Three Bike Helmets for Three Kid Age Groups

Features to look for when choosing a helmet for kids, from toddler to teenager.

small kid on a bicycle with a helmet
If you get a child to wear a bike helmet at an early age, there’s a greater chance they’ll wear one the rest of their life.Joovy

As of this writing, 37 states have laws governing the use of helmets by bicycle riders. Many of those laws target kids. And for good reason—if there’s one thing many kids are good at, it’s getting into mishaps. Even if you live in a state that does not have a helmet law, you may still want your child to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle or doing anything else that could result in a head injury.

No matter if the helmet is for a toddler or a teenager, there are several factors to consider when choosing one—and those factors differ from age group to age group. Here’s a guide to finding the best helmet for your child.

Helmets for 1- to 4-year-old kids

Joovy Noodle Helmet
Joovy Noodle helmets completely cover the back of the head and have a sturdy visor to protect against front falls.Joovy

Very young kids don’t have excellent coordination and reaction time, so it’s important to get a helmet that will fully protect all areas of their heads. Look for a helmet that covers the occipital area to protect them during a backwards fall, as well as one with a visor that will protect their faces if they fall forward. Extra pads and an adjustable head strap are helpful, because you’ll need to adjust the fit of the helmet as the child grows (which will also save you the cost of buying a new helmet every year or so).

Helmets for 5- to 8-year-old kids

Raskullz Digital Camo Mohawk Helmet
The ridges on the Raskullz Digital Camo Mohawk helmets light up, either flashing or as a steady glow.Raskullz

Kids in this age group are becoming more aware of themselves and their appearance, so it’s important to choose a helmet that they’ll like and want to wear, instead of one that they’ll be reluctant to wear (and possibly try to take off) because it’s for “little kids.” Manufacturers have come up with some pretty creative designs to accomplish this, including helmets that light up. Such helmets offer additional safety if your child will be out in dim conditions.

Helmets for 8- to 14-year-old kids

Razor V-17 Youth Multi-Sport Helmet
Razor V-17 helmets feature 17 front and side vents, and have easily adjustable straps.Razor

As kids get older, their physical activities tend to become faster and more strenuous. That means they need helmets that are designed for performance. Look for a strong helmet that provides a secure and comfortable fit by being easily size-adjustable, has enough vents so that the child wearing it won’t get so hot that he or she will consider removing it, and is streamlined for a sporty (non-clunky) look.