Best Kids' Helmets

Updated July 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
465 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best kids’ helmets

Last Updated July 2019

The right helmet for your child could be the difference between a minor scrape and a serious head injury. Helmets feature an exterior plastic shell and interior foam that work together to absorb the force of a crash. However, a helmet is only effective if it fits correctly and is secured appropriately.

Your child needs to wear a helmet whether their chosen activity is biking, skateboarding, longboarding, roller skating, snowboarding, or a similar hazardous activity. Whether you have a two-wheeling tot or a confident youth on wheels, you will need to invest in a helmet that fits them properly now. A helmet should not be something your kid grows into.

At BestReviews, our goal is to make your search for the perfect kids’ helmet easy. For an in-depth look at kids’ helmets, including everything you need to consider before you buy and some cool styles we’re recommending, just keep scrolling.

Helmets should not be stored where heat can accumulate, such as garages, attics, or car trunks. The excessive heat can cause bubbles to form on the helmet.

Helmet fit

The fit of your child’s helmet is a key consideration. The right fit is vital. Helmets come in small, medium, large, and extended sizes. You can find your child’s helmet size by wrapping a flexible tape measure around their head one inch above their eyebrows. Consult the sizing chart provided by the helmet manufacturer to determine the right size.

Although you’ll choose a size, there is still some adjustability within that size. Helmets have plastic internal cages that you can manipulate to create the best fit. Some helmet cages can be adjusted with a knob; others work via tension wire. Adding more padding is another way to adjust the fit; the padding is typically inserted in the space between your child’s head and the helmet along the front, back, and/or sides of the helmet.

Helmet chin straps are also adjustable, and they can help make the fit more snug. The key is to adjust the chin strap so the helmet presses securely against the head and stays in place, even in the event of an impact. For a proper chin strap fit, the straps should rest under each ear, forming a V shape. The wearer should be able to open their mouth comfortably.

Construction

All helmets have an inner foam core (EPS) and an outer plastic shell, but there are two types of construction: in-mold and hard shell. Both designs are equipped with suitable protection, but they differ in durability and style.

In helmets made with in-mold construction, the outer shell is bonded with the inner foam. The result is a lightweight helmet, often with vents. Many bike helmets have this type of construction.

In helmets made with hard shell construction, the inner foam is glued to the outer shell. These helmets are highly durable and offer good resistance to impact. Hard shell construction is found on many multi-use helmets. 

Ventilation

Helmet vents allow air to flow over the head. This keeps the wearer more comfortable and helps to prevent overheating. It also prevents excess sweating, which can lead to the loss of electrolytes and dehydration. The more vents, or holes, a helmet has, the better the airflow and the lighter the weight.

Aesthetics

Manufacturers have gotten very creative with kids’ helmets. You can buy the standard head-shaped helmet in a rainbow of colors and patterns, including metallic hues and cool geometric designs. You can buy helmets with funky or cute designs: lady bug helmets, dinosaur helmets, superhero helmets, and more. There are even helmets that assume a non-traditional shape, such as the head of a unicorn (complete with horn) or a creature with a spiky mohawk.

You may pay a few dollars more for a fancy helmet, but if your child is more motivated to wear it due to its looks, it’s money well spent.

EXPERT TIP

When cleaning a helmet, avoid using chemical solvents. The shell can be cleaned with a soft cloth, mild soap, and water. The pads can be removed and washed.


Staff  | BestReviews

Kids’ helmet prices

The price range for kids’ helmets is rather small. Budget-priced helmets of good quality may dip down to the $14 mark; high-quality helmets with extra padding, pinch-proof buckles, and cool-looking designs may cost up to $35. The materials used, as well as the brand name, affect price. Aesthetics are big, too: if you want the coolest helmet on the block, it will cost a few extra dollars.

Replace your child’s helmet if it experiences a significant impact.

Tips

  • The helmet habit is one you should start early. The first time your toddler rides a bike, have them wear a helmet. Continue this habit into childhood. Some kids are reluctant to wear helmets, just as some kids are reluctant to wear seatbelts. But if you start early and make it mandatory, you’re more likely to have compliance.
  • To verify that a particular helmet meets safety standards, check for the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC) sticker inside of the helmet. This means the helmet is certified to provide high-level protection. Labels such as “ASTM,” “ANSI,” and “Snell” also give peace of mind that the helmet meets the standard safety codes.
  • If your child is between helmet sizes, choose the smaller helmet. A snug fit is key to safety.
  • Your child’s preference in style plays an important role in helmet choice. Let them choose a helmet they would love to wear. It’s easier to motivate a child to wear something that looks awesome.
FOR YOUR SAFETY

It is recommended to replace a crash-free helmet after five years. Weather, UV light, and pollution all affect helmet durability.

Other products we considered

Kids’ helmets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. In addition to our top picks, we also considered Fun Wave Kid’s Helmet, available in awesome aqua and bright pink for ages three to seven. This helmet is lightweight with comfort features such as soft straps, an integrated visor, and 14 vent holes. It easily adjusts from toddler to children’s sizes with a fit dial, and it includes two padded inserts.

The Schwinn Thrasher Lightweight Microshell Bicycle Helmet sports a three-piece plastic shell with a lightweight feel and an adjustable dial. Designed for youth ages eight to 14, the aesthetic options are plentiful and include pieces, such as a visor, that are detachable.

Each helmet brand has its own concept of how a head is shaped. For example, Italian-made helmets are typically more narrow, and American brands are typically more rounded.

FAQ

Q. How can I tell if my child’s helmet fits correctly?
A.
Check to see if the helmet is snug on their head. If their eyebrows move when the helmet shifts, the helmet is properly sized. It should come to the tops of the ears and rest on the forehead, about two fingers above the eyebrows. Your child should be able to see the edge of the helmet, and the chin strap should be secure enough that the child can open their mouth and not pinch the skin.

Q. What’s the difference between CPSC and ASTM certification?
A.
The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) is a U.S. government organization that certifies bike helmets for safety based on a specific set of safety standards. The ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) is an independent, international, nonprofit organization that tests and certifies multi-sport helmets.

All helmets are tested to ensure their effectiveness. When purchasing a helmet, locate the CPSC sticker on the inside of a helmet. Note that all CPSC stickers do not look the same.

When purchasing a multi-sport helmet, an ASTM sticker should be displayed in addition to the CPSC sticker.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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