While the jury’s still out about the safety of letting babies ride on bikes before they’re one year old, many safety experts agree that it’s still the parents’ judgment to make. For my part, I suggest asking your baby’s pediatrician about your baby’s suitability for it.
If you decide to go for it, be sure to buy the right bike helmet. Check that it’s properly fitted for added safety. Parents should be vigilant about protecting our children’s heads.
Top Picks for Head Protection for Your Precious Babies
The emphasis is on well-fitting bike helmets for children. Here are a few great infant & toddler bike helmets that can be adjusted for a proper fit.
Table of Contents
- Top Picks for Head Protection for Your Precious Babies
- Must-know Information about Helmets for Infants and Toddlers
1. Joovy Noodle Helmet
The Noodle helmet is designed for children between 1 and 4 years old with a head size from 18.5” to 20.5”. Be sure to measure your child’s head first.
The 14 air vents promotes air circulation in and around the head so the wearer will not feel too hot and sweaty. The extended visor provides partial protection against the sun’s glare, but I still recommend wearing ultraviolet protection sunglasses.
The adjustable fit dial and nylon straps are useful in ensuring a proper fit. The cushioned part absorbs the impact in case of a minor crash, which can happen with children on trikes.
What’s Great About It: This helmet is available in six colors – red, green, blue, pink, black, and orange. The CPSC certification also contributes to your peace of mind.
2. Lazer Baby on Board Helmet
The Lazer helmet fits most babies due to its smaller size. This helmet is suitable for babies who use ride-on electric toys and ride on adult bikes as passengers. The Comfit3 retention system allows for adjustments to the fit of the helmet, and straps onto the head and around the chin. Your baby’s comfort is assured due to the soft strap material and cushioned helmet.
There are 6 vents that allow air to circulate so there’s little risk of overheating. It’s still important to schedule bike rides during the cooler hours of the day, and for babies to get adequate sun protection.
The straps are made of reflective material, so it’s easier to spot the wearer in a crowd or on the sidewalk. The chin strap also has extra padding for added comfort.
What’s Great About It: The helmet’s rear has a unique design with a flatter profile than a regular helmet. Your baby can lean back on his seat in a comfortable position.
3. Bell Minnie Toddler Helmet
The Bell Minnie helmet fits toddlers with a head measurement between 48” and 52”. Most moms say that it fits their 1- to 3-year old children, while a few say that their 4-year old child can wear it. The unisex design allows moms to let their toddlers wear a uniform helmet like a team of small riders.
The straps are also adjustable so a proper fit around the head, neck and chin areas can be ensured. The fit can easily be adjusted with the slide-and-stop mechanism, too, so it’s less of a hassle for moms.
The Pinch Guard feature protects your toddler’s sensitive skin from the pinching that often happens with inferior helmets.
The helmet has 8 air vents around it for better air circulation in the head area. The risk of heat exhaustion can increase when your child’s head doesn’t get sufficient ventilation, especially during summer days.
What’s Great About It: The Minnie theme attracts toddlers so it’s easier for parents to encourage them to wear it. Aside from being an attractive helmet, it also provides extended neck protection, a plus for parents.
4. Schwinn Toddler Classic Microshell Helmet
The Microshell helmet measures 21” in circumference in the inner area, so it’s suitable for average-sized toddlers. The Schwinn brand is closely associated with bikes, and their bike helmets are known for their high quality too. The classic design comes in several colors and patterns for every toddler’s preference.
The Dial Easy Fit Retention feature makes adjustments to the tightness of the straps easy. On-the-fly adjustments can be made so that two toddlers can use it, one at a time. As your child grows older, the helmet also grows with them by simply adjusting the straps.
This is a lightweight helmet so its wearer will not complain about it being heavy on their head. Many moms reported that their children wore their helmet even after getting off their bikes – as mine does.
The risk of your child’s head overheating from wearing such a full-cover helmet is reduced with the 8 air vents. The built-in brim also protects your child’s eyes from the sun’s rays.
What’s Great About It: The ease of putting on the helmet and its attractive design encourages kids to wear it. The colorful combo of pinks, lilacs, and purples is part of its appeal that your child will love.
5. Giro Me2 Infant/Toddler Bike Helmet
The Mini Loc Fit System ensures that the Giro Me2 helmet stays on your child’s head even with moderate head movements while biking. Just be sure to check that the helmet sits well on top of your child’s head and that the straps are securely in place.
The microshell construction contributes to the helmet’s durability. Even when used regularly, it will not crack easily, but proper care is still a must. The helmet is made of strong and sturdy thick plastic that can withstand years of use.
The helmet was made with toddlers in mind, so it’s as lightweight as can be. Many moms also report that their kids insist on wearing the helmet before getting on their bikes, which is a good sign.
The 6 air vents promote better air circulation around the head while still providing protection. These vents are located in strategic areas so every part of the head has good air circulation.
The pinch-proof buckle and soft chin strap prevents minor skin injuries, particularly from pinching. Kids will often not wear a helmet because of the pinching effect, so this eliminates that concern.
What’s Great About It: The MIPS version may be optional, but it comes highly recommended. Basically, it decreases the rotational forces exerted on the head and neck in case of an impact. It’s a thin yet durable plastic shell with protective foam padding and anchors.
6. Razor V-17 Child Multi-sport Helmet
You can look at multisport helmets like the Razor V-17 as bike helmets for toddlers. These also have the right features for adequate head and neck protection.
With a 21.5” to 22” head size measurement range, the recommended age for this helmet is five to eight years old.
This helmet can obviously be used for different sports, such as biking and skating. Aside from its design being in compliance with CPSC standards, it’s also easier to put on, adjust and fasten because of the side release buckles.
There’s also an additional sizing pad for getting the proper fit over your child’s head and around their chin. The black color makes it suitable for both genders.
The helmet’s material is made of strong and sturdy plastic with a glossy finish. Inside it is an interior padding for more comfort and support.
The 17 air vents at the top and sides promote optimal air circulation. This is definitely an older child’s helmet because it’s designed for longer hours of sports involvement.
What’s Great About It: This is a versatile sports helmet, so it grows with a child’s interests and it provides good value for money. The black helmet itself can be decorated with stickers based on your child’s interests and personality.
Must-know Information about Helmets for Infants and Toddlers
No matter your choice in an infant or toddler’s helmet, you should always make sure that it fits on your child’s head. In a 2003 study, children were found to be wearing helmets that were either improperly fitted or in inadequate condition. The pediatricians in the study asked parents to bring their children’s helmets.
The most common issues found were that the helmets rested too high on the child’s forehead and that they moved around on their heads too much. In both cases, the risk for brain injuries increases. There’s insufficient protection from the helmets, which contradicts their purpose.
The first step is to measure your child’s head for their helmet.
- Wrap a vinyl tape measure around your child’s head. Using a string and ruler is also a good idea if a vinyl tape measure isn’t available.
- Measure one inch above your child’s eyebrows, which should be the head’s thickest part.
- Write it down and compare it with the head measurements provided by the manufacturer. Read the reviews, too, since the manufacturers’ sizing charts can differ.
With this measurement, it’s time to go helmet shopping. The ideal way to do so is to take your child with to a bike shop and fit the age-appropriate helmets on them. If taking your child to the store is not an option, or if you are shopping online, check that there is a return policy that allows for exchanges of the product within a reasonable time.
When it fits on your child’s head, you should ensure that it fits well all around. Here’s what you need to check for a proper helmet fit:
- The rim should be 1 to 2 finger widths above your child’s eyebrows.
- The straps must form a V-shaped configuration underneath their ear lobes.
- The buckle has to feel snug yet comfortable under their chin, while the helmet itself should hug their head. Let your child open their mouth to determine that it is so.
You may also want to grab your child’s helmet while it’s strapped to their head and twist it gently. If it moves too easily, then it’s likely to be too loose, so make the proper adjustments.
I recommend checking your child’s helmet every time they wear it. If you’re pressed for time, a weekly check should be adequate. I usually perform it every weekend when my kids are on their regular bike rides.
Toddlers can also be taught about basic safety measures when on a bike. These should be explained in a way that they can understand and apply on their biking trips. A few tips to teach toddlers include:
- Always keep to designated areas. These can include inside the house and yard; and for older kids on the sidewalk only.
- Never cross the road on the bike even when there seems to be no traffic.
- Wear a helmet whenever they get on a bike, either as a passenger or a driver.
- Keep their hands on the bike’s handlebar or inside the trailer while on a bike.
- Ride at a moderate pace only. Racing isn’t allowed until they are older.
Of course, these safety measures aren’t enough to keep infants and toddlers on bikes safe. Parents must always exercise supervision when their child is riding on their bike.
But there will be cases when a crash happens. Parents must check their child’s head and body to determine if medical attention is necessary. Even a bruise can be cause for concern for certain children, such as those with blood disorders. Children’s heads are also vulnerable to concussions even with a little bump on the ground.
In case of nausea and/or vomiting after a crash, an emergency room visit may be warranted.
Don’t assume that when a child is wearing a properly fitted, age-appropriate bike helmet that their head is 100% safe. Parents must use their common sense as responsible adults, because every physical activity has its own risks. Children, in turn, should be taught about bike safety as soon as they can understand it.
I hope that with my basic guide on the best bike helmets for kids and toddlers, you can make the right decisions for your child’s safety and enjoyment while on a bike.