Kids and Toddler Bike Helmets: Comparison Charts

Compare Top Bike Helmets to Find the Safest and Best Helmet for Your Child

Toddler and kids’ bike helmets are the ultimate safety accessory.  Never let your child ride without one! Before even sitting on a bike every child should be wearing a properly fitted, certified helmet.  But while all bike helmets sold in the U.S. are CPSC certified, they are not all created equal. Don’t just buy the first helmet you see at a big-box store and call it good. From size, to price, to adjustability, use our comparison charts and ratings to help you find the safest and the best helmet for your child (while staying in your budget).
Toddlers and kids of various ages on bikes showing off their bike helmets

Getting Started: Bike Helmet Buying Advice


Size (Head Circumference): All bike helmets are sized according to head circumference in centimeters. To learn how to measure properly, or see an average head size chart, read our What to Look for When Purchasing a Child’s Bike Helmet page.

Weight: Lightweight helmets are easier and more comfortable for kids to wear. As a result, heavier helmets rarely get a high recommendation from us.

Adjustability:  Poorly adjusted helmets can fall off or move around, greatly reducing the helmet’s ability to offer protection during a crash. Dial-in or self-adjusting systems allow the helmet’s internal cage to be adjusted to accurately conform to fit a child’s head and are always preferred.   Helmets without dial-adjust tend to flop around on a child’s head.

Construction: There are two main type of helmet construction: in-mold and hardshell.  Both types of construction provide adequate protection in a crash, but in-mold helmets are lighter, more durable, and allow for more vents.

Vents: If you live in a hot climate, look for a helmet with lots of vents. Skater style helmets will always have less vents than traditional bike helmets.

Certification (CPSC): If your child is also into skateboarding or riding scooters, make sure their helmet is dual certified with ASTM standards for skateboarding and CPSC standards for bicycling.  Dual certified helmets, as listed below, are certified for both.

Skater Style:  Skater style helmet are constructed very differently than traditional bike helmets.  Skateboarders fall more often than traditional bike riders, and as a result skater helmets are constructed and designed to withstand multiple impacts, versus just one (bike helmets should be replaced after one crash). Skater helmets are smooth and round to allow them to easily glide over solid surfaces during falls, have less vents and are generally much heavier than traditional style helmets.  Due to their increased weight, we prefer traditional bike helmets for kids riding bikes.

 Added Safety: Helmets that incorporate MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) are arguably the safest helmets on the market and have shown to decrease brain injury by 30%.  They are more expensive but are worth the extra cost if you can afford it. 

What Size Helmet Does Your Child Need?

Head circumference is a higher priority than age. Click below to jump to age-appropriate chart.

Jump to Comparison Charts Age Head Circumference Use CPSC
INFANT – YOUNG TODDLER 9 – 24 mo. 44 – 49 cm Trailer or Seat 1+
TODDLER 2 to 3 yrs. 46 – 52 cm Bike, Scooter or Trailer 5+
PRE-SCHOOLER 3 to 4 yrs.  48 – 55 cm Bike, Scooter or Trailer 5+
GRADE SCHOOLER 5 to 12 yrs. 50 – 57 cm Bike, Scooter, Skateboard  5+


 

What is the best helmet for Infants and Young Toddlers riding in trailers or bike seats?


KEY BUYING ADVICE

Rider Specific Design: Kids who ride in trailers or child bike seats benefit from helmets that are relatively flat in the back.  This prevents their head from being uncomfortably pushed forward by the back of the trailer or the bike seat.  These helmets are also suitable for riding a balance bike. All helmets in this chart have a flat back.

Certification:  Look for a helmet with a Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) certification for ages 1+.  These helmets offer slightly more coverage for smaller heads.  They are also extremely small, so kids with larger heads will likely need a helmet with age 5+ certification, which is perfectly fine (there is no in-between certification level).

Weight: Lightweight is key with toddlers as they may have difficulty keeping their head up with added weight.

State Regulations: In some states, it is against the law to carry a child younger than 12 months old in a trailer or bike seat.  Please know the laws of your state before making your purchase.

Best Bike Helmets for Infants includes Nutcase Baby and Giro Scamp and Lazer BOB and Bern Nino

Baby Nutcase Giro Scamp Lazer BOB Bern Nino Nina

Best Bike Helmets for Young Toddlers 9 to 24 Months Old

Trailer or Seat Use

44 cm. (17 in.) and up

Brand/Model MSRP Size Weight #of Vents Reflector Visor Dial Adjust Skater Style CSPC Construction
Exceptional
Giro Scamp with MIPS (XS) $55 45-49 cm 251 g 8 No Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Highly Recommended
Giro Scamp (XS) $35 45-49 cm 251 g 8 No Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Nutcase Baby Nutty $50 47-50 cm 280 g 11 Yes Yes Elastic Yes 1+ In-mold
Lazer BOB $28 46-52 cm 277 g 6 Yes Yes No (pinch) No 1+ In-mold
Specialized Small Fry Toddler $40 44-52 cm 10 Yes Yes Yes No 1+ In-mold
Recommended
Bern Nina/Nino (XS) $70 46-51 cm 357 g 7 No Yes Strap Yes 5+ Zip Mold
Recommended with Reservations
Triple Eight Lil 8 $40 46-52 cm 509 g 10 No No Yes Yes 5+ Hardshell

 

What is the best bike helmet for a 2 to 3 year-old toddler?


KEY BUYING ADVICE

Rider or Passenger?: All the helmets below are suitable for riding any type of bike as well as in a trailer or bike seat. Kids who ride mainly in trailers or child bike seats benefit from helmets that are relatively flat in the back.  All the helmets in the chart above have a flat back.

Weight: Lightweight is key with toddlers as they may have difficulty keeping their head up with added weight.

Certification:  If your toddler has a small head, look for a helmet CPSC certified for ages 1+.  If your toddler is older or has a larger head, look for a helmet with the age 5+ CPSC certification. There is no CPSC certification between 1+ and 5+; this is completely safe.

Best Bike Helmets for Young Toddlers include Giro Scamp with MIPS and Lazer P'Nut with MIPS and Joovy Noodle and Melon

Giro Scampw/MIPS Lazer P'Nut Joovy Noodle Melon

Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers 2 to 3 Years Old

Bike Use

46 cm. (18 in.) and up

Brand/Model MSRP Size Weight #of Vents Reflector Visor Dial Adjust Skater Style CPSC Construction
Exceptional
Lazer P’Nut MIPS* & non-MIPS $55/$75 46-50 cm 270 g 16 No Yes Auto No 5+ In-mold
Giro Scamp with MIPS (XS) $55 45-49 cm 251 g 8 No Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Uvex Hero $49 49-52 cm 205 g 13 Yes Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Highly Recommended
Giro Scamp (XS) $35 45-49 cm 251 g 8 No Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Nutcase Baby Nutty $50 47-50 cm 280 g 11 Yes Yes Elastic Yes 1+ In-mold
Giro Dime with MIPS (XS)  $60 47-51 cm 420 g 8 No No No Yes 5+ In-mold
Melon (XXS-S) $69 46-52 cm 280 g 12 Yes Option Yes Yes 5+ In-mold
Bontrager Little Dipper $35 46-50 cm 12 Yes Yes No No 5+ In-mold
Specialized Small Fry Child $40  50-55 cm 10 Yes Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Recommended
Giro Dime (XS)  $40 47-51 cm 420 g 8 No No No Yes 5+ In-mold
Bell Span (XS)  $60 49-53 cm 423 g 10 ? No Yes Yes 5+ ?
Bell Block (XS)  $40 49-53 cm 405 g 10 ? No ? Yes 5+ ?
Lazer Max+ $38 49-56 cm 256 g 11 Yes Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Bern Nina/Nino (XS) $70 46-51 cm 357 g 7 No Yes Strap Yes 5+ Zip Mold
Joovy Noodle $40 47-52 cm 226 g 14 No No Yes No 5+ Hardshell
Recommended with Reservations
Triple Eight Lil 8 $40 46-52 cm 509 g 10 No No Yes Yes 1+ Hardshell
Bell Fraction (XS) $40/$45 48-53 cm 404 g 12 No No No Yes 5+ Hardshell

 

What is the best bike helmet for a 3 to 5 year-old preschooler?


KEY BUYING ADVICE

Certification: All helmets in this size range are certified by the CPSC for ages 5+.  There is no CPSC certification between 1+ and 5+, and most 3 to 4-year-olds will only fit in a 5+ certified helmet. This is completely safe.

Construction:  Pre-schoolers are rough on their helmets, so durable In-mold construction is desired.

Best Bike Helmets for Pre Schoolers include Bell Sidetrack with MIPS and Catlike Kitten and Kali Chakra and Melon

Bell Sidetrack MIPS Catlike Kitten Kali Chakra Melon

Best Bike Helmets for Pre-schoolers 3 to 5 Years Old

48 cm. and up

Brand/Model MSRP Size Weight #of Vents Reflector Visor Dial Adjust Skater Style Dual Cert Construction
Exceptional
Giro Scamp with MIPS (S) $55 49-53 cm 251 g 8 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Bell Sidetrack Youth with MIPS (4+)  $60 50-57 cm 286 g 15 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Uvex Quatro Junior (4+)  $59 50-55 cm 270 g 9 LED* Yes Yes No No In-mold
Catlike Kitten (XS) $45 49-52 cm 215 g 23 No No Yes No No In-mold
Highly Recommended
Kali Chakra Child $29 48-54 cm 208 g 21 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Giro Scamp (S) $35 49-53 cm 251 g 8 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Bell Sidetrack Child $40 50-54 cm  291g 15 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Bell Sidetrack Youth (4+)  $40 50-57 cm  276g 15 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Melon (M/L) $69 52-58 cm 280 g 12 Yes Option Yes Yes No In-mold
Giro Dime with MIPS (S) $60 51-55 cm 420 g 8 No No No Yes No In-mold
Bell Zipper $35 47-54 cm 271 g 15 No No Yes No No In-mold
Botranger Big Dipper $35 48-52 cm 250 g 11 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Bontrager Solstice Youth $40 48-55 cm 290g 16 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Specialized Small Fry Child $40 47-55 cm 10 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Nutcase Little Nutty (XS) $60 48-52 cm 392 g 11 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Hardshell
Recommended
Giro Dime (S)  $40 51-55 cm 420 g 8 No No No Yes No In-mold
Bell Span (XS) $60 49-53 cm 423 g 10 ? No Yes Yes Yes Hardshell
Bell Block (XS) $40 49-53 cm 405 g 10 ? No ? Yes Yes Hardshell
Lazer Max+ $38 49-56 cm 256 g 11 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Bell Segment Jr. (XS)  $45 48-53cm 413 g 8 No No No Yes Yes Hardshell
Bell Segment Jr. (S) $45 51-55cm 413 g 8 No No No Yes Yes Hardshell
Crazy Safety Helmets (3D animals) $45 49-55 cm 270 g 6 LED Yes Yes Yes No Hardshell
Giro Rodeo $30 50-55 cm 6 No Yes Yes No No Hardshell
Wipeout Dry Erase, 3+ $30 47-49 cm ~415 g 11 No No No Yes Yes Hardshell
Recommended with Reservations
Schwinn Toddler Classic $40 10 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Troublesome
Raskullz $30 48-52 cm 7 No No No Yes No Hardshell

**Uvex Helmets LED do not come standard but are an optional upgrade.

 

What is the best bike helmet for a 5 to 12 year-old grade schooler?


KEY BUYING ADVICE

Certification: All helmets in this size range are certified by the CPSC for ages 5+. If your child is into skateboarding, be sure to look for a dual-certified helmet that is certified for bicycle and skateboard use (ASTM and CPSC).

Construction:  Young kids are rough on their helmets, so durable in-mold construction is desired.

Age Consideration: As kids age, their willingness to wear their helmet usually tends to diminish.  With plenty of designs and well-made helmets to choose from, allowing your child to pick out their own can certainly help. “Skater” style helmets are also more popular these days, and while we prefer the lighter weight standard style helmets, it is more important to get a helmet your child will wear.

Best Youth Bike Helmets include Giro Raze and Lazer Nut with MIPS and Kali Chakra and Nutcase Street

Giro Raze Lazer Nut'z MIPS Kali Chakra Youth Nutcase Street

Best Bike Helmets for Kids 5 to 12 Years Old

50 cm. and up

Brand/Model MSRP Size Weight #of Vents Reflector Visor Dial Adjust Skater Style Dual Cert Construction
Exceptional
Lazer Nut’z MIPS & non-MIPS* $75/$55 50-56 cm 300 g 16 No Yes Auto No No In-mold
Bell Sidetrack Youth with MIPS $60 50-57 cm 286 g 15 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Giro Raze with MIPS $65 50-57 cm 22 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Lazer J1 $45 52-56 cm 290 g 19 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Melon (M/L) $69 52-58 cm 280 g 12 Yes Option Yes Yes No In-mold
Highly Recommended
Kali Chakra Youth $30 52-57 cm 245 g 21 No Yes Yes No 5+ In-mold
Bell Sidetrack Youth $40 50-57 cm  276g 15 No Yes Yes No No In-mold
Giro Raze $45 50-57 cm 22 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Bern Nina/Nino (S) $70 52-55 cm 360 g 7 No Yes Strap Yes No Zip mold
Nutcase Street (S) $70 52-56 cm 430 g 11 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Hardshell
Nutcase Street (M) $70 56-60 cm 430 g 11 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Hardshell
Recommended
Bell Span (S) $60 51-55 cm 423 g 10 ? No Yes Yes Yes ?
Bell Block (S) $40 51-55 cm 405 g 10 ? No ? Yes Yes ?
Bell Ramble $60 52-56 cm 566 g 8 ? No ? Yes Yes Hardshell
Lazer Max+ $38 49-56 cm 256 g 11 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Crazy Safety Helmets (3D animals) $45 49-55 cm 270 g 6 LED Yes Yes Yes No Hardshell
Bell Trigger $35 50-57 cm 273 g 23 No No Yes No No In-mold
Giro Tempest $40 50-57 cm 22 Yes Yes Yes No No In-mold
Wipeout Dry Erase, 5+ $30 49-52 cm 408 g 11 No No No Yes Yes Hardshell
Recommended with Reservations
Razor V-17 $25 54-57 cm 17 No No No N0 No Hardshell
Bell Fraction (S) $40/$45 51-56 cm 425 g 12 No No No Yes Yes Hardshell
Troublesome
Disney Child Multi-sport $30 635 g 7 No No No Yes Yes Hardshell
Raskullz (5+) $30 50-54 cm 7 No No No Yes No Hardshell

**Giro Raze is a good helmet, but the visor is prone to breaking off. It easily fixed with some tape.


  • Julie

    Was all set to purchase the Giro Rascal for my son who will be getting a balance bike for his 2nd birthday, but then noticed the s/m size only goes up to 50 cm, and his head already measures at 50 cm. Is the next size up still highly recommended?
    Thanks so much!!

    • Yes, it’s a great helmet. I would go for the size up. Sorry that isn’t clear in the charts.

  • Kate

    Hi there, thanks so much for the super informative article. Is there a helmet you would recommend for a 25month old with 19.5″ head circumference that will be used primarily for a bike seat now, but would transition well to a balance bike? Or is it really best to buy two different helmets for these purposes?

    Also I saw the previous comment about the Lazer BOB, which I’m also considering. Have you had a chance to look into this one in any more detail (for example in comparison to the Specialized Small Fry or other helmets designed for trailer/bike seat use)? Thanks!

    • I have seen the BOB in person and know it is a great helmet, as it provides superior padding and adjustability, but it is still slightly rounded in the back as compared to the Specialized Small Fry. I do believe that the BOB has slightly better padding than the Small Fry, but they both have great dial-adjust systems. Here a quick comparison shot I came up with using the best pictures I could round up. While the image of the back of the Small Fry isn’t great, you can see the beveled edges that make the rear portion of the helmet flatter as compared to the average toddler helmet.

  • Lisa

    Are any of these helmets certified for multiple impacts? We went to a helmet fitting event a few weeks back, and they made a big deal out of “one crash and it’s trash” — that is, once you crash with a helmet on, it’s done, you need to throw it away. The next day, my 4 year old went out with his brand new helmet on, and crashed into a tree 🙂 Luckily, he was just fine (the helmet did his job!), and the helmet only cost $10, and there was a helmet fitting event the very next weekend where they gave away helmets for free! But I’d hate to invest in a pricier helmet unless it’s a multi-impact helmet.

    By the way, if anyone else is in the Seattle area, Kohl’s and Seattle Children’s Hospital sponsor the free helmet fitting events. The helmets they give away aren’t fancy but they do the job and free is good! http://www.seattlechildrens.org/classes-community/community-programs/kohls-helmet-safety. I wonder if there are similar events in other areas?

    • Great points and honestly, I don’t think any of them are certified for multiple impacts. Generally the “one crash and it’s trash” rule applies to all bicycles helmets, even high-end adult helmets. The main problem is that small cracks in the foam can’t be seen with the naked eye and can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the helmets during a crash. The benefit to purchasing more expensive helmets from the get go (even though they are still one impact helmets), is that they generally offer a much better fit and are much more likely to proper stay in place while riding and therefore protect better in the event of a crash. They are also lighter weight, easier to adjust and usually more comfortable for kids to wear.

      As for the helmet fitting event, that is awesome, thanks for the link. I will look around if I can find anymore as I would love to help spread the word.

  • Tina

    FYI, I just purchased the Bontrager Little Dipper based on your recommendation and there is no dial adjust.

  • Vicki

    Thanks Natalie! That info is helpful. I will tell my husband and see what he thinks (ugly MIPS or ugly Little Dipper w/o dial). My guess is we will go with MIPS… Funny… I hate horse things… And yes, the shells are hideous! Sad to say ppl go with unsafe to save money… But I hear that lots with car seats too. We researched seats and strollers like crazy and settled on Britax Boulevard from day one as well as Baby Jogger Summit xs. That’s why we also went with your top pick for bike seats after many months of compiled research.

    • Ha, ha, I dislikes horses as well, after one week of horse camp as a Girl Scout, I was done with them! All our of carseats have been Britax’s as well 🙂 Just like kids helmets, not only are they better built, they are easier to adjust, more comfortable for kids and hold up better with time. Great minds think alike!

  • nicole

    Did you review the Catlike Kitten? The link just goes to store. Would like to read it if you did. Love your site – much gratitude for your labor of love because of it I am able to make smartest choices for my little babes. I am buying everything I am after researching all info you provided. First bike limited (which is currently out of stock) and I think that Catlike helmet? 90% size 2.5 year old.

  • For those interested, I just heard back from Botranger about their Quickset System. It is not a dial-adjust system, but rather a self adjusting elastic adjustment as shown in the picture below.

  • Angeline

    Hello,
    Have you tried a Melon helmet? I was recommended this by a bicycle shop owner for my 18 month old. Is it any good? Your reviews on balance bikes have greatly helped, so would really appreciate if you could let me know about the Melon Helmet. Thank you.
    AG

  • Crystal

    I need help figuring out what will fit my 3 year old. She is three but wears a size 5t in pants. Her inseam is around 17-18 inches and she is around 43 inches tall and weighs 43lbs. I don’t want to spend too much but I need something that will fit her height and weight. She can ride a tricycle but the issue is that with a pedal bike she tries to go backwards like with her trike and it’s the brake on the bike. We thought a balance bike with a hand brake may help with that.

    • Ahh yes, the evil coaster brake (the back pedal brake) of kids bikes. They are truly awful in most cases and actually delay kids learning to ride, so no worries, the she is not alone! First off, I completely agree with you that a balance bike would do wonders for you daughter, but if you do get one, I highly suggest you hide her pedal bike and perhaps her tricycle for a while. Because balance bikes take more time to learn (although some kids pick it up by the first day), kids who have an option to ride other types of bike generally don’t invest the time needed to really master a balance bike. Once kids master the balance bikes, they LOVE them, but for others, they try it once, don’t like it, and then go back to their tricycles. Considering her height, my first pick would actually be the Ridgeback Scoot, but it is pricey at $175. Unfortunately, there really isn’t a cheaper balance bike larger enough to fit her that also has a hand brake. The TykesBykes 12″ would be my second choice, but it’s seat post maxes out at 18″. TykesBykes also makes a 16″, but it is a much bigger bike and is not recommended for kids younger than four at it can a big bike to handle. The TkesBykes 12″, however, has much taller handlebars as compared to bikes, so even if your daughter maxes our the seat height on the bike within a year, she should be able to still comfortably ride the bike.

  • Suzanne

    I am so overwhelmed…I am looking for a cute pink helmet for my 2 year old daughter. I have checked out all of the helmets above, but they dont seem to be exactly what I am looking for. She will mostly be using it for the bike trailer and her electric quad. We live in a hot area and my children seem to sweat a lot. I was looking at the Giro brand and came across the Scamp helmet. Can anyone vouch for this helmet being good for little ones in the heat? On another note; I am looking for a bike helmet for my 10 year old. All of the helmets seem to sit higher on his head than other kids. He does have a big head, but the actual helmet does fit. Any adult helmet is too big for him. Can anyone recommend a helmet for him that would also be good in hot weather.? Thanks

    • Yes! I just saw the scamp this last week and it is a great helmet. I will be reviewing it shortly, below are some pictures I took of the two types. There are two models, the MIPS and the non-MIPS. You can learn more about MIPS here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJb3LIupM2A. For a small, breathable helmet, the Scamp would be perfect. It is not as flat as the Baby Nutty or Lazer Bob in the back, but it is certainly flat enough for a trailer, especially if it has a recessed pocket.

      For your ten year-old, fit can be tricky with kids with longer heads. Your best bet would be to take him to a bike shop, or REI and have him try on a lot of helmets. If you are looking to buy online, we have had a lot of success with the Lazer Beam Jr., but it may be too small for him. The Lazer line of helmets tend to be a little dipper than other brands, but they are pretty pricey.

      • Suzanne

        Thank you so much Natalie. This really helps a lot!!! Do you by chance know which stores might carry the Giro Scamp helmet for my toddler? I figured I would have to take my 10 year old to an actual bike shop or sporting goods store. I was hoping to not spend too much on a helmet for my kids, but their little heads are precious…it’s definitely worth the extra $ for the right helmet. Thanks again for your advise.

        • Glad to help. The Scamp is one of their higher-end kids models, so it is more likely to be found at a bike store or at REI. Some sporting goods stores may carry Giro, but may only carry their lower-end Me2 model. I would call around first to check.

  • anon

    I’m looking for a helmet for my 2-y-o son (head circumference 50 cm) for use with a balance bike. I’m trying to decide between the Bontranger Solstice Youth, the Bontranger Big Dipper and a Crazy Safety helmet. Do you have a preference among those three (or another suggestion entirely)? I know he would like the looks of the Crazy Safety helmet, but I do wonder if it would be too hot on his head. We live in a fairly temperate area but summers can get hot. Not a lot of bike stores around here, so we will probably need to buy online as opposed to trying them on first. Thanks.

    • Good timing, I am currently working on finishing up my review of the new Giro Scamp and I love it! It is in-mold construction, with dial-adjust and has been a great fit for my 3yo with a smaller head. The small has a range of 49-53 cm, so it will certainly fit. You can also find it on Amazon with MIPS and non-MIPS. You can learn more about MIPS here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJb3LIupM2A. Here is it on Amazon, http://amzn.to/1NfnkSc (with MIPS) and http://amzn.to/1NfnmK3 without. The Bontrager helmets would be comparable to the Scamp without MIPS while the Crazy Safety is not as good quality.

  • Misha Harrigan

    Hello, I was wondering what your reservations are with the Bell Fraction helmet? My 4 year old currently uses it when she rides her balance bike, and I’m wondering if there’s any reason we need to switch her to something else. Thanks.

    • As long as the helmet fits properly, there is no reason to switch. My main reservation is the weight and the lack of dial-adjust in the helmet, which in combination, makes the helmet more likely to flop around on a child’s head. If a helmet is out of place, it is less likely to protect in the event of a fall, but if the Fraction stays in place, then there is no need to change, it will protect her just fine.

  • Regan

    Hello! I was wondering if I could use the same helmet for a balance bike and a scooter. My daughter is 2.5. I was looking at a NutCase.

    • Yes, you can, just make sure you get a dual-certified helmet, such as the Nutcase, and you’ll be good to go!

  • Julie E

    Hello! I am looking for something for my three year old to use with a balance bike. He is a big three-year-old, with head circumference of about 21 inches when I measure just above the eyebrow. I just bought the Giro Dime with MIPS and then realized it only came in the “one size” option. Is this going to be okay for my son? Or should I send it back? If I need to send it back, do you have any other recommendations? We live in North Carolina, which is a very hot climate in summer. Thanks so much.

    • Size wise the helmet will fit him. It is a larger helmet, but since your son is a bigger guy, it should fit just fine. My own reservation would be that is may be a little sweaty for him during the summer. If you wanted a helmet with more ventilation, but still with MIPS I would go for the Sidetrack Youth, http://amzn.to/1Rw38jl.

  • Amy Douglass

    Have you reviewed the Bell Sidetrack Youth? Looking at the MIPS one for my just turned 4 yr old. She has a Bontrager Big Dipper and it is getting kind of tight on her at 51.5cm. She just got a scooter last week too. We don’t need a skater style helmet for that do we? She complained a lot about how hot her helmet was last summer. Do you think pony tails would be an issue with the Bell helmet? Thanks for your help.

  • Kathy

    I’m looking for a helmet to use with a bike trailer. I have the Thule Chinook 2, which seems to just have padding behind the head, not a pocket for a helmet. My daughter is almost 2, but she has a small head @44-45 cm. I’ve tried the Giro Scamp, but it really doesn’t seem flattened in the back. The seat pushes the helmet forward and she puts her hand on the helmet to steady it during the ride. I’ve just picked up a Specialized Small Fry, but just from looking at the helmet, it doesn’t seem to be much lower profile in the back than the Scamp. She’s so uncomfortable from wearing the Giro Scamp that she doesn’t want to be out on bike rides and wants to go home. Does anyone have personal experience with a helmet good for small heads that is good for rides in bike trailers?

    • Unfortunately, there really aren’t any other helmets that have a lower profile than those you already tested. The back of the helmets cannot get much thinner than those and still provide adequate protection from an impact. Since the Chinook is design to be used primarily as a stroller, it does have extra padding around the head as compared to other Thule trailers. Have you removed the side head supports?

  • Kate

    Hi there!
    My tall, almost 3 year old, woom-riding, daughter has a large head for her age at 51.5 cm. We have a Giro Rodeo that fits circumference wise but is starting to lack coverage and fit too high so we want to upgrade. We think we like the Nutcase helmets because we ride year round and they’d be warmer in winter but at 51.5 cm, we’d likely have to go with the Street size S. Would you recommend that helmet for a 3 year old or should we go with something different?

    • The Nutcase Street is going to be big and heavy on a three-year old, but still doable. One of my son’s has always had a big head and wearing a Nutcase at age three and did just fine with it, but once we got him a lighter helmet that fit him, he refused to wear the Nutcase. If your daughter is in the higher percentiles for her age and has good muscle tone, then she should do fine with the Nutcase, if not, I would really try to look for a helmet that is at least youth sized, such as the Bell Sidetrack Youth.

  • Amy Douglass

    Hi, I have twin 4 year old girls with heads 51″ and 51.75″. We have Bontrager Big Dippers from last year that are getting small. I bought the girl with the bigger head the melon for this summer but it’s a little big still. The circumference seems fine but the cushion on the chin strap ends up on the side when the strap is tightened and the buckle is under her chin. Now I need to buy 2 helmets for them to send to Grandma’s house. I don’t want to spend as much as the ones we use at home but I do want them to last a few years since we will only use them a couple times a year. Was thinking of the Giro Raze or Rodeo. Would either of these work? Anything else less spendy that you would suggest?

    • I would go with the Raze. You can find them for less than $35, so they are reasonably priced without being too cheap. On the two Raze helmets we tested, the plastic snaps that hold the visors on broke, but a little tape did the trick. Since they won’t be used that much, I wouldn’t worry about that being an issue.

  • MaraNatha

    What about the Lazer Max? I have a three and a half year old and I was looking at Lazer products and came across it. Is it as good as the other Lazer products in your charts?

    • The Max is a great helmet, not as high-end as the P’nut and bigger than the BOB (which is made for young toddlers). For a 3.5yo it should be a great helmet.

  • emily

    I’m having a hard time deciding between the Lazer P’nutz, Lazer Nutz, Giro Scamp, and Giro Raze for my daughter. She’s 16 months old and has a really large head (19.5 inches/49 cm), so I’m not sure exactly what size would be more appropriate and likely to last through the Summer. Lastly, I’m not sure if you’d recommend the MIPS or non-MIPS version of whichever you think would be most appropriate?
    Thanks so much for your help! I LOVE your website and appreciate all the research and comprehensive posts you put up!
    Best,
    Emily

    • Thanks and glad to help. Being 16 months, I assume she is going to be in a trailer or a bike seat, so you are going to want to helmet with a flat back. Between those you listed, the Scamp has the flattest back. As for MIPS or non-MIPS, I am a huge fan of MIPS, but the anchors in the helmet have cause issued with girls hair. If you daughter has longer hair, then I would go for non-MIPS as the MIPS has the potential to pull her hair when taking it off, which would make it harder to convince her to put it back on.

  • Cameron Gillaspie

    Hello there. I have a 21 mo old with an average head but short stature. Looking for best helmet for trailer/seat rides. Hoping to get him a balance bike for his 2nd birthday… Anyway.. Struggling to decide if I get the best of both worlds with a giro scamp or something more flat for the rides. I don’t particularly like the bulk and lack of venting on the baby nutty… Wondering more about the specialized small fry and the lazor bob vs giro scamp with MIPS. I should mention he is still rocking a baby mullet, despite everyone’s insistence I cut it!! Lol
    I also like the features of the Lazer Pnut but worry again about his comfort during rides. Ho hum. Any advice appreciated. Your website has been my lifesaver for all things kids and biking. Love it! Thank you!!

    • Love live the baby mullet :). Once that hair is gone, it is gone, so I’m with you on that one! For the helmet, I certainly wouldn’t go with the PNut for trailers as it is larger in the rear. I also agree with you on the Baby Nutty, it is a pretty sweaty helmet. As for the others you mentioned, I would go with the Giro Scamp as it has been an awesome helmet from day one for all ages. The BOB is a good helmet as well, but it won’t be as durable as the Scamp as it is a hardshell vs. in-mold helmet (i.e. it has that plastic covering that brakes easily). The Small fry is also a great helmet, in fact, if you have a local bike shop that carries Specialized, they will probably carry Giro as well, so you would hopefully be able to try both of them on to see which fits best.

  • Tessah Richardson

    Hello, I have to start by saying I love your website, such helpful information in one place. Makes research so much easier. My issue is I’m not sure which one would ultimately be the best option for my son. He is 20months and has a larger head (19.5in/49.5cm). I am looking to the bike seat, so I know he needs a flat back helmet. I’m looking at the Lazer P’Nut MIPS & no MIPS (which is better MIPS or no MIPS), the Specialized Small Fry Toddler, or the Bern Nina/Nino (XS). We live in ND so it does get cold, but am primarily only riding in the warmer months. Appreciate your advice/feedback. Thank you!

    • Thanks, glad to help! Of those you mentioned, I would go with the Specialized Small Fry or the Bern. The rear of the P-Nut sticks out more than the other two. Another option to consider is the Giro Scamp. As for MIPS, if it is in your budget I would go for it. Studies have found that is can make a big difference in protecting the neck during a fall, plus, as far as I know, there really isn’t a downside to MIPS helmets. Being in ND though, the Bern is also one to consider since you can use it as a skiing/sledding helmet in the winter. They sell winter liners you can swap out with the lightweight summer liner that comes with the helmet.

      • Tessah Richardson

        Thank you very much for your feedback! You have been very helpful.

  • Emily Mabry

    Hi, love your site! I’m wondering if you could make a recommendation for our situation:

    We recently got a TykeToter and LOVE IT! My son begs to ride every day now. He’s 3.5 and his HC is currently about 48.5-49cm. We have a Lil’ 8 which we like the simple style and fit of, but my son complains that it’s a little heavy and bulky when we go on our rides (perfect for scootering though). My main concern is that when he rides with me, he’s up higher and going much faster. I’d like to get him a really good safe helmet. What would you recommend?

    • I have heard so many people rave about the TykeToter, but I have never had a chance to use it! My only concern is the lack of straps of any sort, have you even had an concerns with your son accidentally loosing his balance on the seat. I haven’t heard of any safety issues with it, but the momma bear side of me has hesitation so I would love to hear more about it!

      As for helmets, the Lil’8 is really heavy and bulky, especially for riding. With his HC, I would look at the Giro Scamp with MIPS. It was a great fit for our testers and my son, who is very picky with helmets, loves it. It also isn’t as bulky up top as the Lil’ 8, so it should provide some more room for you.

      • Emily Mabry

        Thanks for the reply! The Giro Scamp with MIPS is the direction I was leaning, so that’s great! The TykeToter is so fun! I actually like the fact it doesn’t have straps since it’s easier to get him on and off without them. He has never gotten close to losing his balance – the seat is fairly wide for his bottom and he holds on and feels secure. Plus my legs and arms are around him so even if he did start to lean one way or the other, I’d be able to move him back to position easily without compromising my own balance. The only concern I have with it is the foot peg… I don’t have much clearance on my bike so the chances of his foot slipping down into the wheel or hitting his foot during a turn bothered me. I modified the foot peg adding some cheap pedal clips to it with superglue and sugru. This gives his little feet just enough stabilization to stop them from slipping into the wheel or bouncing off the peg on our bumpy roads. He still knows (and I stress every ride) to hold on and keep his feet still.

        • Thanks for the feedback. Now that you have explained it, I can see how it would be easily to tell if they lost their balance and be able to help them. Clever upgrade to the footrest as well. It’s amazing how fast a child’s foot can slip. Nice work!

  • Jen Tang

    Hi, I was wondering about the safety difference between the helmets with MIPS and those that don’t such as the Melon. I am leaning between the Lazer Nutz with MIPS and the Melon so would appreciate your thoughts. I have two active 4yo boys. Thanks!

    • I have yet to see any downsides to MIPS (well besides price), so I am all for MIPS if the helmet fits correctly. We have used both helmets you mentioned extensively over the years and have loved both of them. All in all, I do like the Nutz better simply because it offer much better venting as compared to the Melon, which gets sweaty pretty easily.

  • Robin

    2.5 year old boy, head circ about 20″. What’s the best helmet for scooter use right now? Also, he doesn’t have a balance bike now but will likely get one in the fall. I’m open to getting a separate helmet at that point or a dual use one now. What’s your recommendation for which way to go, and for corresponding helmet for that scenario. thanks so much

    • Essentially any properly fitting bike helmet would work, but if he plans on riding at skate parks or if he is prone to falling, I would get a helmet that is dual certified for both skating and biking. Bell, Giro and Nutcase all make skater helmets, that have a hard outer shell that protect the foam from multiple hits. While great, these helmets are much heavier than traditional bike helmets and offer less ventilation. If you don’t plan on riding at skate park, then I would go for a more traditional helmet such as the Giro Scamp.

      • Robin

        Thanks! Yeah, he’s not that adventurous so I’m imagining just normal tumbles. Thoughts on the Scamp vs Scamp with MIPS (which I wish had more color/pattern choices…). And you like the Scamp better than the Little Nutty (too heavy/sweaty?)?

        • Unless your son has longer hair, I haven’t found any downsides to the MIPS helmet, so if it is in your budget, I would go for it (long hair can get stuck in the MIPS anchors). Compared to the Nutcase, the Scamp is much lighter and offers a lot more airflow, so it will be less sweaty. In fact, my daughter loves her Nutcase, but seeing as it has been in the 90’s we are buying her another helmet to use simply because she sweats like crazy it in!

  • Mel D

    Hi Natalie. I saw that you recommended the Giro Scamp over the Lazer Nut’z for a 2 year old toddler (HC 49.2″). Would you recommend it over the Uvex Hero as well?

    • The Hero is a very shallow helmet, so for longer heads (top to bottom), I would go with the Scamp, but for average or shorter sized heads I would go with the Scamp w/ MIPS for boys and the Hero for girls or the Scamp w/o MIPS as longer hair tends to get stuck in the MIPS anchors.

  • Jill

    Hi, love your site – great research and advice! I was hoping you could help with a helmet question. I have read through all your review pages and many of the comments, but I still can’t decide. My son is 12 months with a head circumference of 47 cm (18.5″). Looking for a helmet for bike seat use this year and hopefully transitioning to a balance bike next year. We live in NH so it gets hot in the summer but not excessively so. Based on your reviews it seems like the Nutcase Baby Nutty, Giro Scamp, and Bern Nino have the lowest profiles / flattest backs and are therefore more conducive to bike seat use. I was leaning toward the Giro Scamp with MIPS based on your positive review and the fact that it would be lighter and cooler, but then I noticed that you recommend a helmet certified for ages 1+ if the toddler is young, plus his current head size is right in the middle of the Scamps size range, so he probably wouldn’t get as much life out of it as he would the other two. I like that the Bern Nino has a winter liner option (since it does get cold here), but that one is heavier and also only certified for 5+. So it seems like the Baby Nutty is probably the best option? Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide!

    • Jill

      Actually, I realized that the Bern Nino might be a little big still. I noticed that your chart above says 46-51 cm for the XS, but according to Bern’s website it is actually 48-51.5 cm (18.9-20.3″). When I measured his head I was getting anywhere from 18.5 to 18.75″. Too bad…we were leaning more towards the Bern now because we thought we could get more use out of it with the winter liner and larger max size. Plus we like the look and available colors much better, but I know that is the least important factor :).

      • First, thanks for giving me the heads up on the Bern, I will try to get that fixed. At just 12 months, I agree that the Baby Nutty is your best option. Being smaller and lighter, as well as having a flat back, it will be the most comfortable for him. The good/bad news, is that he will likely outgrow the Baby Nutty within a year or two, which would allow you to get the Bern. By then, his neck muscles will be stronger, so he will likely be much more comfortable wearing the heavier Bern.

  • christin

    Any recommendations for full face helmets? Our 2 year old is absolutely cruising on his bike, has started going to the BMX track and rides the pump track and rolls all the local dirt jumps. He has scraped his face a few times with crashes and I am just wondering if it is time to look at some full face helmets to protect that cute little mug of his? thoughts? Have looked at the fox youth v1 and the bell but hard to find info on them. Thanks!

    • If he is cruising the pump track, I would invest in a full face helmet. The main problem with full-face helmets is that turn little toddlers into bobble heads! The Bell Shield, however, is much lighter than the standard full-face helmets and gets great reviews, http://amzn.to/2aDPig2. The Shield (or I believe the latest version is called the Ramble, http://www.bellhelmets.com/cycling/helmets/kids/ramble), is very much an entry level full-face helmet while the Fox v1 is much more advanced and much heavier as a result. For a 2yo, I would go with the Bell for now and then upgrade later once he gets more advanced.

  • Suzanne

    I’m so confused. My 4yo has a 52.5cm head circum. He just outgrew his Bell Segment XS helmet (or maybe he did a while ago and I’ve been cramming it on his head?). I like the shape of that helmet and how it wraps around the bottom of his head. But I would prefer something with a turn dial adjustment. Can you help me choose?

    • Helmets can be funny to size, my son wore a helmet well past the recommended size range without me even realizing it! If you like the Bell Segment, you are going to want to look for a skater style helmet. The Melon helmets are skater style with dial adjust and are great for biking, lighter weight than traditional skater helmets, but they are not certified to be used for skating like the others. Nutcase is another great option with a dial, they are heavier than Melon’s, but they are dual-certified for skating.

      • Suzanne

        After looking through your charts, I really like the price and look of the Bell Sidetrack but I am confused on which size to order for him. The child size looks like it adjusts to 54cm while the youth range is 50-57cm. I want him to have room to grow but I don’t want it to be huge on him. Which size would you order? I have no idea how quickly he would outgrow the 54cm if he is already at 52.5. Thoughts?

        • This sounds weird, but it depends on the size of his head proportion wise. The child helmet is smaller than the youth, like preschool size versus grade school sized. One of my kids had a huge head and had to wear youth helmets, but he was robust enough to be able to handle the additional size without looking like a bobble head. Another one of kids was always on the petite side and being age 4 now, fits in child and youth helmets, but looks like a bobble head in youth and much prefers the smaller child helmets. In terms of size, if he has 2cm to grow, that should get him a year or two, but with kids you can never be sure!

  • Ernest

    My daughter is outgrowing her 48-52 cm Disney Princess helmet and needs something for balance biking around the neighborhood. We are in New Orleans, so ventilation is key. I am considering the Giro Raze Kids and the Bell Sidetrack Youth with or without MIPS. Do all MIPS helmets have problems with long hair? Any specific recommendations? Thank you.

    • All MIPS helmets are going to have problems with longer hair as they all use the same anchors. They are also going have less ventilation as the plastic MIPS liner hold in moisture more than the helmets without. Right now my daughter loves the ventilation her Raze has, so I would certainly consider it. The Sidetrack youth is a great looking helmet, but it is not going to have as much ventilation as the Raze.

  • Ann

    Thank you for such an awesome comparison chart and website! I am looking for a new helmet for my 5 yr old but we are also in the market for a skate boarding helmet. Do you have any recommendation for one that would be exceptional at both? I have read somewhere that skateboarding helmets are not be used as bicycle helmets but i’m not sure if it’s the same vice versa. It would be awesome if we could find one that could do both but don’t want to sacrifice the quality of helmet. Thank you in advance!

    • There certainly are difference you should be aware of. There are different types of certifications for skateboarding and bicycling helmets. A helmet certified for one, isn’t necessarily certified for the other. As a result, you will need a dual-certified helmet, which is certified for both sports. On the chart, the column labeled “dual cert” will let you know if they are compatible for both or not.

  • Cristina

    Hello, we got our daughter a strider bike for her 2nd bday, which will be in the next week. We also purchased the giro scamp (xs) helmet for her. I’m including a picture of her with the helmet, I’m not sure if its suppose to look like that or is it to small on her?

    • Either the helmet is too small or it isn’t adjusted properly. The front bottom edge of the helmet should be about mid forehead. I would remove the helmet, adjust the dial as large as it will go and then place it again on her head. If it does not slide on easily, then it is too small. If it does, then slowly tighten the dial-adjust until you get feel slight tension.

      • Cristina

        Thank you so much for the help, I adjusted the helmet using the dial and it now fits as you mention. Mid forehead, v forms on the side for her ears, I did have to tighten a little bit the dial because it was a little loose on her. She likes wearing the helmet, your site really help figure me out which one to get, there’s so many options out there, I didn’t know which one to get. Many thanks again!!

        • Yeah! Glad to hear that it fits and glad to help!

  • Robbi

    Thank you so much for the great informative website. We bought a Giro Me2 2 years ago for our now almost 4 year-old. It still seems to fit, but he will outgrow it soon so I am thinking of getting him a new one and possibly using this for our 15 month-old. However, I don’t see the Me2 on your chart. Is it not a recommended helmet?

    • Ahh, sorry I missed your comment! The GiroMe2 is a great helmet, no worries, but they no longer manufacture that model, so I removed it from the list.

  • brigadoon0

    My 2-year old son has horizontal head circumference of about 19.5 to 20 inches and vertical head circumference (top to chin) of about 22 inches. I was deciding between the Lazer Nutz and Uvex Hero. But I bought him a Uvex Hero 2016 due to the supposedly lightweight. When I received the Uvex Hero helemt, the label inside the helmet said the weight was 290g and fitted 49-54cm. So it is not as light as we thought. My son didn’t like to put on the helmet. When I managed to put it on, the Uvex Hero rode a little high on his head. Do you think that I can keep the Uvex Hero? Or, should I go with the Lazer Nutz or some other helmet? Thanks for your help.

    • Wow, I will have to look into the changes on the Hero, thanks for letting me know! If the Hero doesn’t fit properly (and it sounds like it doesn’t) I would return it and try out the Nutz. Every kid’s head is different and helmets certainly aren’t one size fits all. I have had some testers who prefer the fit of the Hero and some who prefer the fit of the Nutz.