Over the past several years, the technology used in helmets has grown extensively, but sadly not many of those improvements have made their way into affordable helmets for children. The folks over at Bern decided that needed to change created the Nino/Nina helmet (same helmet, just different colorings for boys and girls) using their patented Zip Mold technology which was previously only available on their higher-end adult helmets. Compared the standard foam found in most helmets, Zip Mold is a liquid-injected foam that bonds directly to the outer plastic shell, creating a solid, unified helmet. The advanced nature of the Zip Mold technology additionally has a higher weight to strength ratio, which allows for a lighter, lower-profile helmet that is more comfortable to wear.
Bern Nina vs. Nutcase and Disney Hardshell
When compared to other leading skater-style helmets, the lower-profile of the Zip Mold is noticeably different. In addition to increased comfort, the slimmer profile allows the helmet straps to fit more snuggly against the head, creating a better over-all fit as compared to other helmets. The Bern also comes with a flip-able sun visor to help shield eyes from the sun.
Considering the Nina has fewer vents, an internal adjust system and offers more protection on the back of the head, it’s quite remarkable that it only weighs 0.5 oz. more than the Disney hardshell.
Sticking to their all-weather tradition, the Nina/Nino was also designed to be used in the sun and snow. The helmet comes standard with a sun visor, but a liner without a visor and a fleece winter liner with built-in ear flaps can be purchased separately. Each liner comes with a velcro adjust to help customize the fit. While we appreciated the ability to adjust, one feature of the liners we would like to see improved is the ease at which the velcro adjust can slide up into the helmet when putting it on. As a result, when putting on the helmet, our testers found it necessary to hold the adjuster to prevent it from folding up.
How to Properly Size and Fit a Helmet
The Nina/Nino comes in extra-small (XS) and small (S) sizes. The XS fits a head circumference of 18 7/8″ to 20 1/4″ and the S a circumference of 20 1/4″ to 21 1/2″. The helmet pictured in this review is a size small and is being worn by a six-year-old tester. The video below from Bern demonstrates how to correct measure your head circumference was well as determine if a helmet fits properly.
Where to Purchase
The Nina and Nino are both available on Amazon for $35 to $40.
Bern Junior Elbow and Knee Pads
Bern additionally makes high-quality junior elbow and knee pads for kids approximately aged 5 to 8. Made with compression molded foam and low-profile polycarbonate caps, Bern’s junior pads are the perfect confident booster for older kids. While older kids tend to be confident in their pedal and balancing, they are often hesitant to be more adventurous on their bike. Knee pads and elbow pads, however, can give them to confidence to try new skills and tricks at skate parks, pump tracks or on a simple wood plank jump on the sidewalk.
Where to Purchase
Bern Junior Pad Set are not longer available at BalanceBikeOutlet.com but are available at Amazon.com.
FTC Disclosure: I was provided a Bern Nina Helmet and Bern Junior Knee Pads to help facilitate this review. No monetary compensation was provided in exchange for this review. I am an affiliate of Amazon and some links below may contain affiliate links.