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I once met a man who refused to let his child wear a helmet when riding a bike. When I asked him why, he told me, “If you put a helmet on a kid’s head, it will make them think that bike riding is dangerous, and they will be afraid.”

I understood the thinking, which was more intellectual than psychological and totally misguided. Bike riding can be dangerous, especially if you 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.

A young child on a mountain bike riding over a wooden bridge in a forest

Youth bike helmets are excellent quality and protect young kids as equally as those made for bike racing. Both have been tested in extreme situations, so you can feel secure in knowing 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 our choices that stand out as some of the best kids bike helmets available today.

Hornit Mini Lids Kids Bike Multi-Sport Helmet

Hornit Mini Lids Kids Bike Multi-Sport helmet in pink with faces of French poodles on it.

The Hornit Mini Lids Kids bike Multi-Sport Helmet is a mouthful to say, but it is practical, cool, and affordable helmet that your child can use with scooters, skateboards and other two-wheelers, including bikes. No other skate style helmets sold offer as many fun and colourful designs to please any picky tastes, there are 17! ; Ample rear coverage provides extra protection for younger kids.

This skate style helmet comes in two sizes, small 48-53cm and medium 54-58cm. Because it has a fully adjustable harness, it can fit everyone from toddlers to teenagers. It has excellent ventilation thanks to its (count ‘em) eleven openings. The helmets have been tested to CSCP (US) and EN1078 (Europe) safety standards and feature super-comfortable padding. Available at Amazon for a reasonable price of €35.

Specialized Mio MIPS helmet

Specialized Mio MIPS youth helmet in blue

The Mio MIPS by Specialized has been voted on of the best kids helmets on the market today for young riders thanks to its numerous high-spec features (an integrated led light is missing) in a design that your toddler will want to wear. It is ventilated by 13 wide openings that reduce sweat build up. The top vents have a built in bug net to keep out uninvited guests. It is a lightweight helmet with extended coverage designed to fit smaller heads aged between one and approximately three years of age.

The Mio bike helmet feels rugged yet your child’s comfort has been made a priority. A magnetic buckle on the highly adjustable chin strap makes it easy for parents and kids too while providing a secure fit. Speaking of the straps, the webbing is reflective and has a TriFix splitter under the ears to prevent them from digging in. With integrated MIPS safety technology, dial adjust fit, and a built in visor, Specialized has brought a quality children’s helmet to the market for 60€ or less with some colours.

POC Pocito Omne SPIN

POC Pocito Omne Spin helmet in orange

If you want to give your child the same 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 Poc-ito style and brightened it up. It offers the same SPIN slip-plane technology against multi directional impact protection as the grownup version, but no durable snap in visor.

SPIN (Poc’s version of MIPS) allows for angular rotation, which experts say helps mitigate the impact of a crash. And this functional helmet comes in three 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 €76, which is a good deal since it normal retail price is 90€.

Giro Children’s Scamp MIPS

Giro Children's Scamp youth helmet (MIPS version) in black

If you want the best bike helmet for the smallest cyclist, you can’t do better than the Giro Children’s Scamp. The MIPS comes in two sizes, XS/45-40cm and S/49-53cm, offers a number of attention-getting colours – including Pink Street Sugar Daisies! – and has a built-in visor to protect your child’s face.

In addition, its hard shell construction comes with MIPS technology, which uses a movable inner liner that slides in a separate plane in the event of a crash. It is designed to dissipate the forces of any impact more efficiently, especially rotational ones that can cause severe damage. The Scamp has eight vents and Giro’s proprietary Roc Loc adjustable retention system, but in junior format, for a secure fit. It is available now at Amazon for about 65€.

Giro Children’s Scamp (non-mips)

Before the MIPS version, the Giro Children’s Scamp was a top seller thanks to its in-mould EPS foam structure and surrounding polycarbonate shell. It also contains safety features of extended rear coverage, a hard outer shell, an integrated visor and eight vents like its newer sibling and Giro’s Roc Loc Jr fit adjustment system for a snug fit.

MIPS or similar technology is become more standard in all helmets for additional protection, youth and adult alike, but if you can still find the non-MIPS versions of the Scamp in a colour your child will like, it may be the right helmet for you as it will only set you back about 38€, a friendly price for a kids bike helmet they may only be wearing a short while.

Bell Youth Sidetrack II Helmet

Bell Youth Sidetrack II Helmet in matte black

Finally, the Bell Youth Sidetrack II Helmet is an on and off road youth helmet made for or older kids who are about to get serious about cycling. Available only in one size in matte black, it has more sophisticated lines and looks like a scaled down version of an adult helmet. More than just good looks, the Sidetrack offers several protective features so you and your child can ride with peace of mind.

This helmet also offers a removable visor and 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 adjustable soft side straps, 14 vents and Sweat Guide padding to ensure that your child’s head remains cool and dry in all situations. It is the perfect choice before they transition to a full-blown grownup helmet. Available at Wiggle for €53.49.