Young children aged between 1 and 3 years are not really known for their coordination. Add a bicycle to the mix and you absolutely cannot compromise on protection for your toddler’s delicate head.
It is encouraged to instill into a child the habit of always wearing a helmet whilst they are still young. There are a variety of toddler helmets to choose from today, each with their own different designs and features.
However, there are two basic features we should always consider when it comes to choosing a bicycle helmet for a toddler:
a) A snug fit
There are many helmets in the market today purporting to be ideal for toddlers. Take, for instance, one that claims to fit a head size between 48 cm to 52 cm, which is the typical head circumference range for toddlers.
If this helmet does not come with an adjustment mechanism like padding or a dial that would allow a 50 cm head sized toddler to wear it and have it stay in place the entire time, then it does not make any sense.
The helmet will either come off or droop over the eyes impairing vision and going against our goal of keeping the child safe and minimizing injury.
b) The helmet should be of comfortable weight.
If it is uncomfortably heavy for the toddler, then they won’t want to wear it. Even if you are lucky enough to get them to put it on, they would not be able to keep it on for long. The average weight of toddler bicycle helmets ranges between 200- 400 grams.
However, there are much heavier ones in the market, particularly those certified for both cycling and skating, that would weigh as heavy as near 600 grams. Ultimately, consider the weight tolerance of the toddler before settling on a helmet.
We then looked at all the options we have available in the market today, and based on the quality of construction, performance and value for money, we have been able to narrow down the alternatives and come up with the ten best toddler helmets available today:
Top 10 Best Toddler Helmets 2018:
Since 1985 Giro has continued to build trust as a brand producing quality helmets, goggles, shoes, and apparel for cyclists, snowboarders, and skiers.
It comes as no surprise that this helmet tops the list as a favorite for toddlers.
The Giro Scamp is built using in-mold construction, making it lightweight. It has an easy to use adjustment wheel at the back allowing you to get the perfect fit for your child.
Considering toddlers can be quite restless, a handy feature like this one that makes the whole process quick and easy when trying to get the helmet on.
The Giro Scamp comes with a pinch guard buckle to lock it in place. Sizes fit for toddlers come in either extra small or small.
Extra small fits a head size between 47 -51 cm( 18.05-20″) while a small is suitable for a 51-55 cm ( 20-21.75″) sized head. The helmet has a nearly flat rear, making it ideal for use in trailers or bike seats.
The SCAMP comes with a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) option.
This technology was designed through a combined effort of brain surgeons and scientists, to imitate the brain’s very own protection system. Lot of injuries to the head have both rotational and linear impact.
Standard helmets protect against linear impact but by incorporating MIPS, you get protection from both.
There is a proven 30% reduction in brain injury using MIPS helmets. This is a great option if you are on the lookout for additional safety features.
Lazer has over 90 years experience in the helmet and eyewear business. Over the years they have mastered how to create the perfect balance between safety, design, comfort, and technology for ultimate brain protection.
The Lazer P’nut has been designed with the toddler in mind. It comes with very fun technology that allows you to change its physical appearance: eight different covers that easily snap on and off the helmet.
This way the toddler can have a variety of design options to choose from with just a single helmet.
All Lazer P’nut helmets come with Lazer’s Autofit Retention System which, as the name suggests, automatically adjusts to perfectly fit the toddler’s head.
This eliminates the need to have an adjustment dial as seen in other helmet brands. You get the perfect fit every time without having to do the adjustment yourself.
The mechanics of the system is quite simple. It is made up of a tension wire enclosed in a plastic housing.
It is only at the first-time use of the helmet that you will need to manually adjust both the side ear sliders and chin straps, but other than that the system saves a lot of time when trying to get the helmet onto the toddler’s head.
The P’nut has 16 vents for adequate air circulation. This keeps the rider cool and comfortable and minimizes sweating.
It is constructed using in-mold technology which adheres to the highest safety standards when it comes to helmets. In-mold construction increases the durability of the helmet, which is great.
However, it leaves the foam core beneath the helmet exposed. To protect it, Lazer extended the plastic so that it goes over the exposed foam.
The P’Nut has an easy to use magnetic buckle so the child can put it on themselves with no fear of pinching.
The helmet weighs about 270g which is quite lightweight and is designed to fit children with a head circumference of 46 cm – 50 cm.
Lazer P, Nut comes with a MIPS option, which has the advantages of MIPS added to the features of the base model.
The Lazer P’ Nut is overall a very comfortable helmet with design and safety features appreciated by both the toddler and adult.
This is a true contender when it comes to combining comfort and safety. The design of the helmet is wider compared to most others, which is great for children with rounder heads. It has customizable front and rear pad thickness that will allow you to find the perfect fit for the toddler’s head.
These helmets are produced using In-Mold technology which makes them ultra lightweight, without compromising on firmness and the ability to offer maximum protection. Their designs and mix of colors are quite attractive which is always a plus when it comes to kids. The helmets have locking sliders and an internal cage with dial- adjust to make sure they stay in place throughout. The exposed foam on the front and back has a protective EPS layer. Buckling and unbuckling at the chin is made easy with a Fidlock Magnetic Buckle. Magnetic buckles are a great option if you want to avoid pinching. There are extra air channels in the foam, allowing for air circulation between the vents. This means extra cooling and comfort for the rider. The Melon helmets are fitted with Coolmax Pads to prevent sweat from dripping down the face and neck.
The helmets come in three different sizes: The XXX-S Size fits a head size of between 46 cm- 52 cm (ideal for toddlers), M-L size fits a 52cm-58cm sized head and the XL-XXL size fits a head size of 58 cm- 63 cm.
Baby Nutty is the Baby and Toddler Helmet Collection designed by Nutcase. All helmets in this collection come in the size XXS that fit head sizes 47cm- 50m.
This skater style helmet has a flat rear, making ideal for kids in bike seats or trailers. This feature prevents the toddler from being pushed forward by the seat or trailer.
As opposed to using a dial adjustment, padding or AutoFit System, the Baby Nutty has an elastic adjust. This is still an efficient system that is easy to use for toddlers. The helmet uses a magnetic buckle which we all appreciate because it eliminates the risk of pinching and a soft chin pad.
The helmet comes in a variety of colors and designs, catering to both boys and girls. Their fit is snug, comfortable and grows with your child. It has eleven vents for adequate circulation to keep your toddler cool all day.
Babby Nutty has a MIPS option called the Baby Nutty Head in the Clouds. The helmet comes in a unisex cloud design, that would suit either a boy or girl. The helmet incorporates MIPS into the existing safety features found in the standard model.
The Bern Nina for girls and Nino for boys are stylish, comfortable and sporty looking helmets. They are designed using Bern’s very own patented Zip Mold technology as opposed to the standard ESP foam used in other helmets. The major benefit of using zip mold is its higher weight to strength ratio. Zip Mold actually bonds with the outer shell of the helmet making a singly solidified helmet. This makes the helmet significantly lighter, more comfortable to wear and lower profile. Because the bulkiness is reduced, the chin straps are able to fit around the head a lot more snug.
Bern is determined to have all-weather helmets. The Nina/Nino comes with a standard sun visor and an option to purchase a fleece winter liner or just a liner with no visor. The liners are adjustable should you want to customize the fit.
The helmet comes in three sizes: XS-S that fits a head circumference between 48 cm- 51.5 cm, S-M suitable for 51.5 cm- 54.5 cm and M-L for 54.5 cm- 57 cm.
El Gato (Original name Pepe del Ramo), was a Spanish Professional Cyclist from 1938 to 1988 who founded Catlike. The Catlike Kitten is their helmet line designed for kids. Catlike took all its popular safety and design features in their adult line helmets and incorporated these into the kitten, customizing it to suit the toddler,
The helmet uses an MPS EXE wheel adjustment and retention system placed at the back of the head which prevents the helmet from sliding upon the child’s head. This poses a threat as it would dangerously expose the forehead in case of impact. The wheel adjustment is micrometric, which means every click of the wheel either loosens or tightens retention by 1mm. Rest assured you will always achieve a snug and stable fit for your toddler’s head. The helmet is designed with Low Nape Protection to protect the fragile rear occipital area.
The Catlike kitten has 23 air vents for adequate air circulation, cooling, and comfort. It comes in three sizes: XS that fits a head circumference of 48 cm- 52 cm and weighs only 230 g. This is the helmet ideal for toddlers. The other two sizes are S for head sizes 52 cm- 56 cm, and M for head sizes 55 cm to 58 cm.
The Kali Protectives Chakra child helmet comes in a variety of fun colors and designs. This is helmet uses EPS Foam and a Polycarbonate Shell (PC Shell) which both make it super lightweight. It weighs only 208 grams. Compared to other helmets it is quite compact, allowing for a more snug fit around the head. The back doesn’t stick out, instead, it is shaped according to the contours of the head and can be used on a trailer.
The Kali Chakra has 21 air vents for adequate air circulation. It has a built-in visor to shield the eyes from the sun. The helmet comes with an easy to use dial adjustment system placed at the nape of the neck, that prevents the helmet from sliding back and exposing the front to injury in case of impact.
The Kali Protectives Chakra helmet comes in two sizes: Child, which fits a head circumference 48 cm- 54 cm and Youth, which is suitable for head sizes between 52 cm- 57cm.
Just from the look of this helmet, you can quickly tell that it was designed with the adult line helmet in mind. However, this does not, in any way, make it less cool for a toddler. All safety and design feature that Bell is well known to have been incorporated and suited to the needs of a toddler. The SideTrack Child helmet comes in a variety of colors and designs for you to choose from.
The Sidetrack is produced using in-mold construction, fusing the inner foam and the outer shell. It has noticeably lower coverage on the rear side of the head and a total of 15 vents for air circulation. It comes with a visor that snaps on very securely. The visor is made of heavy plastic and protrudes further out compared to most other helmets that come with visors. This offers extra protection against weather elements that could easily inhibit vision and extra protection to the face in case of falling.
The SideTrack uses Bell’s very own Ergo fit, an adjustment system made up of two elements. A tri-glide side strap slider which, compared to standard sliders, actually does a better job in terms of ensuring the helmet stays in place, and an internal cage adjusted by the dial adjustment system. The dial adjustment is placed at the back and, depending on the side you turn the dial, it will either narrow or widen the inside of the helmet from both the back and the sides. You can, therefore, get the perfect fit for the toddler’s head.
The helmet comes in two sizes: Child, for a head size of 47- 54 cm, and Youth, fit for head sizes 50 cm- 57 cm. This overlap in the sizing is intentional by Bell. It caters for the child with a head circumference between 50- 54 cm who can fit into either. The child helmet weighs 314 grams. Not the lightest, but
considering the rear extension, this is pretty standard compared to its competitors.
Unlike the SideTrack Youth, the SideTrack Child helmet does not come with a MIPS option. Only the standard model is available. Nonetheless, it makes it into our top ten for its impeccable design combined with its comfortable safety features.
The Joovy Noodle is designed for children aged 1- 4 years.
It has 14 vent holes, sufficient for air circulation, cooling and comfort. There is bug netting at the front of the helmet, and a dial adjustment system at the back to custom fit your toddler’s head. The noodle has two key features that landed it a spot in the top ten helmets for toddlers.
The chin straps are threaded through the dial adjustment system at the back which adds to the stability of the helmet on the toddler’s head. The straps are separated, and if placed correctly making a triangle around the ears with one strap through the back and the other around the front, the helmet has a very stable fit on the head.
A stand out feature of the Joovy Noodle is the bright dual color chin buckle that makes it easy and quick to spot. There is a pinch-free buckle pad to eliminate the risk of pinching when buckling. This helmet also has a built-in visor to protect the toddler’s eyes from harsh sunlight or rain and adds additional protection to the face in case of falling.
The noodle overall offers a comfortable, easy fit, with a wide selection of colors to choose from, It is available in black, blue, green, red, orange, blueberry and pink.
Lil 8 by Triple Eight is a helmet specifically designed for toddlers, to offer protection during both biking and skateboarding. It has additional coverage at the back of the head and the sides, extending further down the toddler’s head compared to other helmets. From the look and feel of the helmet, you can quickly tell it is high quality and sturdy.
However, the extra coverage you get with the Lil 8 adds to the overall weight of the helmet. The Lil 8 weighs at 509 grams, compared to the average weight
range of between 200 to 400 grams for other toddler helmets in the market. 509 grams on a toddler’s head can be quite top heavy and for this reason, tends to slip off the head of kids in the 1- 3-year-old age bracket.
The helmet does have features to enhance overall comfort. There is a thick pad on top of the buckle to prevent pinching and the inside of the helmet is lined with Sweat saver pads for additional comfort.
The Lil 8 uses a dial adjust system, which is not common for skater-style helmets which usually come with a padding adjustment system ( basically different sized pads that you can use to customize the fit of the helmet to the head). The dial adjustment system is simpler and much quicker to use. All you need to do is turn the knob. The side straps have sliders for adjustment.
The Lil 8 only has 8 vents, which is a limitation imposed on dual certified helmets. This limits the air circulation and cooling of the user.
Nonetheless, if your toddler can withstand the extra weight, and you are looking for a helmet ideal for both riding and skating, the Triple 8 Lil 8 is worth considering. The helmet comes in black, blue, green, pink and white.
A Few Final Words
A number of very attractive and colorfully designed helmets failed to find the right balance between design and safety. These top ten were able to find the right mix between being practical and attractive enough to get the toddler excited about wearing it.
It is important to remember the ultimate goal of a helmet is to protect against head impact and/ or minimize head and brain injury. A quick tip when choosing the best helmet to suit your toddler is to measure the actual head circumference well.
Make sure you use a measuring device that does not stretch like string or a measuring tape and find what is the widest way around the head. You can then use this for a more accurate comparison to the size chart. Most reputable brands have detailed size charts that you can use to make a more informed decision. Amazon also incorporates these at the selection stage.