I once met a man who refused to let his son wear a helmet when riding a bike. When I asked him why, he told me, “If you put a helmet on a boy’s head, it will make him think that bike riding is dangerous, and he will be afraid.”
I understood the thinking, which was more intellectual than psychological and totally misguided. Bike riding can be dangerous, especially if your ride in traffic, and there is nothing wrong with a child having a healthy awareness of the dangers. But wearing a helmet does not instil fear. On the contrary, it will make the child feel safe and therefore much more likely to relax and enjoy the ride.
Bike helmets for kids are as well made as those made for bike racing and have also been tested in extreme situations, so you can feel secure in knowing that they will provide adequate coverage and safety, even the lower-priced ones. Spending more will buy you a lighter helmet with better ventilation but that will become important to your child only when they begin to take cycling seriously and want to ride farther and longer.
Here are some kids’ bike helmets that stand out:
Hornit Mini Lids Kids Bike Multi-Sport Kids Helmet
The Hornit Mini Lids Kids bike Multi-Sport Helmetis a mouthful to say but it is practical, cool and inexpensive and can be used by your child with scooters, skateboards and other two-wheelers, including bikes. It comes in two sizes, is fully adjustable and so can fit everyone from toddlers to teenagers. It is well-ventilated thanks to its (count ‘em) eleven vents. The Mini Hornit range is enormous and offers colours and designs to please just about everyone. The helmets have been tested to the CSCP (US) and EN1078 (Europe) safety standards and feature super-comfortable padding. Available at Amazon for about €35.
POC Pocito Omne SPIN
If you want to give your child a helmet that is just like an adult’s but smaller, this one is for you. POC took their all-around adult helmet, the Omne Air SPIN, and sized it down and brightened it up. It offers the same slip-plane technology called SPIN as the adult helmet. This allows for angular rotation, which experts say helps mitigate the impact of a crash. And the helmets come in bright colours to make others more aware of the presence of kids on bikes. The added safety tech makes this a relatively costly lid. Get it at Wiggle for €90.
Giro Scamp MIPS
If you want a helmet for the smallest cyclist, you can’t do better than the Giro Scamp MIPS. The MIPS comes in two sizes, XS/45-40cm and S/49-53cm, offers a number of attention-getting bright colours – including Pink Street Sugar Daisies! – and has an integrated visor to protect your child’s face. In addition, it comes with MIPS technology, which uses a movable inner liner designed to more efficiently dissipate impact in a crash. It is available now at Amazon for only €30.
Bell Youth Sidetrack II Helmet
Finally, the Bell Youth Sidetrack II Helmet is for an older child who is about to get serious about cycling, both on and off road. This helmet also offers MIPS technology – which is said to be able to absorb rotational forces from a crash before they affect the brain – and features the same tough and protective fusion In-Mould polycarbonate shell as the adult models. It comes with 14 vents to ensure that your child’s head remains cool in all situations and provides a good transition before they move to adult helmets. Available (only in matte black) at Wiggle for €53.49.