Best Bike Helmet for Kids
The Schwinn Thrasher is an impressive bike helmet with a removable sun visor and an adjustable size circumference knob. The helmet has a cool plastic graphics overlay that comes in various patterns and blends in with the coordinating sun visor. It is lightweight, has ample ventilation, and didn't shift when appropriately fitted, providing a comfortable fit and feel for longer rides. It also sports a slightly curved buckle for a more comfortable fit against the chin.
The plastic graphics are somewhat thin, and we worry they could warp in the sun or extreme heat or easily become damaged. While this wouldn't affect the functionality or its ability to protect your little one's noggin, we suspect most kids won't continue to wear a damaged uncool helmet. However, we think this occurrence will likely be a rarity, and if you take care of the helmet, it should take care of you in style and comfort for a long time.
If you seek a straightforward kids' bike helmet for younger ones, the Joovy Noodle is a potential contender. This lightweight option comes in various kid-friendly, bright solid colors that can help your child stand out in a crowd. The dome is adequately padded for comfort and has plenty of ventilation, with a wire mesh covering the front openings for bug control (what a thoughtful addition!).
The Joovy has a sun visor, but it isn't very long and will likely lack useful coverage for sensitive peepers. We wish it were longer as younger children often refuse to wear sunglasses, and outdoor activities are typically bright. However, overall, we like what the Noodle brings to the table for essential protection and think it is comfortable enough that little ones will wear it without putting up a fuss.
The Bell Richter Youth Helmet is a basic kids' bike helmet with a few handy features, like rear strap reflectors, elastic size circumference, and a no-pinch buckle. This helmet has a flashy plastic graphics overlay, a removable visor, and adequate padding for comfort.
This helmet requires that you measure your child's head before purchasing as it doesn't have the adjustable size circumference knob like some of the similar competitors. It also has thinner plastic for the graphics that could potentially become damaged by intense or direct heat, so you'll want to avoid leaving it in a hot car or direct sun. Overall, we think this Bell is a potential contender for those who want good coverage, ample ventilation, and a sun visor, but have a smaller budget that prevents purchasing an adjustable helmet.
Razor V-17 Multi-Sport Helmet is a no-nonsense helmet your child can wear for multiple sporting activities involving wheels (skateboarding, biking, hoverboards, and scooters, etc.). This helmet provides full-head protection as opposed to sitting on top like a bike helmet. Plus, it has just enough ventilation to avoid the super sweaty head while having fun. The Razor comes in a few attractive colors, including a popular matte black finish and shiny pink. Kids like the X-games feel of looking like professional extreme sports athletes, and we like that purchasing one helmet for multiple sports can prevent messing with a bunch of helmets.
This option is a full head style and is, therefore, heavier than a traditional bike helmet. It also features more padding and less ventilation and could be hot for some active kids on-the-go. This Razor lacks a sun visor, though we can see how a visor could cause potential problems depending on the sport and the type of accident a child might have during participation, so we assume this is an intentional choice. Overall, this helmet is pretty stinking cool, and kids can potentially wear it for a long time pursuing multiple interests, which could save you time, hassle, and money in the long run.
For kids who want something a little different or edgy, we bring you the Mongoose MG77927. This full-head style helmet has skull-shaped ventilation in the back that leaves a lasting impression that observers won't forget and will probably envy. Our testers consistently argued over who got to wear this multi-sport helmet, and they were willing to tolerate the heavier weight and less ventilation to sport the rad-est dome protector at the bike park and in this group.
This helmet is more expensive than most, proving style is often something you pay more for. However, this added cost could be offset if your daredevil uses it for multiple sports such as biking and skateboarding. There is the chance this spooky helmet could scare younger children in group settings, which might be a concern depending on where you ride. Those minor things aside, we can't get over how unique and cool this high-quality helmet is and think kids will beg to wear it as often as possible.
The Razor Full Face Helmet looks and feels like a lightweight motocross helmet (it is not!). It has front mouth ventilation for better airflow and a visor for sun protection of sensitive eyes. Kids like the way it mimics the tough helmets worn by motocross riders, and we love the full head design that offers face protection for the potential faceplate that can happen while riding.
This helmet has a somewhat closed-off feeling for the wearer and could make some kids feel claustrophobic. It is also hot, and it may not be the best choice for warmer weather as your child will sweat more when wearing this style compared to a traditional bike helmet. This helmet is not suitable for motorized activities, and we encourage parents to read the fine print before purchasing to avoid disappointment. Overall, we think it is a good choice for those who want a little more protection for their face or added warmth for cooler weather.
The Bell Rally Child Helmet is a traditional bike helmet for younger riders. This helmet is brightly colored plastic graphics over impact foam. It is lightweight, offers good ventilation, has adequate padding, and comes with a sun visor. Testers say the product is comfortable, and we like the simplicity and straightforward design.
This product is small and not suitable for children with larger heads, but if you pay close attention to sizing and measure your child before making your purchase, you shouldn't have any trouble. It doesn't have an adjustable circumference knob, so it may not be something that fits as long as an adjustable option might. Also, the thin plastic overlay could potentially become misshapen in intense heat, so we suggest not leaving it in a hot car or under intense direct sun. In short, we think this simple helmet is a potential option for younger riders, especially those who just need a helmet but aren't as concerned with style or standing out in a crowd.
The Obsidian Kids Bike Helmet comes with adorable cartoon graphics and a built-in visor. It features adjustable circumference sizing, so it should fit a broader range of heads right out of the box. We like the thicker padding and the slightly curved chin buckle that makes it somewhat more comfortable for wearers.
This helmet has a smaller visor, and we aren't convinced it is going to protect eyes the way parents hope, but it is solid. It could help protect against face damage by not crumpling or popping off the way some of the traditional bike helmet competition does. Overall, this cute kids' helmet is a great option for younger riders who need head protection, and we think parents and kids will appreciate the adjustable circumference for a custom fit.
Toddlers will feel protected and cozy in the Schwinn Classic Design for little ones. This classic kids' bike helmet is designed with babies and toddlers in mind, with more head coverage and simple lines without any flashy graphics or bells and whistles.
This helmet has no visor, which feels like an oversight given how sensitive little peepers can be. It also lacks ventilation on the sides and back, which could result in a sweaty baby head depending on the weather. However, these minor flaws aside, we think parents will appreciate the adjustable circumference and the straightforward concept of this classic helmet for the littlest of passengers.
The WESTGIRL Bike Helmet has a super cool look, and we like the idea of the versatility of going full-face or sans face mask. It has better matte graphics than much of the competition and thick padding throughout for comfort. Kids liked the way the helmet looks, and parents felt it offered full coverage protection not found in all of the competition.
This helmet comes in multiple parts, and it is sort of a hassle to assemble as it comes without directions. The quality is also sort of iffy with rough plastic edges and visible glue. Overall, we think if the helmet feels comfortable and your child loves the graphics, it can get the job done, but the full-face components could result in excessive sweating and a shorter lifespan.
Why You Should Trust Us
Leading our kids' bike helmet review is Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor. Wendy is a mother of two boys who enjoy mountain biking, BMX tracks, and other helmet requiring activities. Their combined passions for wheeled activities gives her a unique perspective on all things head protection. Our selection of top-notch products experienced hands-on testing and side-by-side comparison for comfort, quality, and style to ensure you get the details you need to find the right helmet for your needs and wallet. Testers from 3-10 years old graciously offered their noggins and opinions to help us rank and evaluate the contenders.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased and tested 10 popular activity helmets for kids. We considered metrics like comfort and fit, quality, and style in our quest to find the best kids' helmets.
When it comes to helmets, the one-size-fits-all philosophy does not apply, and you'll need to adjust a helmet to obtain a proper fit. A good bike helmet should be comfortable and provide a snug fit that keeps your child's head protected. A helmet that sits too far back or too far forward, as well as too tight or shifts around, can contribute to potential injuries instead of preventing them. While every helmet in the United States must meet certain safety requirements and expectations, manufacturers can't assess how well any particular helmet will fit every child and whether or not their products are a comfortable or safe fit for your child. This responsibility is up to you. We tested each helmet for the ability to achieve a comfortable and proper fit. The helmets' adjustability heavily influenced these factors and whether or not you can move the padding or make sizing alterations based on your child's head.
Among the competition, the most comfortable and best-fitting helmets are the options with an adjustable turn knob that allow you to make changes in the helmet circumference size. Honestly, this knob is a game-changer, especially for growing kids, allowing your child to use the same helmet longer than an option without this feature. The knob changes the size of an interior plastic halo that encircles the head and keeps it snugly inside the helmet. A fair amount of contenders in our review have this adjustment knob, including the Schwinn products, the Joovy Noodle, and the Obsidian Kids Bike Helmet. It is important to note that none of the multi-sport type products have this feature, so you'll need to do a little more precise head measuring to ensure a good fit, and the helmets may need replacement faster as your child grows. While not adjustable, these helmets tend to include thicker interior padding, offering extra overall comfort that kid testers enjoyed; the Mongoose is one of these helmets.
The WESTGIRL Bike Helmet has the knob and the ability to be full-faced, but the convoluted process of the full-face assembly will probably result in most folks tossing the parts aside. The hardest to fit are the Bell helmets. These helmets have elastic around the backside of the interior head frame structure that sits inside the helmets as opposed to the adjustable plastic halo that allows for a customized snug fit. It isn't a terrible design and will work well for some, but it can also squeeze the head in a way that can't be relieved like it can with the adjustable products.
Bike helmets, and, actually, helmets for kids in general, come in various styles and shapes. We primarily considered helmets suitable for biking activities and included a few rated as suitable for multi-sports like skateboarding, scooters, or rolling skating to provide a variety of options that could save you money storage space with their increased versatility. As many parents know, kids change hobbies and favorites as swiftly as the weather, so finding a helmet they can use for more than one activity could be a real money-saver.
The Mongoose multi-sport helmet was a tester favorite with the rear ventilation cut in the shape of a skull. This matte black finish helmet is suitable for skating, skateboarding, hoverboards, biking, and more. It has thick interior padding and a comfortable chin strap, though it is heavier and has less ventilation than a traditional bike helmet. Both Razor helmets can be used for multiple sports, though the full-face option might be overkill for sports that don't traditionally require it. While theoretically, we suspect you can wear a bike style helmet to do other sports, and indeed we've seen them on hoverboards, Segways, and the like, they probably aren't the best for activities like skateboarding or even trick-riding where you tend to see the multi-sport helmet style that covers more of the backside of the head than the traditional bike helmet. If biking is your go-to, then we think most kids will be happiest with the open face, full-ventilation kids' bike helmets that are both comfortable, lightweight, and adjustable like the Schwinn Thrasher or Joovy Noodle depending on age or head size.
The style you need or select can depend on the activity your child plans to do and personal choice. The most important thing is to protect your child's head with the right equipment, and we encourage you to read the fine print before purchasing any option to ensure that the helmet is right for the chosen activity. If your little one tends to experiment across sports, without sticking to anything specific, a multi-sport helmet like the Razor V-17 Multi-Sport Helmet could be the best choice for staying stylish while saving money and storage space.
None of the products in this review are suitable for motorized sports like 4-wheelers, motorcycles, and motocross dirt bikes. While potentially suitable for slower electric-powered equipment like hoverboards and electric scooters (check the helmet's user guide or ask the manufacturer), they are not appropriate for faster activities with greater head injury risks. Despite the dirt bike styling of the Razor Full-face helmet, it is not appropriate for motocross.
Choosing the perfect kid's helmet can make the difference between your child proudly wearing their helmet and tedious arguments over why they should. We feel there is a product for every child and need in this group. Be it an ultra-cool, versatile multi-sport helmet or a traditional dome protector for biking. After rigorous testing, we believe you'll find the best helmet for your child, their style, and comfort in this roundup of excellent options.
— Wendy Schmitz