Giro Scamp II Helmet Review

High-quality, lightweight, comfortable, and easy to use, the Giro Scamp II bike helmet is hands-down our favorite helmet for toddlers and young kids. Built with a unique ratcheting buckle, a dial-adjust system for a precise fit, and with optional MIPS brain safety technology, the Scamp has an impressive resume.

Newly updated for 2024, the Giro Scamp II replaces the original Giro Scamp. While the Scamp II is very similar to the original, it does have a few upgrades that you will appreciate. Read the review below for all the reasons this is the helmet our own kids wear!

Collage showing a toddler wearing the Giro Scamp II XS and a 6 year old wearing the Giro Scamp II small

Giro Scamp II Helmet Overview

RATING: Exceptional

MSRP$55 (non MIPS), $75 (MIPS)

BEST FOR: Our all-around top pick for toddlers and preschoolers. With a flat back, the Scamp is great for kids on bikes as well as in trailers. This helmet is more shallow than others, and not a good fit for kids with tall heads.

SIZE: 45 – 49 cm (XS), 49 – 53 cm (S)


WEIGHT: 230g – 260g (depending on size and if has MIPS)


  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Unique ratcheting buckle is the most pinch-proof style on the market
  • Optional MIPS brain safety technology
  • Dial-adjust system for an easy and accurate fit
  • Narrower profile in the back – well-suited for trailer or bike seat use, in addition to bikes


  • Plastic side strap sliders don’t lock, should be checked regularly

Giro Scamp Helmet Video Review

Want to see the Scamp in action? Check out our video review that covers the four main reasons why we love the Scamp for toddlers and preschoolers. (Note: While this video shows the original Scamp, all information is still relevant, except for the reference to the standard buckle.)

Giro Scamp II Helmet Sizing

Two Sizes – On Average Cover Ages 12 months to 6 years old

The Giro Scamp II is available in two sizes – XS and Small.  The XS fits heads with a circumference of 45 to 49 cm and the small fits 49 to 53 cm.  Remember that every toddler and child has a different sized head… measure their head for a proper helmet fit before you choose the size!

We’ve tested the Scamp (and now Scamp II) on many kids over the last decade, and XS is an ideal first helmet for many babies and toddlers, while the size Small typically fits our testers from ages 2.5 to 6. At its smallest setting (45 cm), the XS was a great fit for our 12-month-old tester to use in the trailer and child bike seats, but by the time she was 2.5 we had to move her up to the Small size.

12 mo in XS Scamp and at 2.5 in the Small

12 month old in an XS Giro Scamp and the same child as a 2.5 year old in a size S Giro Scamp

The Scamp XS is unique because it’s one of the smallest bike helmets available. There are only two helmets that we’ve found that are smaller, with a minimum head size of 44 cm – the Kali Chakra Infant and the Schwinn Infant. Most “toddler” helmets have a minimum head circumference of 46 or 47 cm.

How long the helmet will fit depends on how fast your child’s head grows. This little nugget is now 6 and can still comfortably and safely wear the Small Scamp while riding her pedal bike.

Young girl riding teal Guardian 20 inch small bike

Other kids may outgrow a Scamp much earlier because the sizing ranges are only 4 cm. (45 – 49 cm, and 49 – 53 cm.) Many other kids’ helmets have larger sizing ranges – for example 50cm – 57cm is quite common. While these helmets may last longer, they are generally not the best fit for kids on the low end of the range.

Scamp is a Shallow Helmet

We have tested over 90 kids’ bike helmets, and the Giro Scamp is more shallow than the others. For many, many kids, this is a huge advantage because it allows the helmet to rest a tad higher on their forehead, rather than right at their eyeline, which can end up obstructing their view.

Here you can see our 6-year-old tester, with a head circumference of 52.5cm, wearing the Scamp II Small and the Thousand Heritage Jr. helmets. Both of these helmets have a sizing range of 49 – 53 cm. Every helmet she wears (she’s tested dozens!) sits lower on her head like the Thousand – with the exception of the Scamp.

Side by side comparison of helmet depth of Giro Scamp II and Thousand Jr kids helmets, worn by same child

There will be a few kids that have tall heads that will not get a good fit from the Scamp. Here is our 2.5-year-old tester with a 53 cm head in the small Scamp. The helmet cannot be adjusted any lower, and too much of his forehead is exposed to be a truly safe fit, so he needs a deeper helmet.

2.5 year old with taller head, showing too much forehead exposed on Giro Scamp II

Over the years, the Scamp has been a solid fit for most of our testers. Just be aware that if the helmet sits too high on your child’s head, you’ll need to get a deeper helmet. This tester fits great in a Bern Brentwood Jr.

If you are familiar with the previous Scamp model, the Scamp II is actually slightly deeper. On our 6-year-old with a 52.5 cm head, you can see that the Scamp II sits just a tad lower on her forehead. However, the II provides significantly lower coverage on the side of the head, which you can see by how much closer the aqua helmet is to her ear.

Scamp vs. Scamp II Coverage

Side by side comparison of Giro Scamp and updated Giro Scamp II. Worn by same 6 year old, shown in profile.

Giro Scamp Review – Results of our Test Rides

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 often don’t love wearing a bike helmet.

Luckily, over the past few years, great strides have been made to improve the safety, fit, and functionality of kids’ bike helmets.  Many helmets are now much more comfortable to wear because they’re lighter, slimmer, and have more advanced fit systems. The Giro Scamp is one of the best in this new generation of helmets and sits at the top of our lists of best toddler bike helmets and kids helmets.

Young girl riding a scooter and wearing Giro Scamp II helmet

Quality of Build

Upon picking up a Giro Scamp, it’s immediately clear that its quality is many levels above any bike helmet you’ll find at Walmart. Considering toddlers and young kids are known to drop their helmets on the ground without regard, durability should should be high on your list of criteria when selecting a helmet.

The Scamp’s overall durability is the result of its in-mold construction that allows the outer shell of the helmet to be fused to the foam core of the helmet. The fused outer shell means that, unlike most cheap kids’ helmets, the outer shell cannot crack, warp, or completely fall off the helmet.

As a result, the foam core of the Scamp remains protected through years of even the toughest of treatment from the smallest riders.

image showing the fused outer shell of the giro scamp helmet
Fused outer shell of the Giro Scamp

Comfortable Fit for a Variety of Bike Riding Uses

Comfort is king with toddler helmets. If a helmet is itchy, heavy, or flopping around on their head, you can be certain that your toddler will put up a fight when it’s time to put it on. With its soft internal pads, easy-to-use dial adjust system, and flat back for use in a child seat or a trailer, the Giro Scamp II is, without question, the helmet our toddler testers prefer.

giro scamp II XS used in a child bike seat

Dial-adjust Fit System

To keep the Giro Scamp firmly on the child’s head, it features a simple dial-adjust system. Once the helmet is squarely on your child’s head, simply dial the knob until you feel slight resistance on the knob. Once properly tightened, the helmet should say firmly in place, even when your little one wiggles around.

Dial adjust system in the rear of the Giro Scamp II

Adjusting the Side Straps

Like all helmets, in order to get the perfect fit on a child’s helmet, it is important to adjust the chin straps. The chin straps should come together as a “V” directly below the child’s ears on both sides. This is done by adjusting the length of the straps by threading them through the plastic sliders on the sides of the straps.

Helmet side strap adjusted to a V underneath the ear

This helps keep the helmet centered on a child’s head, preventing it from sliding too far forward or back. You will need to check that these sliders are set correctly on a regular basis. Because they aren’t fixed (like those found on woom helmet), they can more easily slide out of place.

That said, the ability to easily adjust the chin straps on the Scamp is another reason why it stands out from the crowd. With many helmets, particularly cheap helmets, the chin straps are often extremely difficult to properly adjust. As a result, these helmets often flop around on a child’s head and never remain squarely on top.

The Schwinn Infant helmet is a perfect example of a seemingly decent helmet that is almost impossible to adjust properly. The chin straps never stay in place, which results in the helmet moving around too much, which greatly affects the ability of the helmet to protect a child in the event of a crash. As a result, when at all possible, we highly recommend paying the extra money to upgrade to the Scamp.

Schwinn Infant strap adjustments vs. Giro Scamp

chin strap adjustments on the Schwinn Infant helmet versus the giro scamp

Other Features of the Giro Scamp II

Ratcheting Buckle

It’s such a small part of a helmet, but the Giro Scamp II’s ratcheting buckle might just be our favorite feature! This is new for the Scamp II, as the original Scamp had a traditional helmet buckle.

Ratcheting buckle of Giro Scamp II

Magnetic Fid-lock buckles are becoming more common because they are touted as pinch-free, but we’ve pinched our kids plenty of times with them. The Scamp’s ratcheting buckle also isn’t completely pinch-proof , but it’s the most pinch-proof of any buckle currently on the kids’ helmet market, and our favorite style of buckle.

It is highly unlikely that you will pinch your child with this helmet, unless you’re purposely trying to do so, like I did to myself to prove that you technically could pinch your neck with it if you really tried.

Flat Back for Use in Child Bike Seats and Trailers

When seated in a bike trailer or a child bike seat, traditional helmets with a bulky or pointy back can be very uncomfortable for a child. The point on the back of the helmet can push the child’s head forward, which can put significant strain on a child’s neck. To prevent strain, the back of the Scamp is significantly flatter, making it much more comfortable for use in a child bike seat or bike trailer.

Moisture Wicking Sealed Pads

With soft pads along the interior front, back, and top of the helmet, our testers were significantly less resistant to the Scamp’s feel compared to cheap helmets with rough, itchy pads.

For added comfort for use in hot climates, the pads of the Scamp are moisture-wicking to help keep heads cool. The pads are also sealed along the edges to prevent sweat from dripping out.

Interior padding of Giro Scamp II

Ventilation – Scamp II has more vents than original Scamp

The original Scamp had 11 vents, while the Scamp II has 13, including vents on the front and sides which didn’t exist before. Accompanied by new air channels, the Scamp II should offer better air flow than its predecessor.

Vent placement is key in increasing air flow – more vents doesn’t always mean better air flow. We have no way to test this, but more vents will at the very least allow more heat to escape.

Optional MIPS Brain Safety Technology

The Giro Scamp II is offered with or without MIPS, with the MIPS option costing an additional $20. MIPS technology adds an additional layer of safety to a bike helmet.  The black foam core of a helmet protects a child from direct impact, but does not protect from the energy of rotational impact. 

MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) allows the helmet to slightly rotate around the head during impact to help minimize rotational forces that could affect a child’s brain.

The secret to MIPS is a thin plastic shell inside the helmet that is connected to the helmet’s protective foam core 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.

MIPS anchors in the Giro Scamp II helmet

In older versions of the Scamp, we found that on some testers with long hair, the exposed MIPS anchors could snag their hair. It bothered some of our kids, but others were oblivious to it.

In the Scamp II, these anchors have been recessed and/or covered to prevent this, as seen above.

Giro Scamp vs. Competitors

Compared to other helmets in its class, the Scamp is priced at $55 for non-MIPS and $75 for MIPS. While it is quite a bit more expensive than the popular Joovy Noodle, the Noodle is not built with in-mold construction and isn’t as durable.

For families considering the Small Scamp II, the woom Helmet is another great option. It is available in sizes ranging from 46 to 56cm and offers a unique “stay-put” design that prevents the helmet from sliding out of place while on a child’s head.

Giro ScampJoovy Noodlewoom KIDS
MSRP$55, $75$35$69
Head Circumference45- 49 cm (XS), 49-53 cm (S)47-52 cm46 – 50 cm (XS)
# of Vents81424
Weight230 g226 g250 g
Review LinkYou’re reading it!Noodle Reviewwoom Helmet

For more helmet recommendations, be sure to check out our Best Kids Bike Helmets list.

Giro Scamp II Helmet Bottom Line

It’s rare that we feel like a product has really hit it out of the park, but the Giro Scamp II truly is exceptional. While you may be tempted to save money and buy a cheaper helmet, we highly encourage you to save money somewhere else… a few less lattes this week maybe? 🙂

Shallower than most toddler and kids helmets, it provides a better fit for most small heads, but there will be some kids with small but tall heads that will need a deeper helmet.

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review, however, the reviewed product was supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

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