Over our 10 years of testing kids bike helmets, the Kali Chakra Youth and Child helmets have been consistent favorites with parents and kids. Little ones love the bright colors or cool designs, while parents love the great fit and great price.
With a compact, lightweight design, easy dial-adjust, and excellent ventilation, these Kali Protectives kids helmets provide high-quality features for a very fair price. Read our full review below for all the pros and cons, and to determine if a Kali helmet is the right fit for your child.
Kali Chakra Kids Helmet Overview
RATING: Highly Recommended
MSRP: $40 child, $50 youth
BEST FOR: Super lightweight with great ventilation and a flatter back, works well for littles on bikes and in trailers.
SIZE: CHILD XS: 44 – 50 cm, CHILD S: 51 – 54 cm, YOUTH: 52 – 57 cm
ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM: Dial adjust
WEIGHT: 245 g
- Slimmer and more compact than other helmets, also covers more of back of head
- Flatter back for easy use with bike trailers
- 21 vents for excellent air flow
- Super lightweight
- Easy-to-use dial adjust system
- Crash replacement guarantee
- Helmet can slip side to side if not adjusted properly
- Thin padding can make the helmet less comfortable
Kali Chakra Child and Youth Helmets – Results of our Test Rides
Before we get into the details of the Kali Chakra Child and Youth helmets, it’s important to note that these helmets are essentially identical. The Child is a smaller version of the Youth, and comes in different patterns and colors. It also has a built-in visor, versus the break-away visor of the Youth.
Sizing – Kali Chakra Child vs. Youth
The Chakra comes in three sizes, Child XS (44 – 50 cm), Child S (48 – 54 cm), and Youth (52 – 57 cm). Be sure to measure your child’s head before you buy! That said, a child’s head shape will play a large factor in the fit of these helmets.
CHAKRA CHILD SMALL: In our testing, we discovered that the labeled sizing for the small size Kali Chakra Child helmet is inaccurate. While it’s labeled with a 48 cm minimum head circumference range, we found it to be much much too large for a child with a 48 cm head, which you can see below. This 12-month-old has a 48 cm head, but the Chakra Child small just wobbles all over his head.
We also found the Child small to be too big for our 3-year-old tester with a 49.5 cm head. It was still slightly too loose on our 3-year-old tester with a 50 cm head.
Our 3-year-old girl tester with a 51.5 cm head (seen throughout this review) was a great fit. As a result of our tests, we’d say they Chakra child small probably won’t be a snug fit for a child with a head under 51 cm.
CHAKRA CHILD XS: The XS has a unique fit because it is quite narrow. Our 12-month-old tester shown above did not fit in the XS either, because this size was too narrow for his head.
As a reference point, his normal helmet is a Giro Scamp XS with a sizing range of 45 – 49 cm. That helmet is pretty standard in width, which demonstrates how narrow the Chakra XS is.
This XS helmet did fit on the heads of two of our other testers. One is an almost-2-year-old with a 47.5 cm head, and her 4-year-old sister with a 49.5 cm head. Both girls have more narrow heads, and tend to have an issue with other helmets being too loose.
As a result, we would only recommend the Chakra Child XS for kids with small and narrow heads.
CHAKRA YOUTH: We found the Kali Chakra Youth to be a good fit for our kid testers with heads 52 cm and larger.
Coverage and Fit
We tested these Kali kids helmets on 12 different children ranging in age from 1 to 14. Because every child’s head shape is unique, trying a helmet on many kids helps us get a better idea of its overall fit.
The Kali Chakra Youth helmet and Child helmet are designed for road or mountain bike use, so they have plenty of coverage in the rear and sides as you can see here.
CHAKRA CHILD: Compared to most of our other favorite bike helmets for toddlers and young kids, we’d classify the Kali Chakra CHILD helmet as fairly normal in depth, which is a good fit for your average or “tall” head. If your young child has a “tall” head, the Chakra child’s semi-deep interior will be ideal. It’s similar in depth to the Giro Tremor Child, which you can see below.
If you know your child has a shorter forehead and crown, you’ll want to look at a more shallow helmet like the Giro Scamp. In the image below you can see how much lower the deeper Chakra child falls on our 3-year-old’s forehead than the popular Giro Scamp, which is a more shallow helmet.
CHAKRA YOUTH: Interestingly, we found the Chakra YOUTH to be a bit more shallow on our testers’ heads than the Chakra Child was. Here you can see a comparison of our 11-year-old tester in the Kali Chakra Youth versus the Giro Tremor Youth.
He loves wearing the Tremor, but it sits quite low on his eyebrows. The less-deep Chakra Youth sits at a more appropriate height above his eyebrows according to the 2-V-2 bike helmet fit rule. The Youth’s depth is neither good nor bad, just an important factor to consider depending on your child’s unique head shape.
The Kali Chakra Youth and Child (small size only) feature a dial-adjust system to tighten the back of the helmet against your child’s head. The rubberized knob is larger than any other we’ve ever encountered, which makes it exceptionally easy to grab and tighten – even on a squirming child!
The Chakra Child XS replaces the knob with an elastic band in the rear. This makes it much easier to put a helmet on a baby but can sometimes lead to a less-snug fit.
To ensure your child’s helmet is properly adjusted, you must also fine-tune the length and position of the side straps. The black plastic strap slider should be positioned under your child’s ear so that the straps form a V.
If the length of the straps isn’t appropriately distributed on either side of the helmet, you may not be able to tighten the chin strap enough before the buckle hits that black plastic slider.
If this is the case, simply pop out the black triangle at the rear of the helmet and pull on the strap to make one side shorter and the other longer.
Despite how accurately we adjusted and tightened the knob and the straps, we found that the helmet has a tendency to slide a little from side to side. The Chakra was still safely and snuggly anchored on our child’s head, and we don’t believe this is a safety issue but is something to be aware of.
Flat Back Great for Trailers
If you’re planning on riding with your child in a bike trailer or child bike seat, the flat back of the Kali Chakra child will be a big benefit. Helmets with bulky or pointed backs can be uncomfortable against the back of a seat, as they push a child’s head awkwardly foward.
Here you can see the flat back of the Kali vs the pointed back of the popular Joovy Noodle.
Ventilation on the Chakra youth and child is superb. Twenty-one large vents allow for excellent air flow. At just 245 grams, it is also one of the lightest-weight kids bike helmets we’ve tested. In fact, this helmet is so comfortable my daughter often forgets she has it on.
Visor on Child and Youth are Different
While all other features on the Kali Chakra Youth and Child are identical, the visor style is different. Like all youth helmets with visors, the Chakra Youth has a snap-on visor that can break away upon impact. This helps prevent impact from an initial face plant, but by breaking away, decreases the risk of twisting the rider’s neck.
The Chakra Child has a shorter, integrated visor that is part of the foam core of the helmet, and cannot be removed.
The soft padding inside the Kali Chakra Child and Youth helmets is sealed to help trap sweat. While significantly better quality that budget helmet padding, it’s not quite as durable as the performance material padding you’ll find in more expensive helmets.
The padding is also thinner, and something our older testers immediately noticed. Our 12-year-old noted that the “helmet feels harder” than her normal helmet ($65 Giro Tremor), and that she could feel the cut-out ridged pattern of the foam core on her forehead.
On the other hand, our 3 and 4-year-old testers who aren’t old enough to articulate such nuances didn’t seem to have an issue with the thinner padding.
Crash Replacement Guarantee
Kali’s motto is: “You crash it. We replace it.” We have plenty of helmets from other brands in our helmet graveyard. Especially if you have aggressive kids, replacing a helmet after every crash can quickly get expensive. (YES, you should replace a helmet if it comes into contact with the ground in a crash. Even if it doesn’t look cracked!)
Kali wants to replace your crashed helmet because they want those damaged helmets back to use in their R&D process. Your old helmet provides them with real-life crash test information that can’t always be duplicated in a lab!
Bottom Line on the Kali Chakra Kids Helmet
Kali Protectives is a brand that is laser-focused on safety innovation. Offering high-quality helmets at a lower price point than its competitors, the Kali Chakra Child and Youth helmets are designed by a company that aims to make safer helmets more accessible to more families.
The Kali Chakra Child and Youth bike helmets are outstanding options for families on a budget who are serious about bike safety.
To view a full selection of helmets for toddlers, check out our 10 Best Helmets for Toddlers page. For helmets for older kids (or younger kids with big heads!), our 10 Best Helmets for Kids should be a better bet.
If you’re looking for a helmet for yourself, the Kali Chakra Solo is the adult version of this helmet. Check out our article on the Best Bike Helmets for Women for our take on that helmet.