I was on a quest to find a cool bike helmet for my kids that actually encouraged them to wear it. That was my goal years ago when I was tasked with getting my son to put his helmet on before riding his bike or scooter. The helmet in question at the time was a Disney-themed helmet from the movie “Cars”.
Not the coolest helmet I admit but this was before I became much more passionate about balance bikes, helmets and scooters. Through coercion and bribes, he would comply with my orders and wear the helmet.
Fast forward a few years to when I stumbled upon balance bikes and started really diving into the world of kids’ bikes. The first bike helmet company I was exposed to was Nutcase. At the time, the company was a few years old and you could actually call their office and talk to Michael Morrow. For those of you unfamiliar; Michael Morrow is the former Nike Creative Director and the founder of Nutcase Helmets based in Portland, Oregon. At this time I started outfitting both my sons with Nutcase helmets and started selling them online as well.
Since that time we have discovered many other “cool” bike helmets for kids and want to share them with you.
8 Cool Bike Helmets for Kids
Shown above is the “Dart Frogs” design which is part of the Nutcase Little Nutty collection. The Little Nutty collection of cool bike helmets for kids contains 24 unique designs that are guaranteed to spark any kid’s interest. The Little Nutty helmets generally fit kids ages 2 to 6 years. If they are too big for the Little Nutty line, you can proceed on up to the Youth and adult models with even more cool designs. They even have a line of helmets for kids under the age of 2; Baby Nutcase.
Nutcase helmets feature no-pinch magnetic buckles, injection-molded EPS foam shells, detachable visors, reflectivity, and more.
For a helmet far from the ordinary – Raskullz has you covered. Shown above is the T-Chopz helmet from Raskullz; which you would think is the ultimate helmet for kids crazy about dinosaurs. Raskullz has over 20 different design offerings for both youth and infant helmets. Choose from their line of all three Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to a unicorn. These cool bike helmets feature 3d injection-molded designs, aerodynamic cooling vents, nylon straps for adjustment, and a lightweight EPS molded shell.
Kiddimoto is a legendary balance bike company from the U.K. Since 2003, Kiddimoto has designed and created unique wooden balance bikes that have color and design schemes based upon Scrambler and Superbike-type motorcycles. Nowadays their line of products has expanded to helmets, metal balance bikes, scooters, and ride-on toys. Regarding helmets, they have numerous offerings from funky colors and designs to racer-inspired designs. These cool bike helmets from Kiddimoto feature dial adjustment for the perfect fit, numerous vents to keep you cool, and are made from lightweight ABS plastic.
Bern helmets by far are our favorite helmet company. We sold them for a few years back in the early 2010s and were fascinated by their extensive line of helmets for most action sports. We are big fans of their trademarked visor and replaceable summer and quilted winter helmet liners. My helmet for skiing is a BERN with the quilted winter liner and it is very warm and comfortable. The Nino (boys) and Nina (girls) helmets generally fit kids ages 5 thru 8 and feature ultra-lightweight shells and the easy-to-fit velcro sizing system. The Nino and Nina are scaled-down versions of the BERN Brentwood model and can be accessorized for all-season versatility.
If you are looking for a more traditional bike helmet design for your child, see our article on the UVEX Hero.
Related post: Cool Bike Helmets for Adults
Kids Helmet Buying Guide
One of the questions we commonly get here at Bike & Scoot is whether your child really needs to wear a bike helmet even when simply riding on the sidewalk in front of your home. The answer is: absolutely. Sure, riding a bike is a lot of fun, but accidents happen. Head injuries are one of the most common injuries that can happen when riding, and when an injury involves the head, it often involves the brain too.
That’s the prime reason for wearing bike helmets no matter what your age. Protecting the brain is even more important in children whose cognitive facilities are still developing. Now that we have settled that issue, we can concentrate on how to select the best one for your child. Remember that a kids’ bike helmet doesn’t give your child a license to be reckless, but protects the head, brain, and face in the event of a fall. Here’s our definitive guide for the proper selection of kids’ bike helmets.
Kids bike Helmet Size and Fit
If you’ve ever purchased a bike helmet, you know that one size does NOT fit all and that all models fit a range of head sizes. Even within a specific size range, i.e., toddler, you’ll find different styles that have different fits. Properly measuring your child’s head is the key to well-fitting kids’ bike helmets.
When measuring the circumference, use a flexible tape measure and place it one inch above your child’s eyebrows, which corresponds to the thickest part of his or her head. Once you have this number you can select a model that corresponds to your child’s head size. Look at the specifications of each model to determine if your child’s head circumference fits within the stated range.
Because all helmets fit a range of sizes, adjust-ability is an important feature. Lower-end helmets often don’t offer adjust-ability, so skip these if you want a good fit. Most helmets have either traditional dial-adjust systems or come with pads to place inside the helmet to make it fit more snugly. Pads, however, have some drawbacks. For one, parents often forget to change the padding as their child grows. Others lose the extra padding that comes with the original purchase, which ends up leading to an ill-fitting helmet. Dial-adjust systems provide a better fit because the dial located in the back of the helmet adjusts the internal cage to secure a better fit. You’ll find dial-adjust systems on most high-end helmets.
Another option is Lazer’s unique self-adjusting system that automatically fits your child’s head via a tension wire inside a plastic housing. The tension wire always ensures a proper fit, even when your child puts on a habit by him or herself. The video below shows how the Lazer Autofit works.
Every kid’s bike helmet also needs a sturdy chin strap and adjustable sliders to help keep it from sliding forward on your child’s head High-end kids’ bike helmets will have locking sliders that make the fit even more secure.
Type and Construction of Kids Bike Helmets
There are two main types of kid’s bike helmets: in-mold and hard shell. Both provide sufficient protection but vary in durability, style, and the number of vents. How the outer shell adheres to the foam core is the distinguishing characteristic of the two types. For in-mold types, the plastic shell and foam core are fused together, which allows for more vents and usually lighter weight. Most higher-end kids’ bike helmets have in-mold construction.
Hardshell helmets are found in lower-end models for bike riding and skater-style helmets. For the latter, the thick plastic shell is glued to the foam core, which makes it durable and has the ability to withstand multiple impacts that skateboarders encounter. The most inexpensive hard shells use PET plastic, the type used for water bottles, taped onto the foam core. PET plastic has little durability as it can melt and warp. If your child has a hard-to-fit head, skater-style kids’ bike helmets will generally provide a better fit.
What About MIPS?
All kid’s bike helmets sold within the United States must follow strict standards. Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) helmets are taking that standard even higher. Long available as an option on adult helmets, this technology has recently become widely available on kids models.
MIPS helmets have an additional layer of protection that consists of an inner layer attached to a foam core with flexible rubber anchors. This layer reduces rotational forces on the brain caused by angled impacts to the head when an impact occurs. The helmet absorbs the impact no matter where the impact may originate. Research shows that helmets equipped with MIPS can reduce brain injury by 30 percent.
CSPC Safety Certifications
All kids’ bike helmets sold in the United States must have Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certification and be labeled with a sticker. There is no industry-wide standard label but check to make sure that your intended model has a sticker. This certification ensures that the helmet will provide protection but only when a proper fit is achieved. High-end models tend to fit better than lower-end ones. CSPC age certifications fall into two categories, but the labeling is confusing. Certifications labeled 1+ are for a really small baby and toddler helmets that fit children with a head circumference of 50 cm. or less. The 5+ certification applies to all helmets larger than 50 cm. circumference, meaning that some children younger than age five can fit into this category. The 5+ certification applies to youth as well as adult helmets.
In addition, if you are seeking kid’s bike helmets for BMX riding or downhill mountain biking, these require a separate level of certification beyond those regarding age. CPSC kids’ bike helmets can also be used for inline skating and scooters, however, don’t use another type of protective headgear on your child that is not certified for bike riding.
Buckles may not seem like a big deal to adults, but they can make a difference in kids’ bike helmets. A child who constantly gets pinched when fastening his or her helmet may start balking at wearing one. To avoid such unwanted battles, several companies have developed pinch-free buckles that have plastic guards under the buckle. These guards absorb the pressure that would otherwise be exerted on your child’s skin. High-end helmets, such as Lazer, Nutcase, and Melon, have magnetic buckles, while Uvex has its own system that avoids pinching. Below are a few types of helmet buckles commonly found on helmets.
Bike riding is a lot more fun when your child doesn’t have to squint in the bright sun. Traditional bike helmets can accommodate built-in or clip-on visors to shield eyes from the sun, while biker-style helmets don’t come with them. Only Nutcase skater-style helmets come with small sun visors. In the case of the latter, purchasing a pair of good sunglasses for riding is an option.
When selecting visors, make sure the material it is made of is not too sturdy. The reason for this is that some visors have been known to shatter upon impact, causing cuts to the face. Also look for visors that readily detach, which will help avoid any issues with the visor injuring your child during an impact. Visors that do not easily flip off can jerk your child’s neck during impact.
We truly hope you found our how-to guide on kid’s bikes helmets useful. Stay tuned for detailed helmet reviews and additional buying guides here.