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Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers
Updated on
January 4, 2024

Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers

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Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers.
Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers

Watching your little one venture out on their first scooter or bike ride is pretty amazing. There’s one thing you won’t want to leave home without, though: a toddler bike helmet.

While your little one may care more about things like style and color, safety should be your top priority when shopping for the best toddler bike helmet. Understanding how to properly fit your toddler for a bike helmet, what safety and comfort features to look for and the importance of these various features are critical in keeping your tiniest rider safe out on the road.

Why Do You Need a Toddler Bike Helmet?

Bike helmets reduce severe and fatal head injuries when used properly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During a fall or collision, a helmet—rather than your little one’s brain—will absorb the impact energy. That’s why every rider in the family needs one, including adults.

While there isn’t a federal law requiring children to wear helmets, many states and cities have implemented their own legislation to protect little passengers. In New York State, for example, kids 13 and younger are mandated to wear a helmet, while California’s bike helmet laws cover kids 17 and under. States like Minnesota, Ohio, Vermont and Wyoming have no bike helmet laws in place. Check the bicycle helmet use laws in your state before heading out on a ride.

Toddler Bike Helmet Safety Features

Overwhelmed by safety features? Remember this: All helmets sold in the U.S. are safe.

“All helmets sold in the United States must meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard and state that on a sticker inside,” says Randy Swart, Director of the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.

There’s more good news around helmet pricing, as a more expensive helmet doesn’t necessarily mean a safer helmet. A study by the Bicycle Helmet and Safety Institute showed virtually no difference in impact protection between cheaper and more expensive helmets.

“More expensive does not equal safer,” explains Shushanna Mignott, Program Director at Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries. “As long as your child’s helmet meets the U.S. CPSC standards and is worn properly, you’re good to go.”

So what toddler bike helmet features do matter? Sturdy yet lightweight construction is something to look for, as well as vents for air circulation. MIPS—the Multi-directional Impact Protection System—is another safety feature you may want to consider. This “slip-plane” design allows energy from a crash impact to be absorbed by the helmet regardless of the direction or angle of the impact. But the most important feature when shopping for the best toddler bike helmet is fit.

A bicycle helmet can only do its job if it fits. A bike helmet isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it’s not a one-and-done purchase either, thanks to how fast toddlers grow. You’ll likely cycle through a few helmets for your little one during the baby, toddler and kid years and will want to pay attention after a growth spurt to ensure your little one’s helmet is still fitting properly.

How to Fit a Toddler Bike Helmet

“A properly-fitted helmet is the best way to prevent serious head injuries,” according to Mignott. All toddler bike helmets come with a head circumference range, so your toddler’s head size is the first thing you should focus on when fitting them for a helmet. Use a soft tape measure to measure your child’s head at about an inch above their eyebrows (the thickest part of the head). The size range of the helmet you choose should correspond with this measurement.

Next, do a fit test. According to Safe Kids, the correct helmet for your toddler should:

  • Sit on top of the head in a level position;
  • Not rock forward, backward or side to side;
  • Have helmet straps that are always buckled, but not too tightly.

Safe Kids also recommends the following three-point checklist:

  • EYES check. Position the helmet on your toddler’s head. Have them look up—they should be able to see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger widths above their eyebrows.
  • EARS check. Make sure the straps of the helmet form a “V” under your toddler’s ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • MOUTH check. Ask your toddler to open their mouth as wide as they can. Does the helmet hug their head? If not, tighten the straps and make sure the buckle is flat against their skin.

Are there bike helmets for infants?

Yes, there are bike helmets for infants, many made from a soft-shell exterior so they’re not too heavy for a smaller child’s neck. But keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend helmets or bike traveling for babies younger than one-year-old due to their relatively weak neck structure.

Do You Need to Replace a Bike Helmet After a Crash?

You’ll need to replace your toddler’s bike helmet in the event of a crash, even if there’s no visible damage. It’s also not advised to purchase a secondhand helmet.

“Never buy a used helmet from garage sales, flea markets, secondhand stores or online,” explains Mignott. That’s because you don’t know the complete history of the helmet.

How We Chose Our Best Toddler Bike Helmets

We used information from experts along with bike helmet safety and performance information and combined that with our own research and insight to choose the best toddler bike helmets for your little rider.

Best Toddler Bike Helmet with MIPS

What Our Experts Think

The Giro Scamp MIPS is lightweight, easy to adjust and comfortable: a winning trifecta. The Roc Loc Jr. fit system aligns with the curvature of your child’s head and has a rubberized adjustment knob that’s a cinch for parents to securely tighten. The Scamp comes in two sizes and grows with your kiddo from balance bike to adventures on training wheels. Other useful features: a built-in visor, pinch-guard buckle and ponytail-friendly design.

What’s Worth Considering

The Scamp MIPS comes in two size, extra small for younger toddlers and small for older toddlers. If you’re looking to spend a little less, a version of the Scamp without MIPS is available for $35.

Additional Specs
Sizes X-Small (45-49 cm), Small (49-53 cm)

Most Stylish Toddler Bike Helmet

What Our Experts Think

There couldn’t be a more perfect name for a helmet designed for toddlers. This skater-style helmet protects little noggins—and looks super cool while doing it thanks to all the fun colors and designs. The Nutcase is packed with features including MIPS for extra protection, a lightweight outer shell and EPS foam pads designed specifically for toddlers. The magnetic closure system is easy to open and close and the chin clasp is covered in soft padding so it’s comfy for little chins. There’s also a built-in fit system and 360 degrees of reflectivity for added safety.

What’s Worth Considering

When your toddler outgrows the baby size, there’s a Little Nutty for older toddlers.

Additional Specs
Sizes Baby (48-52 cm)

Added Safety, Self-Adjusts

What Our Experts Think

This toddler bike helmet has a few tech- and safety-forward features that are worth a look. While it doesn’t feature MIPS, it does have a KinetiCore safety system—Lazer’s version of the MIPS technology. This impact protection tech is built right into the helmet and features crumple zones to absorb the force of both direct and rotational impacts. There’s also a really unique fit system called EZ Fit: simply open it, put the helmet on and it automatically adjusts to the proper fit for your tiny rider. (Genius!)

What’s Worth Considering

While lots of parents love the ease of the EZ Fit system, some report that it can be a bit unpredictable and doesn’t always provide the correct fit for all head sizes and shapes. Check the retailer’s return policy in case you’re worried this may be an issue for you.

Additional Specs
Sizes X-Small (46-52 cm)

Best Bike Helmet for Younger Toddlers

What Our Experts Think

Well-priced and packed with safety features, it’s no wonder the Schwinn Classic is the bestselling baby and toddler bike helmet on Amazon. The easy-turn dial makes adjusting the helmet for the correct fit quick and easy. The helmet is lightweight, and there’s full-coverage padding on the inside and lots of vents for added comfort. You’ll also get an integrated visor perfect for biking or scooting on sunny days.

What’s Worth Considering

This Schwinn helmet has one of the lowest fit ranges of any on our list, starting at 44 centimeters, so it’s an option for even the littlest rider. Keep in mind, though, it does not feature MIPS.

Additional Specs
Sizes X-Small (44-50 cm)

Another Popular Pick

What Our Experts Think

The Joovy Noodle is another solid, bestselling toddler bike helmet for kids from around one to four years old. It offers excellent coverage, protection and comfort with a simple, sleek design. The adjustable dial ensures a custom fit on every ride, and there are plenty of comfort features like cooling vents (14!), a soft pad under the chin strap, bug netting over the front vents and an extended visor. The Noodle is available in a range of cheery colors.

What’s Worth Considering

Fumbling around with a chin strap is clearly not an option with a fidgety toddler. The Noodle’s bright red clips make it easy for time-pressed parents to get the helmet on and off. Also note that this helmet doesn’t feature MIPS.

Additional Specs
Sizes Small (47-52 cm)

Best Affordable Toddler Bike Helmet

What Our Experts Think

This affordable toddler bike helmet offers extended rear coverage, seven vents for comfort and a patented Pinch Guard technology that makes getting the helmet on (and off) a tear-free event. The True Fit System is easy to adjust so you’ll be able to find the proper fit quickly, and the helmet size works for older babies and younger toddlers. (Bell recommends the helmet for ages one through three, but be sure to measure your child’s head to be sure it will fit properly before ordering.)

What’s Worth Considering

Bell makes plenty of helmets for older toddlers, too. The Toddler Zoomer is a popular choice and fits head sizes 48 to 52 centimeters. The Shadow is a more affordable option that fits the same head sizes.

Additional Specs
Sizes Small (47-52 cm)

Best Customizable Toddler Bike Helmet

What Our Experts Think

A little retro, a little modern and a lot cool. This vintage-inspired toddler bike helmet from Thousand is a fun—and safe—pick for your little rider. A few of the things we love include a magnetic buckle, an adjustable dial for just the right fit, a built-in visor and fixed side straps that help keep the helmet centered in place. Another super fun feature? Every helmet comes with a pack of removable, reflective stickers so your toddler can make the helmet their own.

What’s Worth Considering

This helmet is on the heavier side when compared to other toddler bike helmets.

Additional Specs
Sizes 49-53 cm

Best Mohawk Toddler Bike Helmet

What Our Experts Think

Have a wild child? (Or a dino lover?) This mohawk helmet is both funky and safe. It features a two-inch tall bendable 3D mohawk and a glow-in-the-dark dino print. It’s recommended for older toddlers, around three to five years old, but be sure to measure since helmet fit is based on size rather than age.

What’s Worth Considering

This helmet doesn’t feature any venting, so if your little one runs hot, this may not be the best choice. There’s also no visor.

Additional Specs
Sizes 48-52 cm
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