Kids Bike Helmet Shopping Guide
If you’re in the market for a new helmet for your child, chances are you might be already slightly overwhelmed by the vast array of choices on the market today. Kids bicycle helmets come in various sizes, shapes, colors, retention mechanisms and enhanced safety features, making the choice to buy a particular kid helmet might not be the most straightforward decision you’ll take this week.
Safety first, all other things second
The primary function of a bicycle helmet is to protect against serious head injuries. The extent to which any helmet can offer adequate protection should the primary buying consideration. This is closely followed by fit (because a good helmet that doesn’t fit well cannot perform as designed). Style, color, shape, retention mechanism and supplementary features are important, but they should only factor in the buying decision as secondary considerations after safety and fit.
How do we know a helmet offers good protection?
The quickest way to ensure that you’re buying a helmet that will offer the necessary protection for your child’s head is to check the safety rating. In the United States, this rating standard is called Snell B90/B95, in Europe products that meet the required protection criteria have a “CE label”. Manufacturers that offer helmets that meet these standards often list this information on their product pages, or sometimes you may find lists of approved products on the standard issuer’s organization.
(If you’re unsure, please do get in touch with us and we will gladly provide this information)
Kid’s helmet categories
When shopping for kids helmets, you will often see them categorized by age brackets (as we do on our website) or you will see categories like “infant”, “toddler” and “junior” helmets.
While these categories are useful shortcuts to where you should be looking for your new kids bicycle helmet, you must ensure that you get the right size. See our article on sizing and fitting kids helmet to learn more.
Kids helmet styles
Kids helmet come in various styles. There are helmets that are inspired by skateboard helmet styling with a more rounded shape (see the Bell Lil Ripper). Others draw on styling of modern adult mountain bike helmets with a very useful integrated visor (see the Giro Fixture and Lazer Impala). There are also helmets that have a classic road helmet shape (like the Lazer Blade) as well as those that have a more neutral styling with a wide selection of color options (see the Giro Hale). The choice of style will depend on a combination of your kid’s age, the kind of cycling they do (on the road or have they started venturing on trails?) and personal style preferences.
Helmet construction, materials and technologies have come a long way. Some features enhance not only the fit and comfort, but also the augment the level of protection that the helmet offers. One such technologies is MIPS, which stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection. Simply explained, the MIPS system itself is a layer of low friction material that sits between the shell foam and the helmet liner (the part that sits on the head). This layer allows for a degree of sliding motion in 360 degrees, which has been proven to reduce the transfer of rotational impact force to the brain (which often is the primary cause of concussions). We carry a large collection of MIPS helmets in stock.
Helmet closure and retention mechanisms come in various combinations of dials, ratchets, buckles and straps. Some manufacturers offer innovative closure mechanisms specifically developed for kids helmets, like Lazer’s AutoFit system, which uses a spring system in place of adjustment dials to automatically adjust the helmet to proper size on your child’s head, which makes for less frustration when getting ready to go for a ride!