Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use. While we prefer the MIPS version, for those on a budget, the non-MIPS comes in more colors and still offers exceptional fit and quality for the price.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Head Circumference: 45 - 53 cm
Weight: 251 g
Internal Adjust: Dial
Skater Style: No
Sizes Available: XS, S
XS: 45 – 49 cm
S: 49 – 53 cm
Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use, the Giro Scamp is a top-notch helmet with a family-friendly price tag. Also available with advanced MIPS protection.
Fit & Comfort
Helmets are like shoes. Kids never want to wear them, they only want to wear the ones that don’t fit, and finding one that properly fits is close to impossible. Why? All too often, kids’ bike helmets are a bad fit due to poor design and construction. Heavy, hot, and uncomfortable, it’s not a surprise that kids complain.
Luckily, over the past few years, great strides have been made to improve the safety, fit and functionality of kids’ bike helmets. No longer mere buckets strapped to a child’s head, today’s helmets are much more comfortable to wear because they’re lighter, slimmer, and come in a variety of fun colors. The Giro Scamp is one of the best in this new generation of helmets.
Giro Scamp Helmet Worn by Different Aged Kids
With years of experience behind them, Giro hit a home-run with the Scamp. Built with lightweight in-mold construction, a dial-adjust system and with optional MIPS technology (explained below), the Scamp has an impressive resume. Just as importantly, it offers a great fit. Straight out of the box, the Giro was eagerly received by even our pickiest preschool-aged testers.
The Scamp is available in two sizes – S and XS. The XS fits heads with a head circumference of 45 to 49 cm and the small fits 49 to 53 cm. The helmet we tested is a size small and fit our testers aged 2 to 5. The XS would likely be a good fit for kids ages 12 months to 3 years.
The Scamp is one of the least bulky helmets on the market, sitting very flush to the head. With a nearly flat profile in the rear, the Scamp is well-suited for trailer or bike seat use.
Scamp’s Nearly Flat Profile in the Back
Optional MIPS Technology
The Scamp’s optional MIPS technology adds an additional layer of safety to kids’ helmets. The foam core of a helmet protects a child from direct impact but does not protect the head and neck from twisting during an impact. The MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) allows the energy from the crash impact to be absorbed by the helmet regardless of what direction the impact is coming from.
Wanting to ensure the technology was truly beneficial, Giro spent several years testing MIPS technologies prior to adding it to their helmets. The results of that testing clearly demonstrated MIPS effectiveness and Giro went on to not only add it to their helmets, but they also purchased 20% of the company that created MIPS.
The secret to MIPS is a thin plastic shell inside the helmet that is connected to the helmet’s protective foam with flexible anchors. When under force, these anchors stretch to allow the helmet to rotate around the head upon impact. A video and explanation of MIPS in action can be seen here.
These MIPS anchors, however, easily snag and pull on long hair when the helmet is removed. We recommend either pulling a girl’s hair into a tight ponytail or just purchasing the helmet in the non-MIPS version.
In our tests, we also found that the plastic liner of MIPS, which sits close to the skin, does tend to slightly limit the overall breathability of the helmet. While the plastic liner DOES NOT cover up any vents, sweat does tend to adhere to it. As a result, for those living in really hot climates, the non-MIPS version may be worth considering.
Internal Width Adjustments and Buckles
The Scamp has an easy-to-use dial-adjust fit system that allows you to “dial” in a fit that’s specific to your child. The Uvex Hero has a similar dial-adjust system while the higher-priced Lazer has a unique Autofit tension system that automatically adjusts to your child’s head. Dial-adjust systems are far superior to the interchangeable pad systems found on cheaper helmets.
To keep costs down, the Scamp also has a standard buckling system, versus the more advanced buckling systems found on high-end helmets like the Uvex and the Lazer. Like the buckles found on most helmets, the Scamp’s buckle can pinch a child if buckled too close to their neck. Uvex’s Monomatic buckle and Lazer’s magnetic buckle are both far less prone to pinching, but they cost more to produce and therefore play a role in increasing the overall cost of the helmet.
Adjusting the Chin Straps of the Scamp
While the overall fit of the Scamp is easily adjusted with the dial in the back, like any other helmet, adjusting the length of the chin straps is necessary to complete a snug and proper fit. While the Scamp has a very common chin trap adjustment design, many of our readers have had trouble figuring out how it works.
Luckily, it’s simple, just not obvious. The secret lies in the small black plug in the back of the helmet. By pulling out the black plug, you will be able to adjust the length of the chin straps on both sides. The chin strap webbing is threaded through this black plug, so by popping it out, you can adjust how much webbing is on both sides of the helmet. Once adjusted, simply push the plug back into place.
Scamp vs. Competitors
Compared to other helmets in its class, the Scamp is very fairly priced at $35 for non-MIPS and $55 for MIPS. We applaud Giro for designing a simple, yet safe and high-quality helmet that can be sold for a family-friendly price.
To keep down the price of the Scamp, the helmet does not have locking sliders (the piece that keeps the chin straps in place below the ear) or a non-pinch buckle. Locking sliders help to keep the helmet properly adjusted for kids but aren’t necessary if you regularly check to make sure the sliders in place.
Currently, the Uvex Hero is priced less than the Scamp and is a great helmet for the price, but the Hero’s shallow design has lead to fit issues for kids with longer heads as it sits higher on the head than ideal. The Scamp is more round in shape compared to the Uvex and Lazer, which has proven to provide a better fit for kids with more rounded head shapes.
The Giro Scamp with MIPS is exceptional. Lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use, it’s one of our hands-down favorites for toddlers and pre-schoolers. For those on a budget, the non-MIPS comes in more colors and still offers exceptional fit and quality for a very reasonable price.
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: January 11, 2017
FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. Giro provided products to Two Wheeling Tots LLC to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC and should not be used or replicated in any way. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is not an affiliate of Giro, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.