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Best children’s helmets: top picks of kids' cycling helmets for every age

Joseph Delves
13 Jun 2021

Looking for the best bike helmet for your child? We’ve rounded up our favourites.

Looking for the best bike helmet for your child? We’ve rounded up some of our favourites. Happily, just like adult helmets, each of them will have passed the same safety standards meaning the protection offered is likely to be similar regardless of how much you spend. What you’ll pay extra for are features and styling.

Prices range from £10 to £45, and the products here cover children from toddlers to early teens. We’ve looked for the same features we would in an adult helmet, plus touches that make things easier for adults, like no-pinch buckles or enhanced child seat compatibility.

While the focus here is on cycling, these helmets are also suitable for when transporting kids in a trailer or child seat, along with other wheeled activities like roller skating or scooter riding.

Please note suggested age ranges are for a rough guide only. The best method to gauge size is to wrap a flexible tape measure around the widest part of your child's head to determine their exact size.

Best children’s helmets: kids' cycling helmets

1. Abus Smiley 2.1 Kids’ Helmet

With pretty looks and excellent features, we’ve always been fans of Abus’ kid's helmets. Their combination of clever design and quality production invariably results in helmets that are light, well-fitting and compact.

On the Smiley 2.1 an in-mould construction and good ergonomics achieve most of this by themselves.

The little buckles on the straps seem both neat and easy to adjust, while the retention system promises to be secure and simple to dial-down. The helmet also includes an integrated LED light located on the wheel that tightens it, adding illumination to the most prominent part of the rider.

Even on the smaller of the two available sizes, the vents should mean airflow is also far better than will likely be required on a helmet aimed at such young riders. All round, a very nice product.

Size: 45-50cm & 50-55cm Approx age-range: 12-months to 3.5 years, 3.5 to 8 years Special features: Rear LED light

2. Bern Nino 2.0 Mips Kids' Helmet

The second generation of Bern's Nino helmet is absolutely packed with features to make your child's ride safer and more comfortable.

The biggest talking point is the addition of Mips, the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System seen in the majority of good quality helmets in cycling, climbing, horse riding, snowsports, motorcycling and even in construction, that protects against harsh rotations in a crash, providing important protection for the brain. 

On top of that it has Bern's EZ-Fit system that allows for hassle-free adjustments, 13 air vents to stop overheating on summer rides and a removable flip visor to help keep out the sun.

What's more, if you don't fancy this space design, it comes in black, lime, pink and shark (which looks incredible).

Size: 51.5-54.5cm Special features: Mips; EZ-Fit; Quickmount light compatible; removable flip visor.

3. Btwin 500 Kids’ Helmet

Bearing in mind how all helmets are subject to the same safety standards, there’s a good argument for not overspending on something that’ll inevitably get grown out of. It’s an idea Btwin makes even easier to agree to thanks to this nice looking helmet that costs just a tenner.

Its minimalist styling is enhanced by an integrated peak formed from the front of the helmet itself. Four chunky vents should keep its interior cool, while the simple twist-to-tighten retention system comfortably secures the helmet in place.

Coming in five bright shades and two sizes, there should be something to suit all tastes along with models to fit children across a range of ages.

Size: 48-52cm & 53-56cm Special features: N/a

4. Lazer Lil’Gekko Kids’ Helmet

Getting toward the top end of what you can spend on a small lid, this radical helmet from Lazer goes big on styling. Easily cool enough for the toughest of tots, its drop-down sides and rear protection mirrors that found on more aggressive adult helmets.

Perfect if your child is already taking to the trails or skatepark, its visor is equally cool and should serve to keep the sun out of young eyes.

Unsurprisingly for a company that makes some of the best adult helmets, the Lazer Autofit Retention System is excellent and instantly auto-adjusts to the wearer’s head size.

A feature that promises to be just as comfy and quick to fit is the Comfort Buckle which connects under the ear to prevent accidental pinching when fastening the strap.

Size: 46-50cm Approx age-range: 12 months to 4 years Special features: No-pinch buckle

5. Met Elfo Kids' Helmet

Met has poured a lot of effort into creating this superbly ergonomic children's helmet, which is aimed at the youngest riders. Fitting heads between 46-53cm, it’s specifically designed not to put pressure on the fontanelle, which is the fragile part of a young child’s head where the bones have yet to fuse.

Also suiting young riders is the Elfo’s ability to fit well when used in conjunction with a child seat. Partly thanks to its low volume, a facet of its one-piece in-mould design, it should allow your child to sit straight in their chair, without additional stress being put on their neck or shoulders.

Topped off with an integrated rear LED light, neat straps and insect-filtering vents, it’s a well thought out helmet for early years riding along with a great choice for when you’ll be doing the pedalling too.

Size: 46-53cm Approx age-range: 12 months to 7 years Special features: Rear LED Light

6. Hornit Lazy Llama

A skate-style helmet with a few neat additional features. Plus llamas! Available in two sizes to help you get a good fit, unlike some helmets of this style, the Hornit has a proper adjustable retention system. This not only means that it will adjust as your child grows, but that they’ll always enjoy a more secure fit, with less potential for unwanted movement. On the back of the dial that adjusts this, there’s also a bright red LED light to help your kid stay visible.

Unlike some helmets that use a lighter in-mould design, the Hornit employs a thicker outer shell. While this won’t make it any more protective, this style of design is a little less prone to damage if treated roughly, something kids often manage.

Of course, the trade-off is weight, while ventilation is also less than on some alternatives. Still, for racing around in the park, it’s a good bet.

Size: 48-53cm & 54-58cm Special features: Rear LED light 

7. Specialized Shuffle Kids' Helmet

A cool looking option from a brand known for making excellent adult helmets. This mid-priced helmet scales down both the sizing and features you’d expect to find on a quality adult model.

First up, it features an in-moulded shell, meaning the interior foam and the hard outer shell are bonded in a single piece. Improving strength and reducing weight, it’s partly why the helmet manages to be relatively svelte.

Secondly, the helmet’s straps include something Specialized calls the Tri-Fix web splitter. This clever bridge connects the three bits of straps just below the ear. Leaving them far less likely to get twisted, it should be both comfier and make it easier to get the helmet on perfectly each time.

With neat looking graphics and bold colours, reflecting detailing is a nice final touch.

Size: 50-55cm Approx age-range: 3 to 8 years Special features: Neat straps

8. Bell Lil Ripper Kids’ Helmet

Skate-style helmets work just as well for BMX riders as they do young commuters. With wearing a conventional style helmet considered a fashion faux pas by some, this cool skatepark-friendy design might well be just the thing your child is after. We’ve selected this Bell model as it provides a far better feature-set than some more basic designs.

First, its in-mould polycarbonate shell allows for a supremely low overall weight. That should make it far less noticeable on the head than cheaper alternatives. This quality is enhanced by an above-average retention system.

While many skate-style designs rely on crude padding to provide retention, this helmet instead has a streamlined fit system that offers an adjustable, secure fit with the turn of a dial.

Also featuring a range of 10 vents, it’ll keep your child fresh no matter how radical their antics. Thanks to its wide 47-54cm size range, it should last a good few years too. 

Size: 47-54cm Approx age-range: 3 to 8 years Special features: Skatepark style

9. Giro Tremor Kids’ Helmet

This aggressive mountain bike helmet from Giro is cool enough to settle any debates over whether to wear a helmet on not. Nicking wholesale the styling of the brand’s adult enduro range, if your child is into jumps, skids and wheelies, this is the one to pick.

Like its adult siblings, it features an in-mould construction and Roc Loc Sport fit system. With extended protection down the sides and at the back, it offers increased cover in the event of an off-road tumble. 18 separate vents mean it should be easily breezy enough for longer and more athletic rides.

With a removable visor, quick-dry padding and reflective details, it’s basically an adult helmet in miniature. And a very covetable one at that.

Size: 50-57cm Approx age-range: 4 years to small adult Special features: Extra ventilation

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