Bike safety is of utmost important for all cyclists. This is especially true when cycling with your children, or allowing your children to cycle on their own. You wouldn’t go out for a ride without your cycling helmet, and you certainly wouldn’t allow your children out riding without one either. However, which are the best bike helmets for kids? There are so many, and all of them claim to be the best. Which is really most suited for you and your child’s needs? This article aims to help you decide which kids’ cycle helmet is best for you.
How do Kids’ Helmets differ from adult helmets?
Kids’ helmets differ from adult helmets in a few key areas. Firstly, there is not really such a thing as a ‘kids”helmet – children are different sizes, and at different ages they need different things. There are helmets for very young children, up to those for teenagers. Cycle helmets for kids are, generally speaking, of different shapes to adult ones. Children have slightly differently shaped heads, so need different helmets. Finally, children’s’ cycling helmets are usually heavier and more protective than adult helmets. Children (especially younger ones) need more support and protection around their heads, so their helmets should reflect this.
Stay Safe While Cycling With Children
Cycling with kids can be a fun and rewarding experience. It can also be a little stressful sometimes. Over the last decade, children have started cycling less and less, particularly on roads. Fewer and fewer children cycle to school alone, driven by the increased traffic on the roads and parents fears over their children’s safety. In fact, a lot of children are now driven to school by their parents.
However, there are many ways to make your child safer on the roads, as well as being more confident in their cycling. You can practice these ideas together before allowing your child out alone, if and when you feel comfortable with that. One useful practice is to ride behind your child or children on the road. This allows you to keep an eye on what they are doing. If there are two adults in the group, having one positioned at the front and one at the back allows the adults to protect and watch over the children on the road. Children learn best through example – being a good practitioner of the highway code yourself is the best way to teach children road safety.
Finally, teaching your children yourself is not always an option for all parents. Many people do not have the time to teach around their busy schedules. However, there are many excellent courses which kids can take to teach them the principles of road safety. Most of these courses are practical in basis, and are great option for those who want their children to learn safety tips from a professional. These courses are often run by schools, making them easy to get your kids into.
What to Consider Before Buying?
There are a number of aspects to consider before choosing the best bike helmets for your kids. Think which of these is the most important to both you and your child before buying.
The first, and perhaps most obvious thing to consider is how protective the helmet is. Helmets are designed to protect your child’s head in the event of an accident. Therefore, it is imperative that you find a safety helmet with enough padding and solid protection to properly protect your child’s head. Things to look for in this instance are the material and design of the hard outer shell, and the quantity of internal padding within the helmet.
Size and fit
Fit is an often overlooked aspect of cycle helmet design, but perhaps the most underrated in its importance. If the helmet doesn’t fit properly, it won’t offer anything like the right amount of protection in the case of an emergency. Measure your child’s head before trying on helmets, and make sure you understand how the measurement system used works. Even if you purchase the helmet online, it is always worth trying it on in a shop before buying.
Comfort is a major part of a helmet’s worth. You need your child’s helmet to be comfortable, or they will not want to wear it. Convincing children to do things because it is good for them is always hard. Therefore, making the child want to wear the helmet is a better bet. Choosing a helmet with a design or pattern that your child likes is a good way to start with this.
Finally, consider the best straps and retention system. You want the helmet to be as comfortable to wear as possible, so it should fit closely beneath the chin after fastening. The strap should also not be too tight – your child needs to be able to open their mouth, and it should go comfortably around their ears. Straps are the easiest way to ensure a good fit, and if they are well adjustable, the helmet can be kept and used longer while your child continues to grow.
The Top 6 Kids Cycle Helmets
Take a look at our reviews of what we think are the best 6 on the market today:
Raleigh Mystery Spiderman Cycle Helmet
This is one of the lower priced helmets on the list. It might, therefore, be an excellent option for those on a budget. However, this does not seem to be a helmet which has skimped on quality for the price. The majority of reviewers noted that their children described it as comfortable. It is easily adjustable, with a dial on the back allowing the helmet to expand or contract. This was described as working well, if rather difficult to use. It has a thick layer of padding on the inside, and a hard outer shell, giving it a good layer of protection. Adding to the safety aspects is the LED flashing light on the rear of the helmet, increasing its visibility. At around £15, this is an excellent helmet for those on a budget, and its Spiderman design may encourage kids to wear it.
Raleigh Mystery Pink Flower Cycle Helmet
The second on this list from the Raleigh Mystery range, this helmet comes in a bright pink pattern, decorated with flowers. This may be useful in encouraging your child to wear their helmet if they are fond of the pattern. Similar to its counterpart in the range, this helmet is on the lower end of the budget, at around £15. However, it is not of a poor build quality, nor does it skimp on protection. There is a thick layer of internal padding for both comfort and protection, and a tough outer shell to protect against knocks and bumps. Reviewers described the straps as being comfortable and tight fitting. They also noted with pleasure that the helmet is easily adjustable in every way, making it versatile for different head sizes.
Prowell K800 Childrens Cycle Helmet
This is one of the more expensive helmets on this list, at around £20. However, the extra you spend on this helmet may be worth it in added safety. This helmet has two outer shells, and a thick foam inner layer. This means that the more dense outer shell and the less dense inner shell lessen shock waves from knocks by distributing the impact over a wider area. This makes this one of the safest helmets available today.
Reviewers were united in describing the helmet as being particularly comfortable. It is adjustable in three ways, making it very versatile for different sized heads, or growing children. This helmet is available in five colour schemes, each attractive. This may make it easier to encourage your child to wear the helmet, especially if they have chosen the colour themselves. This is a hard wearing helmet, with an excellent build quality, although you do have to pay a little more to get it.
SFR Essentials Helmet
The SFR Essentials Helmet is the only one on this list in the popular BMX / Scooter style of design. This style is popular with children, as well as offering an excellent level of protection. This is the heaviest helmet on this list, and offers the most rear protection to your child. This is at the expense of a visor though.
This helmet comes in a huge variety of colours and styles, and is reasonably priced at under £20. Reviewers described this helmet as being hard wearing, and standing up well to damage and knocks. This helmet is also available in a great variety of sizes. Combine this with the adjustable straps, and this is a very versatile helmet for children of all ages. The helmet also comes with extra fitting pads to replace old or worn out ones, which prolongs the potential life of the helmet by some time.
Dinosaur Childrens Safety Helmet
This is the most unique helmet on the list, and perhaps the most attractive to many children. With its unique dinosaur design, this helmet may encourage your kids to wear their helmet not just because it is safer, but because they want to.
At around £20, this is one of the more expensive helmets on the list, but most reviewers are pleased with their purchase. They generally describe the helmet as being comfortable for the child. It has an adjustable rear, with a dial which can be moved to enlarge or shrink the helmet a little as required. The straps and fastenings are also easily adjustable. The helmet is of traditional construction, having a hard outer shell and a soft inner foam layer. This offers an average level of protection – still very much better than not wearing a helmet.
Sport Direct Silver Stars Bicycle Helmet
This is a traditional helmet, at a reasonable price. It has a firm outer shell, and a soft inner layer of foam. Most of the reviewers described it as comfortable for their child to wear, along with being easily adjustable. However, a number of reviewers did note that the helmet strap was not of the best quality. They said that it was hard to adjust, making it less useful for children with smaller heads. As one of the more expensive helmets on the list, at around £20, this is perhaps the least value for money. Some of the other helmets are perhaps more versatile or offer better protection for a similar cost.
Make Sure the Helmet Fits
If a helmet is too big or too small, not only will it be uncomfortable but it will not provide the protection it is supposed to. Although it can be tempting to buy a larger helmet for you kid to grow in to, we recommend you do not do that. A helmet that fits properly will keep your child safe.
How to measure your child’s head
Helmets are normally advertised with their size in centimetres. This is the size of the circumference of your child’s head.
Follow the below steps tp measure your child’s head:
- Wrap a fabric measuring tape around the head about an inch above the eyebrows.
- Measure from here, making sure the tape is level all the way round.
If you don’t have a measuring tap, you can use some string. Once you have wrapped the string around your child’s head, you can mark or cut the string and then measure it with a ruler or tape measure.
Does it fit properly?
Unfortunately the measurement of your child’s head may not be accurate enough to fit all helmets. Ideally, you should try a helmet on before buying and check that it fits. There should be a 1-2 inch gap between the eyebrows and the helmet. The straps should be tight around the head but not too tight that it’s uncomfortable.
You’ll be able to tell if the helmet is too big as it will move around too much. If this is the case, make sure the straps are tight enough. If they are, you should consider a smaller helmet.
If the helmet leaves visible lines on the skin when taken off, it’s probably too small. If the helmet sits on top of the head rather than around it, try a larger size.
Straps and adjusters
Most helmets come with adjusters that click into place. Make sure they fit properly.
Your child should be able to easily open their mouth, but the chin straps should be tight against the skin and not loose hanging. They should also fit comfortably around the ears. If neither of these is the case, you should adjust the straps.
Making sure your child is safe on the road while cycling is an obsession for all parents. No one wants to feel like they haven’t done their utmost to protect their kids. Ensuring that your child has all the right protective equipment while they cycle is perhaps the best way to start.
There are all kinds of helmets on this list to help you choose from the best bike helmets for kids. If you are after a budget option that is still attractive to your child, perhaps consider the Raleigh options. If you are looking for the maximum protection for your child, and are willing to spend a little more, try the Prowell K800. Finally, if your child really wants to stand out with their helmet, perhaps buy the dinosaur helmet, to ensure they have the snazziest helmet around. Choosing a new bike helmet for your child is important and can be difficult, but letting them be safe while they ride their bikes is the most important thing of all.