Kids Helmets: Buying Guide & Kids Helmet Sizes

Kids Bike Helmets
You can’t help but worry about your child’s safety on a bike. Statistics show that serious injuries can happen during bicycle-related accidents. Properly-fitted helmets reduce the risk of injuries in the event of an accident. In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about kids helmet sizes so you can find the perfect helmet for your child.

At a Glance

  • Every year, about 300,000 kids visit the emergency room because of bike-related accidents. Wearing a helmet can decrease the risk of injuries as it offers protection to your child’s face, head, and brain.
  • Finding the right-fitting helmet requires measuring your child’s head circumference. To do so, wrap the tape measure around the top of your child’s head, one inch above their eyebrows. Make sure that you maintain a snug fit – not too tight and too loose.
  • There are several considerations when buying a helmet: (1) size, (2) construction (hardshell or in-mold), (3) ventilation, (4) safety certifications (must have CPSC and/or ASTM sticker), (5) adjustability, and more.
  • A proper-fitting helmet (1) shouldn’t be more than two fingers width above the eyebrows, (2) shouldn’t slide easily when rotated, and (3) should have a chin strap that is secure without pinching the skin.

Kids Helmet Sizes by Age

In order to measure your kid’s helmet size, wrap a flexible tape measure around the largest portion of your kids head or wrap a string around the head and then measure the string with a ruler. Afterwards look up the size in the kids helmet size chart below.

AGEBOYGIRL
12 months46 cm / 18.1 in45 cm / 17.7 in
18 months47.5 cm / 18.7 in46.5 cm / 18.3 in
2 years48 cm / 18.9 in47 cm / 18.5 in
2.5 years49 cm / 19.3 in48 cm / 18.9 in
3 years49 cm / 19.3in49 cm / 19.3 in
3.5 years50 cm / 19.7 in49 cm / 19.3 in
4 years50.5 cm / 19.9 in49.5 cm / 19.5 in
4.5 years51 cm /.20.1 in50 cm / 19.7 in
5 years51 cm / 20.1 in50 cm / 19.7 in
6 years52 cm / 20.5 in51 cm / 20.1 in
7 years53 cm / 20.9 in52 cm / 20.5 in
8 years54 cm / 21.3 in53 cm / 20.9 in

HJC Kids Helmet Size Chart

Helmet SizeHat SizeHead Circumference (Inches)Head Circumference (CM)
Youth S6 1/8 - 6 1/419 1/4 - 19 3/449-50
Youth M6 3/8 - 6 1/220 - 20 1/251-52
Youth L6 5/8 - 6 3/420 7/8 - 21 1/453-54
Youth S/M6 1/8 - 6 1/419 1/4 - 19 3/449-50
Youth L/XL6 3/8- 6 1/220 - 20 1/251-52

Bell Kids Helmet Size Chart

Helmet SizeHat SizeHead Circumference (Inch)Head Circumference (CM)
Youth S/M6 1/8 - 6 1/419 1/4 - 19 3/449-50
Youth L/XL6 3/8- 6 1/220 - 20 1/251-52

Importance Of Wearing A Helmet

People underestimate the importance of having their kids wear helmets while they ride a bike. Cycling is considered to be a generally safe activity for kids. However, every year, about 300,000 kids visit the emergency room because of bike-related accidents. Out of that number, approximately 10,000 have injuries requiring them to be checked in for a few days. In fact, some kids die – usually from head or brain injuries.

The importance of wearing a helmet can never be emphasized enough. While accidents cannot be totally avoided, you can decrease the risk of injuries as helmets offer protection for your child’s face, head, and brain. However, regardless of whether he is riding his bike on his own or is just cycling with you while he’s in a child bike seat, you need to ensure that the fit is always secure and the helmet is worn properly. Otherwise, it will not be able to give your child the protection he needs.

Speed little cyclist with helmet

How To Measure Your Child’s Head

Before even going out to shop for a helmet, the number one thing on your list should be to measure your child’s head. The general rule of “buying a size larger” when shopping for children’s clothing does not apply to helmets. In order for a helmet to work to its full safety capacity, the size needs to be perfect. And in order for you to find the right size, you must first take your child’s head measurement. Go ahead and grab a soft tape measure and do the following:

  • To measure your child’s head circumference, wrap the tape measure around the top of your child’s head, one inch above their eyebrows. Make sure that you maintain a snug fit – not too tight and too loose. 

Things To Consider When Shopping For A Helmet

Choosing which helmet to buy for your kid is no easy feat. When it comes to your child’s safety, you certainly have to nitpick every little thing. There are so many different types of helmets that vary in design, make and adjustability. To help you narrow it, down here is a list of everything you need to consider before you make the big decision.

1. Size

Perhaps, size is the most important thing you need to focus on when it comes to helmet shopping. Without proper fitting, a helmet is basically useless. If you followed the instructions above on how to measure your child’s head, use it and look for a helmet that includes the number on its size range.

However, if it’s not possible for you to take your child’s head measurement, simply take a look at our 50th Percentile Kids Helmet Size Chart above. Keep in mind that these are just approximations. No child is the same, and some may have smaller or bigger heads than estimated on the chart.

Note: If the helmet fits the head of the child perfectly, the age tag can be disregarded.

2. Construction

Another thing on your checklist should be the construction or the making of a helmet. There are two major types available – hardshell and in-mold. Both designs offer adequate protection in the event of a crash. They differ in style, the number of vents and durability.

Here is how you can differentiate the two. Non-skater helmets that are made of hardshell and typically has a thin layer of tape around the middle section. This tape covers the rough edges of the plastic shell for the comfort of use. Meanwhile, in-mold shells have a fused outer plastic shell and inner foam.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the two:

  • Hardshell
Pros:

  • good resistance to penetration and impact
  • highly durable
  • ASTM Skateboarding Certificatied
Cons:

  • could crack and warp if left in the heat
  • heavier and bulkier
  • has less room for vents

 

  • In-Mold
Pros:

  • lightweight
  • has more room for more vents
Cons:

  • slightly less durable
  • not ASTM Skateboarding Certified

 

3. Number of Vents

Cycling is a physical activity, which means your child will probably sweat. When they wear helmets, it can get particularly hot. This is why it is important to consider if a helmet has enough vents. They increase airflow and generally makes riding a bike more comfortable. For example, traditional bike helmets tend to have more vents compared to skater helmets.

4. Standard Bike Helmets Vs. Skater Style Helmets

Now the choice eventually boils down to these two designs. There is only a slight difference between them. Traditional bike helmets are generally lighter and easily adjustable. Skater helmets, on the other hand, are bulkier but offer more coverage. Read ahead to know more about the pros, cons, and recommendations for both designs.

  • Standard Bike Helmets

(Recommended for kids who mainly ride bikes. Also good for cycling in hot weather)

Pros:

  • lightweight
  • good ventilation
  • easily adjustable
Cons:

  • offers less coverage for the lower back of the head
  • few style options
  • not dual certified
  • may not fit odd-shaped heads

 

  • Skater-Style Helmets

(Recommended for multi-users or kids who also skate or ride scooters)

Pros:

  • provides better head coverage
  • dual certified
  • may fit odd-shaped heads
  • more style options
Cons:

  • less ventilation
  • heavier
  • lack visors
  • does not posses dial-in adjustments

 

5. Safety Certifications

All helmets undergo safety standards to ensure their effectiveness. When buying one, make sure it has the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) sticker. You can usually find this on the inside of a helmet. The CPSC ensures that all helmets comply with the necessary safety standards put in place by experts. All helmets produced in the United States are expected to follow CSPC guidelines. This means that if you buy helmets in US stores, they are most likely CPSC approved. Please note that not all CPSC stickers look the same. So there is no need to worry if the sticker looks a little bit different to others.

Additionally, if you are going to buy a skater-style helmet, you better look for one that also has an ASTM sticker. This certification is especially required for helmets used in skateboarding and trick roller skating. Remember, for skater-style helmets, make sure you are buying one that is dual certified by both CPSC and ASTM.

PRO TIP: If possible, go for higher-end helmets. They are often better in terms of fit and security, which means better overall protection.

6. Adjustability

A good helmet should fit your child’s head securely. This is where adjust-systems in helmets come in. These are internal cages made of plastic that are capable of adjusting so that they can fit your child’s head perfectly. Since children have different head shapes, an internal adjust system allows the helmet to conform to your kid’s head. This enables the helmet to stay in place and to better protect your child. There are three types of internal adjust systems:

  • Traditional Dial Adjust – This is is a simple adjustment system available in some high-end helmets. Using a turning dial or a knob, the internal cage is able to fit the child’s head. Remember that although it allows for adjustability, you should still purchase a helmet with the correct size.
  • Lazer Self Adjust – This can be found in high-end helmets. It works by adjusting to your child’s head via a tension wire that is usually encased in a plastic cage.
  • Pad With Adjust – Most low-end helmets do not have any adjustment systems in them. Instead, they come with pads of varying thickness. If you do opt to buy a helmet with no adjust system, you can insert thick pads into it. However, this is not advisable.
PRO TIP: Take note of the chin straps or chin sliders of a helmet. In addition to adjust systems, these straps ensure that the helmet doesn’t tip forward or back on your child’s head.

7. Buckle

If you’ve worn a helmet, then you know how important a good fitting buckle is. Standard buckles work just fine on any helmet, but it doesn’t make them comfortable. However, pinch-free buckles are now available in some helmets. Standard ones basically have a plastic guard underneath the buckle. More advanced ones use magnetic locks, which you can see on the higher end helmets.

8. Visors

Since cycling is done outdoors, it’s unavoidable for your child to be in direct contact with the sunlight. Visors help shield your child’s eyes from the sun and dust, making for a more comfortable ride. A lot of standard bike helmets come with built-in or clip on visors.  Skater-style helmets, meanwhile, usually have none due to their bulkier design.

Proper Fit Of A Helmet

Now that you know the most important purchase considerations when buying a helmet, let’s talk about proper fit. If you can, you should let your child try on the helmet before buying it. When it’s time for your child to wear it for cycling, it’s important that you put it on in a correct way. So how should it actually fit on your child’s head? Here are some guidelines.

  1. The bottom part of the helmet shouldn’t be more than two fingers width above the eyebrows.
  2. Rotate the helmet on your child’s head. If the eyebrows shift from side to side, it’s a good fit. If the helmet slides easily on the head, it is probably too big.
  3. Make sure the chin strap is loose enough that it doesn’t pinch but tight enough that it secures the helmet well. If it tightens when the mouth is open – that is usually an indication of a good fit.
  4. Place the chin strap or the slider underneath the ears. It should form a V shape with each ear in the center.

Additional Tips

  • It would be a wise idea to purchase reflectors for your child’s helmet and his school backpack to increase the visibility of your kid’s view when cycling to and from school. Some manufacturers even include reflective tapes or LED lights to their helmets.
  • Buy helmets with a warranty period. Bike helmets have warranty periods as short as 30 days to as long as a lifetime.
  • Consider your child’s taste. If they have a say on which helmet they are going to wear, they will be more inclined to wear it.
  • If buying online, be sure to check a product’s reviews and ratings. This can help you make sure you are actually buying something that works.

Top Children’s Helmets Brand

These brands are known for surpassing helmet safety standards. If you want to buy a helmet from a brand you can surely trust, check these out and perhaps you could even get a good deal!

Giro Catlike MET Bell Helmets

Our Top 3 Kid’s Helmets Recommendation

We came up with three of the best helmets that are currently hot on the market.

Complete with all the of best features a high-end helmet offers, Giro Scamp Kid’s MIPS Helmet is on top of our list. It comes with an adjustable Roclock retention system and a pinch-guard. Additionally, it also offers Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) that offers additional protection from inside the shell.

Lightweight and well-ventilated, this helmet is well-loved among parents for their budding pro-riders. It offers superior fit and comfort. Aside from its excellent safety features, it is also easy to put on your ever-squirming child.

If you have a child with an imagination, then this helmet is perfect for you. It offers the best protection for your kid while still looking playful that he surely wouldn’t mind wearing it. It also comes with a safety LED light on the back.

 

Close Menu