For kids who ride skateboards, scooters, and even bikes, skate-style helmets are all the rage. But skate-style helmets and skateboard helmets are not the same thing. They may look the same from the outside, but it’s all about what’s on the inside.
True skateboard helmets are dual-certified by the CSPC and ASTM. The CPSC certification covers biking and scootering, while the ASTM certification covers skateboarding and trick roller skating/blading. While wearing a helmet can help prevent superficial injuries and fractures to the skull, a certified helmet can also disperse and absorb crash energy to minimize brain injury.
The ASTM certification for skateboard helmets requires helmets to have special foam cores and external shells that are specifically designed to protect riders from multiple impacts which are a common part of riding a skateboard. Surprisingly, many skate-style helmets are only CPSC certified (single-impact), while some have no certification at all!
If your child will only be biking, a CPSC certified skate helmet is perfectly safe. But if your child will also be riding a skateboard, a dual-certified CPSC/ASTM skateboard helmet is a must! Additional information about certifications can be found in our Skateboard Helmet Certifications section below.
Best Dual-Certified Skateboard Helmets for Kids
|Skateboard Helmet||What Makes it Unique||MSRP|
|Nutcase Little Nutty / Street||Fun, Funky Designs and MIPS safety technology||$69|
|Triple 8 Lil' 8 / Little Tricky||Most Popular Skate Brand||$40|
|Outdoor Master||Best Bang for your Buck||$32|
|S1 Mini Lifer||Commitment to Safety||$60|
|Bell Span||Honorable Mention||$55|
Featuring MIPS Safety Technology
SIZES: Toddler (48 – 52 cm), Youth (52 – 56 cm), S Adult (56 – 60 cm)
WEIGHT: 440 g
FEATURES: MIPS technology, dial-adjust fit, removable visor, sealed internal pads, locking sliders, magnetic Fid-lock buckle
FULL REVIEW: Nutcase Little Nutty
Nutcase helmets are our favorite brand of skateboard helmets. Not only do they have one-of-a-kind fun and funky styles, they are the only kids skateboard helmet to feature MIPS.
MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. MIPS consists of a plastic layer inside the helmet that shifts and rotates upon impact. In simple terms, this reduces rotational motion that can cause more severe brain damage. This is why they also call MIPS a BPS – or Brain Protection System! MIPS helmets are widely touted as the safest helmets on the market.
These adorable designs and reasonable weight also make the Nutcase Little Nutty our favorite toddler skateboard helmet and baby skateboard helmet.
Most Popular Skate Brand
MSRP: $40 (Lil’ 8), $45 (Little Tricky)
SIZES: Lil 8 (46 – 52 cm), Little Tricky (50 – 56 cm)
WEIGHT: 509 g
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit for Lil’ 8 only, Sweatsaver internal pads
FULL REVIEW: Triple 8 Lil’ 8
If you’ve been to the skatepark, you’ve probably seen a Triple 8 helmet. One of the most well-known and popular skater brands out there (and for a good reason!) all of their kids’ helmets are dual-certified! But be aware, they’re also the heaviest dual-certified helmets we’ve found. The Lil’ 8 was too heavy for our young toddler testers, but was less bothersome for older toddlers and pre-schoolers.
The Little Tricky is a larger version of the Lil’ 8, with one major difference. It does not have a dial-adjust knob for easy sizing adjustments. Instead, it comes with a few sets of pads that have different thicknesses. You swap out the pads to adjust the fit for your child’s head circumference. While this is common with adult skateboard helmets, we’ve found it to be problematic for kids because it’s really easy to lose the extra pads. As your child’s head grows and you need the thinner set, you may not be able to find it!
Best Bang for Your Buck
SIZES: S (46 – 51 cm), M (51 – 58 cm), L (54 – 60 cm )
WEIGHT: 439 g
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit, lots of interior padding for sweat absorption, pads are sweat-wicking and sealed, padded chin strap
What Outdoor Master offers for the price is pretty impressive. A solid-quality dial-adjust knob makes getting a snug fit easy. And while skateboard helmets are notoriously sweaty, the ample interior padding helps absorb a lot of it. As an upgrade from other “basic” helmets that have cheap pads, the Outdoor Master’s pads are sweat wicking material, and are also sealed to keep that sweat from dripping onto your child’s face. Overall, it’s a great quality helmet, especially for its price.
SIZES: XS (48 – 52 cm), S/M (52 – 56 cm), L (56 – 60 cm)
WEIGHT: 255 g
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit, padded chin strap, lightweight
Almost all skateboard helmets are quite heavy compared to a standard biking helmet. While many kids aren’t bothered by this, some kids may resist wearing a dual-certified helmet because of its weight.
The GoTrax skateboard helmet is the lightest dual-certified helmet we’ve found – it’s actually as lightweight as your average bike helmet! (And HALF the weight of the Triple 8 helmets!) Our testers all noticed and appreciated this difference. The GoTrax’ other features, however, are very basic with cheap pads that haven’t held up very well over the two years we’ve used this helmet.
Commitment to Safety
SIZES: 5 sizes, ranging from 47 – 52 cm, (Lifer helmet available in larger sizes)
While we haven’t tested an S1 helmet for ourselves, we wanted to include the S1 Mini Lifer because we respect this company’s commitment to safety. In a world where soft-foam (non-certified) skater helmets are all too common, S1 has a mission to educate the public about the importance of only wearing a helmet that is actually certified for skateboard use.
Check out this super interesting test lab video comparing the crash energy dispersion in a soft-foam helmet vs. an S1 helmet that is dual-certified. Believe us, you’ll never consider a soft-foam helmet again!
SIZES: XS (49 – 53 cm), S (51 – 55 cm)
WEIGHT: 423 g
FEATURES: Dial-adjust fit, sweat-wicking, sealed internal pads
FULL REVIEW: Bell Span
The Bell Span is a high-quality offering from Bell. After using and testing the helmets on this list, the Span doesn’t stand out in any way, but it still an excellent option.
Skateboard Helmet Certifications FAQ
What are the different certifications for skateboard helmets?
There are three types of helmet certifications you may find in skateboarding helmets. Each certification has different requirements for impact testing based on intended use. When selecting a helmet, it is essential to purchase a helmet with a certification that matches your intended use.
Skateboarding, Skating and Regular Bicycle Use Helmet Certifications
|Certification||Activities Covered||Marketing Labels|
|ASTM F1492||Skateboarding, aggressive/trick in-line and roller skating||Skateboard|
|CPSC 16 CFR 1203||Bike riding (not-downhill), scooters, recreational in-line and roller skates||Bike, skating, “multi-sport”|
|EN 1078**||Skateboarding, bike riding, roller skates||Bike, skating, skateboarding|
What’s the difference between a skateboard helmet and a bike helmet?
Bike helmets are CPSC certified for bicycle use. Skateboard helmets are ASTM certified for skateboard use. The CSPC certification does NOT cover skateboard use and the ASTM certification does NOT cover bicycle use. However, every ASTM certified skateboard helmet that we have found is also certified by the CSPC for bicycle use.
These dual-certified skateboard helmets can be safely used for biking and skateboarding because they have been certified for both activities. Standard biking helmets, including some that are “skater-style”, are not dual-certified and should not be used for skateboarding.
What are the requirements for CPSC and ASTM certification?
CPSC and ASTM certifications each have unique requirements for impact testing. Since bicycles have the ability to crash at much higher speeds, they are made with a special foam core designed to withstand the forces from one larger, single-impact blow. Skateboarders typically crash much more often, but at lower speeds. As a result, skateboard helmets are made of a denser foam that can withstand multiple, lower-impact blows.
Due to their denser foam, helmets that pass ASTM certification typically also pass CPSC certification and are certified for both. It is important to note that “dual-certified” helmets are certified for multiple impacts while use in skateboarding, NOT while biking. Bicycle helmets should ALWAYS be replaced after a major crash whether they are dual-certified or not.
Is a dual-certified helmet the same as a dual-sport or multi-sport helmet?
Dual-Certified helmets have passed CPSC certification for bike use as well as ASTM or EN for skateboard use. Helmets with just CPSC certification should not be labeled as “dual-certified” but are often labeled as “multi-sport” or “dual-sport”.
It is very common for skate-style helmets to be marketed as “multi-sport” or “dual-sport”. That does not usually mean “biking + skateboarding”. Helmets labeled in this way usually mean “biking, roller skating, and scootering”, which are all covered under the CPSC certification. These helmets are not certified for skateboard use. One common example of this type of helmet is the Razor V-17 helmet, which is “multi-sport” but not dual-certified.
Aren’t all helmets required to be certified?
All bicycle helmets sold in the United States are required by law to be CPSC certified. Oddly, skateboard helmets are not required to have any certification at all! As a result, be extremely cautious when purchasing a skateboard or skate-style helmet.
How do you know what certifications a helmet has?
All helmets that pass the CPSC and ASTM F1492 certifications must have a sticker inside indicating that they have been certified. An online store listing will also indicate which certifications a helmet has. If no certifications are listed, assume it is not certified or contact the manufacturers to ensure certifications prior to purchasing.
Is it illegal to ride a skateboard without a helmet?
Just like with bike helmets and biking, this depends on your state. Just about every skate park (public and private), however, requires the use of a helmet.
Is it safe to buy an “off-brand” skateboard helmet?
When it comes to safety, we always recommend buying products from brands you know and trust. According to an investigation by Consumer Reports, some helmets sold online claiming to be certified are not actually certified. We are not saying that all off-brand helmets are unsafe. But as parents ourselves, we feel better buying helmets from trusted brands.
Why aren’t European skateboard helmets considered dual-certified in the US?
The European EN 1078 certification covers skateboarding, but the certification requires a much lower impact test than the American ASTM test. As a result, these helmets can be thinner and lighter than helmets that pass the ASTM test.