Kids bike helmets are not cute accessories; they are safety equipment that provides essential life-saving protection for kids. Over the past 10 years, we have put over 70 bike helmets to the test to help you find the best! Throughout the process, we found some real winners as well as some that should be avoided.
After looking at everything from comfort level and ease of use, to performance and quality of construction, here are our top 10 helmets for general bike riding for kids. All of these helmets can be worn by boys and girls, and are offered in a variety of colors and designs. And remember – a helmet can’t protect your child’s head if it doesn’t fit well, so double check sizing before purchase!
If you have a child with a small head, check out 10 Best Bike Helmets for Babies and Toddlers.
Our Favorite Bike Helmets for Kids
|Kids Helmet||Why We Love It||MSRP|
|Giro Scamp (MIPS)||Best All-Around (Young Kids)||$35 ($55)|
|Joovy Noodle||Best Bang for Your Buck||$30|
|Kali Chakra Youth||Crash Replacement Guarantee||$40|
|Giro Hale MIPS||Best True Cycling||$60|
|Mountain Bike Style|
|Giro Tremor MIPS||Best All-Around (Older Kids)||$65|
|Lazer Gekko (MIPS)||Easiest to Get a Great Fit||$50 ($60)|
|Smith Wilder Jr or Zip Jr||Highly adjustable fit system||$75|
|Nutcase Little Nutty MIPS||Dual Certified, MIPS||$69|
|Hornit Mini Lid||Budget Friendly, Cute Patterns||$39|
|Thousand Jr.||Dual Certified, Retro Cool||$60|
Kids Bike Helmets – Details and Descriptions
Best Overall – Young Kids
MSRP: $40 (without MIPS), $60 (with MIPS)
SIZES: XS (45 – 49 cm), S (49 – 53 cm)
FEATURES: Flat back for trailer or bike seat use, in-mold construction, dial-adjust fit, built-in visor, pinch-guard buckle, and optional MIPS technology
FULL REVIEW: Giro Scamp
The Scamp is an exceptional kids bike helmet at a very reasonable price. Lightweight with a dial-adjust system and built with optional MIPS technology, the Scamp doesn’t have any extra bells and whistles, but its simplicity makes it easy to use and easy on the wallet.
With just a $60 price tag for the Scamp with MIPS, it’s one of the most reasonably priced MIPS helmets available. From a kid perspective, it’s consistently been one of our testers’ favorites because it’s so lightweight and comfortable. From a parent perspective, it offers incredible quality and great coverage. The Scamp is a win-win!
Best Bang for Your Buck
SIZES: XS/S (47 – 52 cm), S/M (52 – 56 cm)
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit system, fun colors, great ventilation, lightweight, exceptional padding
FULL REVIEW: Joovy Noodle
Joovy Noodle helmets are the perfect mid-range helmet – offering great features at a great price. While not as high-end as the Giro or Bell helmets on our list, the Joovy is heads above any helmet you’re going to pick up at Walmart. Regularly selling for $30, and often on sale for just $20, the Joovy Noodle is not only a bang for your buck, but also one of the lightest helmets on the market.
Heavy helmets often irritate kids, who then end up taking them off when parents aren’t looking. Our testers love the Noodle because you hardly feel that you’re wearing it! Parents love the Noodle because it offers great coverage and an easy-to-use dial-adjust system for a snug and accurate fit.
Crash Replacement Guarantee
SIZES: Youth (52 – 57 cm)
The Chakra does come in a smaller Child size, but it’s more narrow and is best suited for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
FEATURES: Lightweight, in-mold construction, dial-adjust fit, great ventilation, crash replacement guarantee
FULL REVIEW: Kali Chakra
With a crash replacement guarantee, you may never need to buy your child another helmet! But seriously, we’ve actually had a helmet replaced for free after a Kali Chakra prevented a pretty serious injury to one of our riders. It’s the real deal!
The Chakra is super lightweight, compact, has 21 large vents for superb ventilation, an easy dial-adjust system, and a built-in visor. The Kali Chakra is a kid and parent favorite!
Best True Cycling
ONE SIZE: Youth (50 – 57 cm)
FEATURES: Airflow channels and 22 vents for superior ventilation, high-quality and easy-to-use adjustment system, technical fabric on padding, upgraded MIPS system
FULL REVIEW: Giro Hale
The Giro Hale is an update and serious upgrade to Giro’s Raze youth helmet. Weighing in at just 247 grams and with 22 vents, the Hale is lightweight and boasts some serious ventilation for less sweat and a more comfortable ride. The high-quality technical material on the sealed internal pads also help keep your child’s head cool and dry(er).
The fit adjustment system is simplified and easy to use, and its upgraded MIPS system has less plastic for less head sweat. So what’s the difference between the Hale and the Tremor? While the are a few very minor differences, it’s really just about visual style!
Best Overall – Older Kids
ONE SIZE: Youth 50 – 57 cm, Child 47 – 53 cm
FEATURES: Rubber-grip dial-adjust knob, side straps that don’t need adjusting, higher-quality internal pads, in-mold construction, sturdy and removable visor, upgraded MIPS technology
FULL REVIEW: Giro Tremor
The Giro Tremor is everything a kids bike helmet should be – lightweight, well-ventilated, easy to adjust, and stays in place really well! Its high-quality fit and adjust system is simple to use – with a larger, rubber-grip dial-adjust knob that’s easier to turn, and soft side straps that don’t need adjusting, the Tremor makes fine-tuning a proper fit a breeze.
Giro also made comfort a high priority with internal pads that are made of top-notch technical material and air channels in the pads for less head sweat. To top it off, the MIPS model of the Tremor features an updated MIPS system that has less plastic for better air flow. And to top it off, those MIPS anchors are covered to prevent hair from snagging!
NOTE: The Youth size is only available with MIPS. The Child size is available with or without MIPS.
Easiest to Adjust
MSRP: $45 (non-MIPS) / $55 (MIPS)
SIZES: Lil’ Gekko (46 – 50 cm), Gekko (50 – 56 cm)
FEATURES: Autofit internal cage system, easy to use side buckle system, in-mold construction, great ventilation, optional MIPS
FULL REVIEW: Lazer Lil’ Gekko/Gekko Review
Lazer Lil’ Gekko and Gekko (same helmet, just different sizes) offer top-notch quality and performance, as well as Lazer’s unique AutoFit adjust-system. AutoFit takes the human error out of fitting the helmet to your child’s head – it automatically adjusts to every child’s head via an enclosed tension wire inside the helmet. No need to dial in the proper fit, the helmet auto-adjusts itself!
To prevent pinching, the buckle on the Gekko is placed on the side of the helmet, just below the ear, to allow parents to easily see the buckle when buckling to help prevent pinching. While many of Gekko’s designs are gender neutral, they also have really fun boys helmets and girls helmets.
Highly Adjustable Fit System
SIZE: Youth (48 – 52 cm), Adult S (51 – 55)
FEATURES: MIPS comes standard, in-mold construction, highly-adjustable fit system, available with our without a visor, locking side straps, tons of ventilation
FULL REVIEW: Smith Wilder Jr. and Zip Jr. Youth Bike Helmets
New on the scene as of fall 2021, Smith’s debut into youth bike helmets is a BIG success. The Smith Wilder Jr. and Zip Jr. are smaller versions of Smith’s adult helmets. They boast the same exceptional quality, same super cool styling, and same highly-adjustable fit system.
The Smith Wilder Jr. and Zip Jr. are identical helmets except that the Wilder comes with a visor, while the Zip doesn’t. It’s a purely stylistic choice! They also come in different colors, so that may sway your decision as well.
The standout feature of these kids helmets is the size adjustment system. It boasts two qualities that are usually only found on high-end adult helmets. The rear of the helmet has a plastic cage that cups the back of the head when the dial-adjust is tightened. This can produce a more snug fit.
Additionally, the dial adjust knob and cage can be shifted up or down so that the knob sits on the sweet spot on the back of the head for the most secure fit. Ideally, the knob should sit on the occipital bone for the best and most accurate fit. Most kids helmets cannot be adjusted to account for the unique position of that bone on your child’s unique head.
Dual-Certified, MIPS Comes Standard
SIZES: S (48 – 52cm), M (52 – 56 cm)
FEATURES: Dual-certified, dial-adjust fit, magnetic buckle, fun and funky designs, MIPS
FULL REVIEW: Nutcase Little Nutty
Super safe without sacrificing style, Nutcase kids bike helmets are dual-certified for use for biking, skateboarding or scootering. Although many helmets are skater-style, many are only certified for biking use. To truly protect a child during skateboarding, the helmet must be constructed differently to protect from the multiple falls and impacts experienced by skateboarders.
Nutcase helmets feature a dial-adjust fit, locking sliders, a magnetic buckle, and super fun and funky designs. While Nutcase helmets are great for boys or girls, there are a few particularly girly designs that are some of the most adorable girl bike helmets we’ve seen.
For other dual-certified options, check out our list of 9 Best Skateboard Helmets for Kids.
Dual-Certified, Retro Styling
ONE SIZE: 49 – 53 cm
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit, vegan leather straps, integrated visor, magnetic buckle, retro color options, sticker kit for decorating helmet
FULL REVIEW: Thousand Jr.
Who said a bike helmet couldn’t be safe and stylish? Fashion and function come together in the Thousand Jr and Thousand Heritage helmets. With a cool retro vibe, Thousand helmets are perfect for kids who want head protection as much as they want a fashion accessory!
The Thousand Jr. is specifically a kids helmet, but its size range is on the smaller end for younger kids. If you have an older child with a head circumference of at least 54 cm, the Thousand Heritage adult helmet in the small size could be a great option!
Thousand helmets distinguish themselves in the safety category for two reasons. First, they are dual-certified for skateboard and biking use. Second, they have integrated visors that will stay firmly in place and protect a child’s face in the event of a face-plant crash.
Skater-Style on a Budget
SIZE: Small: 48-53 cm, Medium: 54 – 58cm
FEATURES: Dial adjust fit system, integrated LED light on rear
FULL REVIEW: Hornit Mini Lid Review
If you’re in the market for an adorable skater-style helmet, but you don’t want to afford a Nutcase Little Nutty or Thousand Jr., the Hornit Mini Lid is for you!
This helmet actually saved our daughter’s head and face in a high-speed crash, so even though it’s budget-friendly, we can testify that it works when you really need it! (As long as it’s the right size and adjusted properly.) The upgraded 2021 dial adjust system kept that helmet firmly in place on her head, even upon impact.
It’s important to note that the Hornit Mini Lid is not ASTM certified for skateboard use. If your child will be biking and skateboarding, stick with the dual-certified Nutcase or Thousand. Additionally, we do NOT recommend the older Hornit Lid model that is still being sold on Amazon. Only purchase the 2021 helmet from the direct link included here.
Other Kids Bike Helmets to Consider
Not every helmet that we test can make our top 10 list. Here are some additional kids bike helmets that we’ve tested, reviewed, and happily recommend.
Mountain Bike Helmet
SIZES: 52 – 57 cm
FEATURES: Large vents for excellent ventilation, MIPS safety technology comes standard, sport-tech helmet pads to prevent sweat from dripping, and a dial-adjustment system for the perfect fit
FULL REVIEW: Nomad Jr. MIPS
With fantastic coverage and ventilation, this Nomad will keep your kid’s noggin’ safe while they shred in style. With 15 vents for plenty of airflow and a lengthy removable visor to block out the sun, the Nomad performs as great as it looks. Be aware that the Nomad is a bit narrower than other helmets, so if your child has a rounder head, the Giro Tremor might be a better fit.
MSRP: $50 (without MIPS), $70 (with MIPS)
SIZE: Youth (50 – 57 cm)
FEATURES: Ergo Fit dial-adjust system, in-mold construction, durable snap-in visor (removable), optional MIPS
Styled like an adult mountain bike helmet, the Bell Sidetrack Youth offers the safety features parents desire along with a sporty and modern design kids love. Built with durable, in-mold construction and a sturdy dial-adjust system, the Sidetrack is also well ventilated for comfort.
The Sidetrack is available with MIPS safety technology to minimize injuries from impacts at sharp angles, but is the most expensive MIPS helmet we recommend. For those who love the look of the Sidetrack but can’t afford the MIPS, it does come in a non-MIPS version for $20 less.
One downside to the Sidetrack II is that the visor comes off very easily. Don’t hold the helmet by the visor or your helmet will detach and fall to the ground.
ONE SIZE: 50 – 54 cm
FEATURES: Unique non-pinch ratcheting buckle, locking chin strap sliders, durable in-mold construction, optional LED flashing light attachment
FULL REVIEW: Uvex Quatro Junior
The Uvex Quatro is a well-designed, well-built helmet with lots of vents, but its unique ratcheting buckle is what really makes it shine! Having tested many different buckling systems, Uvex’s is the only buckle that we haven’t accidentally pinched a child with.
The size of the Quatro is also unique. Larger than most toddler helmets, but not as large as most youth helmets, the Quatro is the perfect fit for kids who need that rare in-between size. Its narrower fit range (just 4 cm of adjustability) allows the helmet to fit more securely, and is also less bulky on smaller heads as compared to most “youth” size helmets.
All Season Helmet, Optional MIPS
MSRP: $50 or $65 with MIPS
SIZE: Small: 52 – 55.5 cm, Medium: 55.5 – 59cm
FEATURES: Elastic self-adjust internal cage, removable visor, optional winter liner for all seasons
FULL REVIEW: Bern Kids Helmets (Nino 2.0)
The 2021 update on Bern’s popular Nino and Nina helmets, the Nino 2.0 features a unique self-adjust internal cage. The huge advantage of this cage is that it automatically adjusts to your child’s head – no worries about forgetting to adjust your child’s helmet before every ride!
If the Nino 2.0 fits your child’s head, this benefit is pretty spectacular. However, we found the Nino 2.0 to be less likely to fit heads than other helmets we use. We highly recommend giving it a try, but if it doesn’t fit, try the original Nino or Nina instead.
Kids Bike Helmets Comparison Chart
|Fits Heads||Weight||Adjustment System||Vents|
|45 – 53 cm||251 g||Dial||8||$35 ($55)||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|47 – 56 cm||226 g||Dial||14||No||Yes||Hardshell|
|Giro Dime||47 - 55 cm||420 g||Pads||8||$45/$65||Yes||No||Hardshell|
|Smith Wilder Jr||48. - 52 cm||270 g||Dial adjust||21||$75||Standard||Yes||In mold|
|Bern Nino/Nina||48 - 54.6 cm||363 g||Snap and hook||7||$40||No||Yes||Hardshell|
|48 - 60 cm||430 g||Dial||11||No||No||Hardshell|
|48 - 58 cm||Dial||22||No||No||Hardshell|
|GoTrax Skater Helmet||48 - 59 cm||Dial||11||$20||No||No||Hardshell|
|Hornit Mini Lid||48 - 58 cm||360 g||Dial||11||$39||No||No||Hardshell|
|Thousand Jr.||49 - 53 cm||390 g||Dial||6||$60||No||Yes||Hardshell|
|Bell Span||49 - 55 cm||433 g||Dial||10||No||No||Hardshell|
|Raskullz Helmet||50 - 54 cm||363 g||None - don't buy!||8||$25||No||No||Hardshell|
|50 - 57 cm||247 g||Dial||22||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|50 – 57 cm||306 g||Dial||18||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|Uvex Quatro Junior||50 - 54 cm||265 g||Dial||10||$60||No||Yes||In-mold|
|50 - 57 cm||276 g||Dial||14||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|Lazer Gekko||50 - 56 cm||300 g||Dial||14||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|52 - 57 cm||208 g||Dial||21||No||Yes||In-mold|
|52 - 57 cm||370 g||Dial||13||Standard||Yes||In-mold|
|Lazer J1||52 - 57 cm||295 g||Dial||15||No||Yes||In-mold|
|Giro Fixture||54 - 61 cm||320 g||Dial||18||$65||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
How to Choose the Best Kids Helmet for your 5 to 12-year-old
For a more detailed discussion about how to choose and fit the perfect kid’s bike helmet, check out our post: Kids’ Bike Helmets Sizing and Buying Guide. If you’re looking for something quick, here’s a short summary of the most important things to look for to find the best helmet for girls and boys approximately 5 to 12-years-old.
Size – Circumference in King!
If a child’s bike helmet doesn’t fit, it’s not going to help protect their head in the event of a crash! Kids helmet sizes come in ranges that represent the circumference of your child’s head. For example, a helmet with a size range of 52 – 57 cm fits kids with a head circumference in that range.
That said, kids helmet sizing can actually be a bit tricky because everyone’s head isn’t shaped the same. Some kids have wide heads, others narrow. Some helmets are wider, while others are more narrow. So even if your child’s head circumference fits within a helmet’s range, if your child’s head is wide and the helmet is narrow, it might not fit.
In general, skater-style helmets are rounder all the way around and are a more sure bet for kids with wide heads.
Weight – Lighter is Better for Kids Helmets
The lighter the helmet the better. Wearing a heavy helmet can get tiring over time and can make it more likely for a child to refuse to wear a helmet. As a child gets older this is less important because their neck muscles are stronger, but younger kids definitely resist wearing heavy helmets.
Adjustability – Dial Adjust for a Perfect Fit
Once you find the right size helmet, it can still be tricky to get it adjusted correctly so that it stays snuggly on your child’s head. But a helmet with a proper fit is a necessity for kids bike safety!
The easiest helmets to adjust for a perfect fit have a dial-adjust system at the back of the helmet that makes the helmet’s inner cage larger or smaller to cradle your child’s head.
Other (cheaper) kids helmets have pads of varying thickness that you swap out to get the right fit, or no adjustment system at all! These helmets generally don’t fit as accurately, and over time you have to swap the pads out as your child’s head grows. Hopefully you can find those pads when the time comes!
Buckle – Standard vs. Magnetic
Most helmets come with standard buckles that can pinch a child’s neck when buckling or un-buckling. Higher-end helmets now feature magnetic “pinch-free” buckles. While more expensive, they are worth the price if you can afford it.
MIPS – Multi-Directional Protective System
MIPS is a newer technology that adds an additional layer of safety to a helmet. If an impact occurs, a plastic inner cage rotates with your child’s head to provide better multi-directional impact protection. MIPS helmets are more expensive but are becoming very common. You can read all about the science behind MIPS on their website.
To be fair, there are some that don’t believe MIPS adds as much safety as it claims. Those opposing arguments are nicely summed up on helmets.org.
Bike vs. Multi-Sport Kids Helmets
Most bike helmets are only certified for biking use. (This also includes using a scooter.) If your child is going to be skateboarding as well, they need a dual certified helmet that is designed to protect from impacts from crashes while biking or skateboarding.
Not all helmets that are skateboard-style are actually dual certified. A dual certified helmet will have stickers on its interior that say CPSC and ASTM.
Girls Bike Helmets vs. Boys Bike Helmets
Is there such a thing as a girls bike helmet or a boys bike helmet? Nope. It all comes down to colors and patterns. Most helmet manufacturers are pretty savvy and create designs ranging from super girl (unicorns, rainbows, etc.) to super boyish (super heros, trucks, dinos), and lots of gender neutral options in-between. Choose the kids helmet that’s best for your child first, and then they’re almost certain to have a color or pattern your child will love.
Related Kids Bike Helmets Articles
Kids’ Helmet Sizes Guide: Don’t buy the wrong size helmet! Just follow our easy guide.
10 Best Helmets for Babies and Toddlers: Need a smaller size? Try our list for the littlest noggins.
22 Fun Kids Bike Accessories: For more ideas for kids protective gear and unique accessories for bikes.