner — great if the temperature drops or you want to do some alpine skiing. There’s no obvious difference between the Bandito and Bandita apart from colour offerings.

Buy now: Bern Bandito from Amazon UK for £39.99 or from Bern Helmets for $69.00

Scott Spunto Junior Plus kids helmet

Scott Spunto Junior Plus Helmet

Scott Spunto Junior Plus Helmet

Taking a similar form to Scott’s Vivo Plus mountain bike helmet, the Spunto Junior Plus is a full-featured youth helmet.

With nine sizeable vents, there is no shortage of airflow. While the extended rear coverage and MIPS liner help to keep your kiddo safe when they take a tumble. The helmet will suit heads from 50-56cm in diameter, and with Scott’s J-RAS adjustment system your little rider won’t outgrow the Spunto in a week.

Buy now: Scott Spunto from Amazon UK for £49.99 or from Competitive Cyclist for $59.99

Uvex Air Wing helmet

best kids bike helmets

Uvex Air Wing

For a lightweight helmet that still has maximum protection, the Uvex Air Wing is a great choice for early teens riders who want to look cool when riding.

It is a very practical choice with its FAS webbing that can be easily adjusted to the shape of your kids head and the padding is removable and washable. A pluggable LED light is also included on the back of the helmet which is a comforting nod to visibility.

Buy now: Uvex Air Wing from Amazon UK from £37.80 or from Rose Bikes for $61.04

Raleigh Mystery Spiderman helmet

best kids bike helmets

Raleigh Mystery Spiderman

The coolest helmet on our list, right? This Spiderman themed helmet from Raleigh is an affordable option from a reputable brand for little riders starting out.

It conforms to BS-EN safety standards and features a safety light on the back of the helmet for low light riding.

Raleigh have used lots of soft touch components on this helmet for a comfy all-round fit, and the flat back of the helmet will also ensure comfort when your child is in a bike trailer or child seat.

Buy now: Raleigh Mystery Spiderman from Amazon UK for £14.58 or $18.70

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. Colours and graphics 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

Sizing

Unlike clothes, helmets on the whole aren’t sold in ages like children’s clothing. 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, as this is the measurement most brands use when designing helmets.

If you don’t a flexible tape measure, use a piece of string, or even a phone cord, and then measure its length. As kids grow faster than Duckweed, look for a helmet that has a size capable of being adjusted using a dial. This will save you some cash in the long run.

Fit

Getting the right fit is key, you don’t want to strap on a helmet too tight as it might be uncomfortable or too loose and it won’t 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.

Ventilation

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 lacks venting.