Looking for a high-quality kid’s helmet with fun and funky styles? Meet the Nutcase Little Nutty! With over a dozen different designs to choose from (ranging from donuts to super heroes!), your kids can ride in a style all their own.
But what we love most about Nutcase is that they don’t sacrifice fashion for function. Not only is the Little Nutty quite possibly the cutest helmet on the block, but it’s also one of the best bike helmets you can buy.
With an easy-to-use dial-adjust system, durable build, magnetic Fid-lock buckle, and MIPS safety system, the Nutcase Little Nutty checks all the boxes for functionality and safety. The Nutcase Little Nutty’s removable visor and dual-certification also make it a great helmet for young kids who will be switching from bikes to skateboards. Read the full review below!
Nutcase Little Nutty
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Kids who want a fun and funky dual-certified helmet for biking and skateboarding.
SIZE: 48 – 52 cm
ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM: Dial adjust
WEIGHT: 460 g
- MIPS brain protection system comes standard
- Soft chin pad and magnetic “no pinch” buckle
- Locking sliders – less need for constant adjustment!
- Great fit – internal dial adjust
- Dual certified for biking and skateboard use
- Fun and funky styles
- Removable visor
- Few vents leads to sweaty heads (common with skater-style helmets)
- Internal padding partially covers rear and front vents
- Heavier than a traditional helmet
- MIPS anchors are not covered – can snag long hair
Nutcase Little Nutty Review – Results of our Test Rides
All too often parents unknowingly sacrifice their child’s safety for their style. Parents say things like, “But, if they don’t like the helmet, they won’t wear it. Sure, it flops around and is impossible to adjust, but at least they wear it!” Luckily, the compromise no longer has to be made. A party on the outside and business on the inside, Nutcase’s Little Nutty is sure to please both the safety-conscience parent and style-driven child. (And let’s be honest, what parent it’s wooed by these adorable helmets as well??)
While we’ve loved Nutcase helmets for years, we’re super excited to see the newest updates include MIPS as a standard feature. They’ve also changed their sizing to expand their kid-friendly size options.
Designed for toddler and kids, the Nutcase Little Nutty comes in two sizes: Toddler (48-52 cm), and Youth (52-56 cm). The smaller Nutcase Baby Nutty is for… babies, while the Nutcase Street is made for adults or kids with heads larger than 56 cm.
The small adult Nutcase Street has the same head circumference range as the Youth Little Nutty (52-56 cm). While more expensive, it does open up a much wider selection of colors and designs.
We tested the Nutcase Little Nutty Toddler size with three kids – Age 2 (49.5 cm head), Age 3 (49 cm head), and Age 4 (50.5 cm head). As seen below, the Little Nutty was a great fit on all of them.
In addition to size ( head circumference measurement), the width of the Little Nutty Toddler and the Little Nutty Youth are different. Skater-style helmets are generally known for being round and wide, and a particularly great fit for kids with round or wide heads. Based on our tests, we found this to be true for the Little Nutty Youth, but not for the Little Nutty Toddler.
If your child has a rounder head and a circumference in the 52 – 56 cm range, the Little Nutty Youth should be a great fit for them. But if your child has a rounder head and a 48 – 52 cm head circumference, the Little Nutty Toddler may be too narrow for them.
One reason many parents love dual-certified helmets is because they have more coverage than a standard biking helmet. As you can see in the comparison below, there is slightly more coverage all the way around, but the biggest difference is on the sides of the helmet.
Additionally, the Nutcase Little Nutty is a tad deeper than the Giro Scamp, which makes it sit lower on the forehead. If your child has a “tall” head, the Little Nutty would be a good option.
MIPS Safety Technology
If you haven’t heard of MIPS yet, let us fill you in. MIPS stands for Multi-Directional Impact Protection System. MIPS helmets are offered by several brands, and Nutcase now offers MIPS standard on all of their helmets.
The MIPS layer consists of a plastic layer inside the helmet that is anchored in place by four yellow anchors. In the event of a crash, these anchors flex to allow the plastic layer to shift and rotate upon impact. While the brain science can get complicated, 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!
Some MIPS systems have those yellow anchors covered by the helmet’s interior padding. The advantage of covering the anchors is that it prevents longer hair from getting snagged. Little Nutty’s anchors are not covered, so be careful when taking off your child’s helmet.
Magnetic Fid-Lock Buckle and Chin Strap
We LOVE magnetic buckles! While certainly not a necessity, they really do make buckling and unbuckling the helmet a lot easier. And they definitely decrease the chance for pinching your child’s neck, which is a HUGE bonus, especially on squirming toddlers.
The Little Nutty comes with a wide chin strap that should be placed between the buckle and the neck, which is an additional barrier to prevent pinching your child. All this said, a magnetic buckle can still pinch your child. I actually pinched this little one the first time I put the Little Nutty on her. I was trying to do it too fast and wasn’t paying enough attention. So basically, just pay attention and you should be fine!
Side Straps and Locking Sliders
The side straps on a helmet are meant to form a “V” beneath the child’s ear. This helps keep the helmet centered on the head. The plastic slider can be adjusted up or down to get a just-right fit for your child.
On most helmets, the plastic slider can come out of place pretty easily and needs to be adjusted regularly. The Nutcase Little Nutty has locking sliders which keep them tightly in place! While you should still be in the practice of checking their placement, they won’t need to be adjusted very often. This feature is especially nice because those sliders often get overlooked when you’re scrambling to get a helmet on your child’s head!
For an added measure of safety, the stitching on the Little Nutty’s side straps is reflective. Pretty cool!
Adjustability and Fit
The dial-adjust knob on the back of the helmet allows you to quickly and easily tighten the back of the helmet so it fits snuggly on your child’s head. The Nutcase dial-adjust is high-quality and easy to grab. It’s also placed low enough so that you don’t have to reach your fingers up inside the helmet to access it.
Older versions of the Nutcase Little Nutty came with a set of internal pads with varying thicknesses. You could swap out the pads to better accommodate variations in the length and width of your child’s head. These new Little Nutty helmets only come with one set of pads.
Pony Tail Hole
The pony tail hole built into the Nutcase Little Nutty really is a cool concept. Moving a high pony tail to a low pony tail just to put on a helmet is actually quite annoying! However, we found the placement of the hole to be a little lower than optimal for your average pony tail, which may require you to lower the pony tail anyways.
Additionally, it was pretty difficult to get a pony tail through the hole. For our tester with very thick hair, we couldn’t get it through at all. For our toddler tester with thinner hair, it was manageable, but still a bit of a pain. In the end, we wanted this feature to work so badly, but it just didn’t for us.
The interior pads of the Nutcase Little Nutty are sealed to trap sweat and prevent it from dripping down a child’s face, which is an upgrade from previous versions of this helmet. The padding covers the front, sides, rear, and top of the helmet. Unlike previous iterations of the Little Nutty, the 2020 version no longer comes with multiple sets of pads.
ABS Hardshell Construction
Dual-certified skater-style helmets are incredibly durable. The Nutcase shell is made with an injection molded ABS that won’t warp, crack, or come loose from the inner foam core. This outer shell covers the entire foam core, leaving none of the foam exposed to easy damage.
The downside of dual-certified helmets is that their extra durable construction makes them heavier. The Nutcase Little Nutty toddler helmet is 440 g. The Giro Scamp toddler helmet only weighs 260 g. When holding both in your hands, the weight is quite noticeable. However, the weight didn’t seem to bother our solid, athletic, almost 3-year-old tester. If your child is timid, petite, or has low neck strength, a lighter helmet like the Scamp may be a better option.
The removable visor is cute, but more for show than anything. It’s pretty short, so it doesn’t provide much protection from the sun or from face plants. We had issues with the visor on our older Little Nutty falling off frequently. This new Little Nutty has a redesigned visor that stays in place very well.
Integrated visors (that can’t be removed) are better at shielding faces from injury in the event of a crash, but the only dual-certified kids helmet to have one is the Thousand Jr.
As with all dual-certified helmets, the Little Nutty has fewer ventilation holes than a standard helmet, and kids’ heads get noticeably sweaty. If you’re only riding bikes and want a well-ventilated helmet, you may want to consider a standard helmet with more vents.
The Little Nutty has two additional features that make it hotter than some other helmets. First… while there are air flow vents in the helmet’s foam core, the MIPS plastic layer covers almost the entire interior layer of the helmet. While all MIPS helmets have some sort of plastic interior layer, many of them have cut-outs so that the entire interior of the helmet isn’t lined with plastic.
Additionally, the two front vents and the two rear vents are partially covered by the internal padding, which further limits ventilation.
Overall, venting is not great in the Little Nutty. Whether that’s a make-or-break for you will probably depend on the climate where you live and how long you’ll be riding. We used this helmet for trips to the skatepark in the middle of Texas summer. It was crazy hot, but our toddler didn’t complain.
With the fun and funky styles they crave and all the protection they need, the Nutcase Little Nutty is an adorable, durable helmet for toddlers, preschoolers and grade-schoolers. The MIPS brain protection system and dual-certification are huge bonuses for a parent’s ease of mind. Keep in mind that with limited vents, the Little Nutty is best for around town as it gets pretty sweaty during longer rides.
Check out other reviews of our favorite toddler helmets on our Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers page.