Kids bike helmets are not cute accessories; they are safety equipment that provides essential life-saving protection for kids. Over the past 12 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)||$55 ($70)|
|Joovy Noodle||Best Bang for Your Buck||$35|
|woom KIDS helmet||Exceptional Coverage and Fit||$69|
|Giro Hale MIPS||Best True Cycling||$70|
|Mountain Bike Style|
|Giro Fixture MIPS||Best All-Around (Older Kids)||$70|
|Smith Convoy MIPS||Highly adjustable fit system||$85|
|Kali Maya Full Face||Full Face, chin bar can be removed||$140|
|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: $55 (without MIPS), $70 (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, and optional MIPS technology
FULL REVIEW: Giro Scamp
The Scamp is an exceptional kids bike helmet that we’ve used with our own kids for many years. 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 easier on the wallet.
The Scamp is offered at two different price points that cater to families with different budgets. The $70 price tag will get you added MIPS brain safety technology, while for $55 you can opt out of MIPS.
From a kid perspective, the Scamp has consistently been one of our testers’ favorites because it’s so lightweight and comfortable. From a sizing perspective, keep in mind that the Scamp is one of the shallower helmets on the market, so if your child has a tall forehead, the deeper Giro Tremor may be a better bet.
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 woom 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.
Exceptional Coverage and Fit
SIZES: XS (46 – 50cm), S (50 – 53 cm), M (53 – 56 cm)
FEATURES: Extended coverage, great ventilation, sewn in chin straps, rubber visor/bumper, magnetic Fidlock buckle
FULL REVIEW: woom Helmet Review
The woom KIDS helmet stands out from the crowd by offering exceptional coverage, fit, and ease-of-use. When designing this helmet, woom focused on a major problem with most bike helmets – improper and inconsistent fit. Due to natural differences in head shape, many helmets slide forward or back on a child’s head during use, which minimizes the helmet’s effectiveness in the event of a crash.
To combat poor fit, woom designed its helmet to be deeper with extended coverage – to physically prevent the helmet from sliding around on a child’s head. To keep the helmet level, the chin straps of the woom are sewn into place (versus using a standard plastic slider that never stays in place), which also aids in helping the helmet stay put!
To round off its safety resume, the woom kids helmet has a thick, rubberized visor/bumper to help protect the face and nose during a crash.
Best True Cycling Helmet
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
**Note: The Fixture II is also available in a “Universal Women’s” size which is the same helmet with the same sizing as the “Youth” helmet, but in different colors. The Amazon listing combines the Women’s/Youth helmets together.**
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
The Giro Fixture II 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 adjustment 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 Fixture II makes fine-tuning a proper fit a breeze.
Giro 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 Fixture II features the MIPS brain protection system for additional peace of mind. The MIPS anchors are covered to prevent long hair from getting caught on them.
The Fixture II Youth helmet replaces the now discontinued Giro Tremor Youth helmet.
NOTE: The fixed side straps make getting a proper fit easier for most of our kid testers. However, the inability to tighten these side straps has been problematic for some kids.
Highly Adjustable Fit System
SIZE: Adult S (51 – 55 cm), Adult M (55-59 cm)
FEATURES: Fit system has many points of adjustability, MIPS is standard, high-quality in-mold construction, locking side straps, great padding and ventilation
FULL REVIEW: Smith Youth Bike Helmets
When Smith came out a few years ago with their first kids bike helmet (Wilder Jr.), we fell in love instantly. So we were stoked to realize that their adult Convoy helmet was the same exact helmet with a different name and in bigger sizes that would fit more kids.
Two of our kid bike testers wear the small Smith Convoy as their helmet of choice. They prefer the Convoy because of its adult MTB styling, outstanding ventilation, and very comfortable fit.
As parents, we love its exceptional quality and how well it stays on our kids’ heads. In our experience (we’ve tested over 70 helmets!), the Smith Convoy stays put better than most, allowing the helmet to be in the best position for protecting noggins should a crash occur.
Several points of adjustment allow you to fine-tune the fit for your child, but the most unique is the design of the rear dial adjust and full cage that tighten snuggly against the back of your child’s head. The entire cage can be shifted up or down so that the dial adjust knob rests right on the occipital bone.
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 (Thousand Jr), 54 – 57 cm (Thousand Heritage Small)
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit, 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 meant 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.
Removable Chin Bar and Quad Core Protection System
ONE SIZE: 50 – 54 cm
FEATURES: Dial adjust fit system, Quad Core (similar to MIPS), removable chin bar, adjustable visor
Full face helmets for kids can be tricky. With all that extra coverage, they are often much heavier and much hotter than a traditional bike helmet. The Kali Maya full face child is both lightweight and more airy, which make it more comfortable and more likely that your kid will want to wear it!
The Maya is a 2-in-1, durable, high-quality helmet that has a removable chin bar – wear it as a regular helmet for more casual riding, or as a full face for more technical terrain (cross-country MTB, skate parks, pump tracks, etc).
Keep in mind that for aggressive downhill riding, you should consider a full face helmet with the ASTM 1952 DH (downhill) rating. Like many full face helmets, the Maya is NOT rated for DH. Its visor is adjustable up and down by simply turning a small knob.
For increased brain safety, the Kali Maya kids full face helmet features Quad Core Low Density Layer (LDL). LDL is Kali’s take on the more well-known MIPS brain safety system. Per Kali’s website, LDL “reduces rotational impact forces up to 25%, and reduced low-g linear forces up to 30%.”
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.
MSRP: $60 (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 $10 – 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.
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
|Brand||MSRP||Fits Heads||Weight||Adjust System||Vent||Optional MIPS||Visor||Build|
|$55 ($70)||45 – 53 cm||251 g||Dial||8||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|47 – 56 cm||226 g||Dial||14||No||Yes||Hardshell|
|Giro Dime||$50||47 - 55 cm||420 g||Pads||8||Yes||No||Hardshell|
|Smith Wilder Jr||$75||48. - 52 cm||270 g||Dial adjust||21||Standard||Yes||In mold|
|Bern Nino/Nina||$40||48 - 54.6 cm||363 g||Snap and hook||7||No||Yes||Hardshell|
|Nutcase Little Nutty||$69||48 - 60 cm||430 g||Dial||11||No||No||Hardshell|
|Hornit Mini Lid||$39||48 - 58 cm||360 g||Dial||11||No||No||Hardshell|
|Strider Full Face||$89||48 - 58 cm||Dial||No||Yes||In-mold|
|Thousand Jr.||$60||49 - 53 cm||390 g||Dial||6||No||Yes||Hardshell|
|Bell Span||49 - 55 cm||433 g||Dial||10||No||No||Hardshell|
|Kali Maya Full Face Child||$140||50 - 54 cm||Dial||LDL||Yes||In-mold|
|Raskullz Helmet||$25||50 - 54 cm||363 g||None - don't buy!||8||No||No||Hardshell|
|50 - 57 cm||247 g||Dial||22||Standard||Yes||In-mold|
|Giro Tremor||50 – 57 cm||306 g||Dial||18||Standard||Yes||In-mold|
|Giro Fixture II Youth||$69||50 - 57 cm||325 g||Dial||16||Standard||Yes||In-mold|
|Uvex Quatro Junior||$60||50 - 54 cm||265 g||Dial||10||No||Yes||In-mold|
|woom Helmet||$69||50 - 56 cm||290 g||Dial||24||No||Yes||In-mold|
|50 - 57 cm||276 g||Dial||14||Yes||Yes||In-mold|
|Lazer Nutz||$50||50 - 56 cm||250 g||Auto||8||Kineti Core||Yes||In-mold|
|Smith Convoy||$85||51 - 55 cm||290 g||Dial||20||Standard||Yes||In-mold|
|52 - 57 cm||208 g||Dial||21||No||Yes||In-mold|
|$65||52 - 57 cm||370 g||Dial||13||Standard||Yes||In-mold|
|Lazer J1||52 - 57 cm||295 g||Dial||15||No||Yes||In-mold|
|Bern Nino 2.0||$65||52 - 55 cm||350 g||Elastic||13||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 Impact Protective System
MIPS is a brain safety 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.
While MIPS was the pioneer in this technology, some helmet brands have developed their own systems designed for a similar purpose. KinetiCore by Lazer, SPIN by POC, and Quad Core by Kali Protectives are examples of this.
Bike vs. Multi-Sport Kids Helmets
Most bike helmets are only certified for biking use. (This also includes using a scooter or hoverboard.) 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. Check out our full list of favorite dual-certified helmets here.
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 girly (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.