Best Toddler Bike Helmet (and how to choose a bike helmet for a child)

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Ben Jones



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Confusing, isn’t it?

Choosing the right bike helmet for a toddler is like falling down the rabbit hole in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. There are choices about which directions you should go (MIPS? Skater-style or MTB? Number of vents? Size?), and decisions about which features are right for your new cyclist (magnetic chin strap or not? Visor or not? Flat back or rounded?) Aargh! I can feel my brain start to explode already! Alice was lucky she never had to choose a toddler’s bike helmet is all I can say.

So, today, I’m going to be like the fluffy white rabbit with the pocket watch, guiding you through the maze to the right helmet for your toddler.

Quick Answer: FunWave Kids Bike Helmet

I decided to do some research to determine which were the best available cycling helmets for youngsters, based on a number of different criteria and taking into account feedback from actual users (or parents of the users!) I’ll take you through reviews of each of these in a moment, looking at the Best of the Best helmets, their key features and benefits, and the pros and cons of each. I’ll then go through a guide to bike helmets for toddlers, investigating:

  1. Why toddlers should wear a helmet (and how to persuade reluctant kids to wear one)
  2. What to look out for when buying a helmet for a toddler (including explaining the various jargon that’s used)
  3. How to make sure the helmet fits your toddler correctly (and when to replace it)
  4. Teaching bike safety to toddlers (because the younger they can start, the better)

Let’s dive into the rabbit hole and take a look around

Best bike helmet for child

When you start to research bike helmets for toddlers, you’ll see that there are many different features to choose from. So many that it can be hard to know where to begin and how to pick the right helmet for your toddler. Let’s look in detail now at the best child’s cycling helmet brands that are available today and what actual users think about them.

Lanova Toddler Bike Helmet

A fantastic cycling helmet for toddlers. It’s certified by the CPSC and EN1078 for cycling, inline skating, and scootering.

The size is adjustable for head circumferences of between 50-54cm / 19.7-21.2 inches, so there’s plenty of room for growth as it will accommodate kids’ heads of a wide range of different sizes. The straps are fully adjustable, so you ensure it’s a comfortable fit around their ears and chin, and there’s a quick-release buckle.

Reviewers of this helmet have so many good things to say about it, including high levels of comfort and value-for-money. They describe how easy it is to fit and adjust, and that it feels like a very good quality helmet.

It’s available in 6 different funky color options: Black / Blue / Green / Pink / Pink Ladybug / Red Ladybug.

Ouwoer Kids Bike Helmet

The Ouwoer is a great bike helmet with a much wider range of adjustment than you often find on bike helmets.

The Small size adjusts from 48-54cm / 18.9-21.3 inches thanks to its crank adjustment dial at the rear of the helmet, plus the adjustable chin straps, and the two thicknesses of foam padding that are included. All of these combine to ensure a great fit for even the smallest, or most irregular-shaped heads!

The helmets are also available in a medium and large size, which makes this helmet good for kids with larger heads (up to 61cm / 24 inches head circumference).

The helmets are certified to CPSC and EN1078 and the quick-release chin strap buckle is super-easy to use. There are 7 different color options to choose from, depending on your toddler’s favorite: Black / Blue / Gray / Orange / Pink / Red / Yellow-Green.

Reviewers of the helmet love lots of things about it, including how stylish it is, how adjustable it is, and how breathable it is with the 11 separate vents.

Joovy Noodle Bike Helmet

This is a very cute cycling helmet from Joovy.

It’s CPSC approved and comes in 7 different funky colors: Black / Blue / Blueberry / Greenie / Orangie / Pink / Red.

It’s got a helmet style that is close to a grown-up adult style (just like mom and dad’s helmets!) which can be a big help in persuading toddlers to wear it.

Because it’s in this style it can work better in hot weather than a skater-style helmet as it has a more open design with bigger air vents to keep their heads cool as they concentrate on pedaling hard.

The helmets have a huge range of adjustment (have a look at this video from Joovy, which explains how to do this):

Another plus is that the sizing can be adjusted to accommodate a wide range of head circumferences – between 47-52cm / 18.5-20.5 inches.

FunWave Kids Bike Helmet

Sometimes, no matter how much you try, you just can’t persuade your toddler to do what you want them to do.

When that happens you need to turn to a cartoon character for assistance.

This FunWave bike helmet comes in 4 different design & color options, one of which will definitely be able to bring your toddler round to the idea of wearing a bike helmet. Choose from Dragon / Octopus / Shark / Unicorn.

This helmet is fully adjustable using the chin strap with a quick-release buckle, the rear fit dial (located at the back of the helmet just under the shell rim), and the two thicknesses of breathable foam pads. These combine to make this helmet suitable for head sizes of 48-54cm / 18.75-21.25 inches.

The helmet is CPSC-certified and has lots of ventilation holes in the shell to keep your child’s head nice and cool on hot days.

Gasaciods Child’s Bike Helmet With LED Safety Light

This helmet from Gasaciods comes in two different colors (Blue & Purple) and has a stylish pattern over the shell which toddlers will love.

It’s been approved by the CPSC and ASTM for cycling and has a grown-up bike helmet design.

There’s a good range of adjustability, using the rear dial and adjustable chin strap with a quick-release buckle. This makes it suitable for toddlers with a head circumference of between 50-54cm / 19.7-21.2 inches.

What toddlers will love most about it though is the LED light that is tucked away in the rear adjustment dial. A great safety feature that means they will be easily seen in poor light conditions.

As well as that, reviewers talk about other great features including the sturdy feel to the helmet, and how comfortable it feels, whilst still being nice and light.

Giro Hale MIPS Bike Helmet

Finally, we have a cycling helmet for toddlers which uses the latest MIPS safety technology (see more on this later in this article).

This adds an extra layer of safety to the helmet design by allowing the inner layer of the helmet to move independently of the outer shell. This movement of the shell can lead to a reduced risk of brain injury in the event of a crash that rotates the helmet, so it’s definitely worth taking a closer look at.

There are a total of 6 different colors available for the Hale, all are matte: Black / Blue / Red / Pink / Glacier / Lime. And it will fit a wide range of head sizes thanks to its Roc Loc Sport adjustment mechanism – 50-57cm / 19.6-22.4 inches.

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Guide to toddler bike helmets

I’ve pulled together a handy reference guide to buying cycling helmets for toddlers. Just click on the + to expand each section for reading.

Why do toddlers need to wear bike helmets? (and how to persuade reluctant kids to wear one)

Do you have to wear a bike helmet? Bike helmet laws

First up, let’s take a look at what the law says. Because, whatever our own personal opinion on helmet usage might be, if the rules say we need to wear them, then we need to wear them. Right?

Well, unfortunately, this is very confusing with different rules in different US States and internationally. In some countries, everyone needs to wear a helmet, for example, Argentina and Australia. In other countries, such as the UK and Russia, no-one is required to wear a helmet. And then, in other countries, there are various different rules and regulations, some of which apply to different rider ages, or different situations. In Spain, for example, you should wear a helmet, but don’t have to if you’re cycling uphill! For lots of in-depth research on helmet rules, take a look at this Wikipedia article and this page from a US bike helmet advocacy group.

Bike injuries without helmet?

But let’s take a quick step back from this and look at why you should wear a bike helmet, even if the rules say you don’t have to. Cycling is great fun but, particularly when you’re a toddler who’s learning how to ride, it can be tough. Looking back on teaching my own kids to cycle, I remember lots of tears (from me and them!) plenty of scuffed and bleeding knees and bruised elbows. There were also times when they fell off and hit their heads. Those were the toughest to see as a parent, but I was always so pleased that we’d made sure they wore a good quality, properly fitted helmet.

Here’s a video that tells the story of a boy who fell off his bike whilst not wearing a helmet and the head injuries he suffered as a result. It’s not easy viewing, but an important lesson. For the sake of a small amount of money (and a few seconds every time you get on a bike), this could have been avoided.

Why wear a bike helmet?

A little easier to watch, this is a video of a crash test that some youngsters filmed using a watermelon in place of a head. They show the damage that happens to the watermelon when it’s dropped with and without a bike helmet to protect it. I say, easier to watch, because it’s only a watermelon (and it features the cutest toddler!) but it’s really the same hard-hitting message as the previous video delivers: good bike helmets protect kids’ heads when they inevitably fall off their bikes.

Do bike helmets work?

If you’re looking for a side-by-side comparison of helmet vs no helmet statistics, then you don’t need to go much farther than a report from the University of New South Wales in Australia. They found that, in a study of bicycle helmet usage from over 64,000 bike riders worldwide, helmets cut the likelihood of serious head trauma by up to 70%. With toddlers (who tend to be a bit wobblier anyway as they learn) there will undoubtedly be a much more pronounced benefit to using bike helmets.

Bicycle helmet testing standards

So, we know they’re a good idea for riders of any age and especially for toddlers. What about the testing standards that we should look out for when making our choice of which helmet to get for our toddler?

As with any area of technology, bike helmets have their own set of standards that manufacturers need to adhere to. Unfortunately, for us consumers, that means lots of acronyms to try and learn and decipher. Here’s a quick guide to the relevant testing standards for cycling helmets.

  • CPSC bicycle helmet – this is a standard for bike helmets sold in the US; CPSC stands for Consumer Products Safety Commission
  • CEN/EN 1078 – this is the standard for helmets sold throughout the European Union
  • CSA – the Canadian Standards Association, which sets standards for bike helmets sold in Canada
  • Snell approved bicycle helmet – the Snell Foundation is a non-profit organization that was set up primarily to focus on auto racing helmets and has since expanded to motorbike, bicycle, equestrian, and snowsports. It has more stringent requirement than the US CPSC for bicycle helmets
  • AS/NZS 2063-2008 – this is the standard for bike helmets sold in Australia and New Zealand
  • ASTM Certified Helmet – this was a US standard that has now been superseded by the CPSC
  • DOT approved helmets for toddlers – this standard is set by the US Federal government Department of Transport (DOT) and is only relevant to motorcycle use on public streets

Evidence that a bike helmet meets one of these standards will usually be found with an appropriate sticker on the helmet and/or packaging. It is also likely to be included in the product description. It’s very important to bear in mind that, even if a helmet meets a required safety standard in your part of the world, it still needs to fit the youngster’s head correctly in order for it to be effective. A loose-fitting bike helmet will tend to flap around, possibly obscuring their vision and potentially moving in the event of a crash so that it does not cover the impact area. More on this in a moment.

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Help! Toddler refuses to wear cycling helmet!

I know that this can be a tricky one to handle, but there are a few tricks that we can try if youngsters kick up a storm over wearing a helmet:

  1. Wear one yourself – not just yourself, but everyone in the family. Make sure that, whenever your toddler sees someone they know on a bike, they’re wearing a bike helmet
  2. Ahem, little white lies – I’ve seen this one work to great effect. Tell them that wearing a helmet will give them superpowers. Now, I know that we should never lie to our kids…blah….blah…blah. So, yes, this probably breaks all sorts of official parenting rules. But, hey, it can work and anyway, helmets will magically protect their heads, so why wouldn’t they have other superpowers as well?
  3. Get them a cool one – kids like cool gear – buy them a cool looking helmet with awesome features that they love – job done
  4. Let them choose – no-one (parents included) likes having decisions forced on them. So let them choose their own helmet and they’ll be more likely to want to wear it
  5. Make it a condition (and don’t back down!) – tell them the rule is: No Helmet = No Bike. Then never back down. Yes there might be a tantrum and a few tears but because they want to ride their bike so much they’ll eventually give in and put the helmet on (and you can go lie down in a darkened room to recover and de-stress…)

What to look out for when buying a helmet for a toddler (including explaining the various jargon that’s used)

For something so small and, apparently, simple there are a bewildering array of features to choose from, and aspects to be aware of when buying cycle helmets. I’ve summed up the key areas below and I’ll go through each of them in turn, so that you can then make an informed decision about which one is right for your toddler.

Features of helmet:

  • Evidence that it meets the appropriate safety standard for your country/region
  • Correct size for your toddler’s head
  • Bike helmet for toddler with big head?
  • MIPS toddler helmet
  • Multi sport helmet vs bike helmet?

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Evidence that it meets the appropriate safety standard for your country/region

We looked at this aspect a moment ago – checking out the various acronyms for the safety standards and governing bodies throughout the world. The main thing to remember is to look for either a sticker on the helmet itself or explicit details that it meets the required safety standard on the packaging or in the product description.

If you can’t see anything or it is unclear, then move on to the next helmet. There are lots of great cycling helmets available that meet the safety standards, so if you’re not sure, then don’t buy.

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Correct size for your toddler’s head

This is an important aspect because, no matter how much a helmet goes beyond the required safety standard, if it doesn’t fit your child’s head then it won’t be able to provide adequate protection. If a helmet is too small then it will sit on top of their heads and will put undue pressure on their skulls where the rim of the helmet touches, and not enough support elsewhere. Too big and it will likely flop around on their heads, possibly obscuring their vision, and may also move on impact.

But sizing a helmet correctly can be tricky. Here’s one of the best ways I’ve tracked down to sort this. Start by using a soft tape measure to check your child’s head circumference as this is the way that cycling helmets are generally measured. Wrap the tape measure around the head approximately an inch above their eyebrows. If you don’t have a tape measure, use a piece of string or yarn, and then measure this against a ruler or yardstick.

Youth bike helmet size chart

You can then use this measurement to check against the bike helmets that you like to make sure they are suitable for that size. There’s also a useful child’s bike helmet size guide here to check.

Bike helmet for toddler with big head?

It can be difficult to find the correct children’s bike helmet sizes when you have a toddler with a larger than average head. If you can’t find a toddler’s helmet with a large enough sizing, then check out the older kids’ range or even the adults’ range to see if they have a helmet that is appropriate. Do keep in mind that, whilst toddlers may have larger heads, their necks are still developing and will not be strong enough to support the extra weight of some of the heavier helmets for older children and adults.

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MIPS toddler helmet

MIPS is an acronym that means Multi-directional Impact Protection System. Originally developed by biomechanical experts at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, it is a leading slip-plane technology that sits inside the helmet. It’s created to reduce the rotational forces on the brain that can happen in certain types of impact.

The “slip-plane system” moves inside the helmet, in order to slow down and reduce the amount of energy that gets transferred to the head in a crash. The intention being that, if we can cut the strain from this rotational acceleration, we can hopefully reduce the chance of injury to the brain.

From the outside, a MIPS helmet looks the same as a non-MIPS helmet (apart from a small yellow MIPS sticker). However, when you look inside, you’ll see a slim yellow lining underneath the pads. When you’re wearing a MIPS helmet you won’t feel any difference from a standard helmet.

There’s a good video here explaining the MIPS technology, how it works and what the benefits are. Not sure that the amusingly jingly music goes with the slow-mo video of crash test dummy heads bouncing around, but whatever. The point is that the helmet exterior moves more than the interior, so less of the kinetic force is transferred to the head.

MIPS technology doesn’t claim to protect against all types of brain trauma but it’s worth investigating as the more steps we can take to protect our kids’ heads the better.

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Multi sport helmet vs bike helmet?

In general, I’d always suggest using a bike-specific helmet for cycling and this is backed up by the CPSC. The CPSC advice is that you can wear a CPSC-certified bike helmet for bicycling, recreational in-line skate use / roller skate use, or whilst riding a kick scooter.

Different helmets for different activities are designed to give protection for different situations. For example, football helmets are designed to withstand repeated blows, but on moderately soft surfaces. This obviously differs markedly from bicycle helmets which are designed to be replaced after one impact and are created to offer protection for crashes on hard surfaces such as roads.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that multi-sport helmets can often be heavier than lighter bike helmets. This can be an issue for toddlers who may not have developed sufficient neck strength to support this extra weight.

How is a toddler bike helmet supposed to fit? (and when to replace it)

When our kids were younger and I was attempting to wrestle them into their clothes, I was forever finding that both arms ended up in the same sleeve or, even worse, down the same leg of their pants. This did not go down well with them or my wife. Sigh…

It’s the same with bike helmets. There’s a lot of straps and buckles that you have to make sure are correctly fitted, and you have to fit and adjust them as your little darling is wriggling madly! Arm yourself with the necessary techniques beforehand by watching this great video from the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It’s a quick watch at under 2mins and will save you much more time when you come to fit the helmet onto your toddler’s head.

You can also get a copy of this poster from the NHTSA which gives more details.

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When to replace bike helmet?

The simple advice is that, if your toddler crashes on their bike and hits their helmet in the crash, then you should get a replacement straight away before they rider again.

If you have an obviously cracked bike helmet, then it is clearly time to get a replacement. But, even if there’s no obvious damage, you should still get a replacement. Why? Because bike helmets are designed to only be used for one collision. After that, the foam will not be as protective as it was, even if it still looks okay. You should also replace the helmet if any of the adjustment mechanisms, such as the straps, stop working correctly.

Be safe, not sorry.

Teaching bike safety to toddlers (because the younger they can start, the better)

In my view, it’s important to start teaching bike safety to our kids as early as possible. There’s a lot of benefit in repeating the same lessons over and over until they become second nature to them. Whilst toddlers are too young to ride on the roads, they will still see other cyclists on the roads and will learn to spot mistakes and good practice for when they become old enough too.

There’s a really useful bike safety video for elementary school kids here that’s fun to watch with kids. It gets the main points home in a clear concise manner with great cartoons featuring kids. Well worth watching.

I also liked to do activity sheets with our kids when they were younger. It’s one thing to tell kids about what they should do, but when they can actually work through an activity sheet or craft project that teaches them the lesson, then it will become much more memorable for them. I’ve found a great resource here with loads of activity sheets to try.

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Toddler cycling helmet

Choosing the correct bicycle helmet for your toddler can be incredibly confusing. But it’s so important to get the right helmet that will keep their head safe and get them into the habit from Day 1 of using this essential piece of safety equipment.

I hope that this article has been useful for you in choosing the right helmet and answering your questions about all things bike helmet-related, including:

  1. Why they should wear a helmet (and how to persuade them if they’re a bit reluctant)
  2. What you should look out for when buying them a cycling helmet for a toddler (explaining all the various jargon words that get used)
  3. How to check that the helmet fits your toddler properly (and when you should get them a replacement)
  4. How to teach bike safety to your toddler (remember that the younger they can start, the better)

Happy cycling!

FunWave Kids Bike Helmet

Many times it seems like, no matter what you do, you just cannot possibly persuade that headstrong toddler to do what you’ve asked them.

If that happens to you, then try turning to a friendly cartoon character for help. The FunWave cycling helmet is available in 4 unique design & color combos, one of which will surely be able to get your toddler around to the notion of putting a bicycle helmet on. Pick from Dragon / Octopus / Shark / Unicorn.

It’s a fully-adjustable helmet using the chin strap with quick-release buckle, the neat rear fit dial (tucked at the back of the helmet just beneath the rim of the shell), and with the two thicknesses of foam pads. All this combines to make a helmet that is suitable for head circumferences of between 48-54cm / 18.75-21.25 inches. CPSC-approved, the helmet has plenty of ventilation holes in the shell to keep your toddler’s head cool on hot days.

**Please note that our reviews are based on customer reviews, star ratings, and online complaints. Therefore, Bicycle Volt are in no way liable**