Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers

Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers

June 22, 2017

Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers

Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers
Whether hopping on a seat on your bike or on their own two wheels, these five bike helmets will keep your tot safe and cool this summer.Best Bike Helmets for Toddlers

First thing’s first: A bicycle helmet can only do it’s job if it fits.

When used properly, helmets reduce severe and fatal head injuries. During a fall or collision, a lot of the impact energy is absorbed by the helmet, rather than your brain. That’s why every rider in the family needs one, including us grown-ups.

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 under one are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle. Be sure to know the legal lay of the land in your area before hitting the road.

How Do You Know a Helmet is the Real Deal?

Bicycle helmets sold in the United States must meet a uniform safety standard, issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. (Look for the label indicating it meets CPSC criteria.)

Many high-end helmet manufacturers are upping the ante on safety by incorporating a Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). This “slip-plane” design allows the energy from the crash impact to be absorbed by the helmet regardless of the direction or angle of the impact. Helmets with MIPS are pricier, but many parents say it’s worth the extra peace of mind. Here’s a fascinating video that explains how MIPS works.

The 411 on Size and Fit

Take a cue from Goldilocks and buy your tot a helmet that’s not too big, not too small, but just right. You want it to be sturdy, yet lightweight, and have plenty of vent holes for air circulation because a hot, sweaty toddler is not a fun cycling companion. Since this isn’t a one-size-fits-all purchase, you’ll need to measure your little one’s head circumference (one inch above their eyebrows) with a soft tape measure or string to determine the right helmet and fit. Toddlers love sitting completely still and cooperating, so this should be a total breeze, right? Turn to your best bribery tricks to keep tots distracted while you get an accurate measurement.

A helmet should fit squarely on top of the head in a level position, covering the top of the forehead down to an inch above the eyebrows. It shouldn’t slide back and forth or from side to side. The true toddler test: it won’t budge during a tantrum.

Many helmets have an internal adjust system to provide added protection. The most common type has a dial in the back that turns an internal cage to securely fit your child’s (ever-growing) head. And don’t overlook the chin strap and strap sliders—they also play a big role in keeping the helmet snug. The straps should come to a “v” below your kiddo’s ear. Just beware… nothing starts a ride off on the wrong foot quite like a chin pinch. Luckily, several helmet makers have developed pinch-free buckles (phew).

How We Chose our Best Picks

We surveyed thousands of Babylist families about the toddler helmets they love the most. These are the top products they shared, plus our own research and insight.

For the Littlest Rider

Why We Love It

Your toddler will be sitting pretty and safely while sporting the Lazer BOB. Babylist parents are big fans of the playful designs and smart features like the 360 reflective material for high visibility, removable soft pads and neck reinforcement for extra support. It comes in one size (46-52 cm) with a Comfit3 Retention System in the back to adjust for a secure fit as your little one grows.

Keep in Mind

BOB stands for “baby on board” and was designed with the littlest riders in mind. The back is flat, so kiddos can sit comfortably against a bike seat or bike trailer. Overall, it’s a great starter helmet at a great price.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Fits smaller head circumference than others I’ve looked at.” -Alison B.

Additional Specs

Construction: Hardshell

Size: Toddler Unisize (46-52 cm)

Weight: 277 g

Vents: 6

Comfort Trifecta

Why We Love It

The Giro Scamp 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 (XS and S) and grows with your kiddo from balance bikes to adventures on training wheels. Thanks to the ease of use and awesome design options, this is the helmet your kiddo won’t put up a fight about wearing. Other useful features: a built-in visor, pinch-guard buckle and ponytail-friendly design.

Keep in Mind

The Scamp is $35 and is also available with the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System for $55.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Fits well, and able to adjust as my kid grows. Comfortable enough that my son insists on wearing it around the house most days.” -Meredith O.

Additional Specs

Construction: In-mold polycarbonate shell with EPS Liner

Size: XS and S (The XS fits 45 - 49cm and the S fits 49 - 53cm)

Vents: 8

Skater Style

Why We Love It

Another great pick for your biking co-pilot is the Baby Nutty by Nutcase. (There couldn’t be a more perfect name for a helmet designed for toddlers.) The skater-style offers even more noggin coverage for 12-36 month olds, while the flat back surface rests comfortably against a bike seat or trailer.

Toddler-friendly features include: an elastic fit system (rather than a dial), a magnetic buckle with a soft, fleece lined buckle pad, netting over the front vent holes for bug blockage and 3mm and 6mm pads for a secure fit. These helmets come in a variety of funky patterns that’ll turn heads while keeping your tot’s head protected.

Keep in Mind

There are no side vents, which can amp up the sweat factor in hot weather, so be prepared for helmet hair.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It fits my son very well. Adjustable and lightweight, but protective.” - Melody B.

Additional Specs

Construction: Inmold PC shell with protective EPS foam

Size: Baby Nutty XXS fits 47cm - 50cm (FYI: The Little Nutty is available for 3-6 year olds and fits 48cm-52cm)

Weight: 9.9oz / 280g

Vents: 11

Super Cool

Why We Love It

The Joovy Noodle is a solid choice (pun intended) for 1-4 year olds. It offers excellent coverage, protection and comfort with a simple, sleek design. The adjustable dial ensures a custom fit on every ride. There are plenty of 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.

Keep in Mind

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.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Fits well. Looks cute. Gets the job done. Wasn’t too expensive.” -Patricia H.

Additional Specs

Construction: Hardshell

Size: One Size: 18.5 - 20.5 inches (47-52 cm)

Weight: 0.5 lbs

Vents: 14

Ready for the Mountains

Why We Love It

Got MIPS? This mountain bike style helmet (available with or without MIPS technology) turns a spin around the cul-de-sac into a great adventure. Their adjuster system is called Ergo Fit (which used to be ErgoDial) and has a new and improved dial function that doesn’t require a push to turn. A pinch-guard buckle, built-in visor and excellent lower head coverage combine for a seriously cool, safe helmet.

Keep in Mind

At almost 12 ounces, this is heavier than the other helmets featured in our guide. It’s marketed as a “child helmet,” but will fit toddlers whose heads measure in the 47-54cm range. It’s a great choice for kids riding balance bikes and beyond.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Fit a very large-headed baby, very adjustable and has lasted from age 1 to 3.” - Sarah

Additional Specs

Construction: Fusion In-Mold Polycarbonate Shell

Size: Size Universal Child fits 47-54cm

Weight: 314 g

Vents: 15


Jessica Solloway is a writer and digital content strategist. From start-ups to global brands, she helps companies tell their stories online. She regularly contributes to websites including weeSpring, The Muse, Mommy Nearest, and Motherly, among others. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two little girls.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content.