The Best Toddler Helmets (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Keep your child safe while they ride with these top-rated toddler helmets.
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BY Corrina Murdoch / LAST UPDATED ON November 13, 2020
Critical to safety, a high-quality toddler helmet is a necessary accessory for active children. Helmets serve to protect the child’s head from injury, absorbing impact, and preventing concussions. Given their important role in child safety, it’s critical to choose the best toddler helmet for your child. Ideally, it fits comfortably, includes sufficient padding, and has adjustable straps. Often, parents opt for colorful, or otherwise engaging, options to foster enthusiasm about safety.
Any child safety helmet should be approved by relevant safety associations, like the—U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)—verifying performance ability. Though a necessary piece of equipment, most people don’t realize that helmets are technically single-use items; meaning, they are designed to absorb a sharp blow just once. After that, their effectiveness diminishes significantly, and the helmet should be replaced. To help you find the best toddler helmet for the kids in your life, we’ve curated a list of the leading options along with some tips on how to choose the ideal fit.
Featuring a strong exterior and stylish design that comes in multiple colors, this bike helmet prioritizes safety without sacrificing comfort.
- Expanded polystyrene prevents injuries
- Meets safety standards set by the CPSC
- Breathable and lightweight structure
- Can be a bit bulky for kids
- Padding is somewhat rigid, which is safe though less comfortable
Low-profile yet entirely secure, this helmet uses modern materials to ensure safety. It is lightweight and meets all relevant safety standards.
- Design promotes airflow for comfort
- Polymer exterior and interior padding absorb shock
- Made to be heavy-duty yet lightweight
- Strap can be tricky to adjust
- Some reviewers claim the strap breaks
Effective and sturdy, this helmet features a powerful shell that protects against injuries. It comes in several bright-colored options to keep toddlers interested.
- Meets all CPSC standards
- Includes comfortable interior padding
- Adjustable strap lets you customize the fit
- May run small
- Requires some breaking in to achieve a comfortable fit
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Benefits of Toddler Helmets
- Protect against impact. The main benefit of a toddler helmet is that it protects against impact. While riders of all ages need to shield against injuries, toddlers are especially prone to falls. A proper helmet ensures that their head and neck are safe.
- Foster appreciation of safety. When children grow up knowing the importance of a helmet, it becomes a routine later in life. This encourages safe behavior both while riding as a young child and as an adult.
- Lightweight yet heavy-duty. These helmets are designed to accommodate the neck, head shape, and strength of children. By balancing tough materials with a light enough design, toddlers can wear them with ease.
- Breathe well. Helmets for toddlers are designed to prevent overheating and sweating. The airflow doesn’t impact the tensile strength letting the child stay secure and comfortable.
- Grow with the child. Most toddler helmets accommodate youth wearers as well. The helmet’s straps are adjustable, letting your toddler continue to wear it as they age. Bear in mind that, even if a single impact incident occurs, the helmet no longer offers a viable level of protection and must be replaced.
- Design follows strict standards. Especially for new parents, having a reliable source of information is essential. There are agencies, such as the CPSC, which set forth design standards for toddler helmets. These include acceptable materials and necessary features.
Types of Toddler Helmets
Helmets specifically designed for children that are five years old or younger have quite a few identifying traits. The first is that, in most cases, they are rounded and tend to be smooth in design. All of these helmets must meet all CPSC standards to be viable. Other features include additional padding at the back of the helmet to protect developing skulls and more vulnerable parts of the neck.
This type of helmet is often found in a hybrid style between toddler structure and an adult road helmet for bike riding. By incorporating aerodynamic features, such as an elongated front, the toddler faces less resistance at higher speeds. Typically, these helmets are constructed using a high-grade polymer that expands upon impact. This foam material meets a hard external shell, so the rider gets maximum protection from impact.
While toddlers aren’t likely to be commuting any time soon, this helmet design remains prevalent. Though the term is relatively new, the design isn’t—it looks like a toddler/children’s helmet in the sleek, rounded design. However, there is increased ventilation across the whole structure. Like other helmets, these are crafted using EPS and a hard polymer exterior. Usually, these helmets are comfortable to wear and offer a lot of protection at the back of the skull.
Primarily focusing on products for children and families, Joovy has become an important name in safety gear. With everything from helmets to strollers, it was created by a family-focused father looking to make the world safer for children. A top product from this brand is the Joovy Noodle Helmet.
Though this Los Angeles-based company is relatively new, its unique designs have rapidly grown in popularity. With uniquely-styled helmets that balance flair and function, the company uses three-dimensional technology to set itself apart. One of its most popular offerings is the Raskullz Mohawk Toddler Helmet.
Toddler Helmet Pricing
- Under $20: Helmets in this price range tend to be reasonably simple. Meeting CPSC regulations, they feature a basic design with a simple shell and padding.
- Between $20 and $50: In this range, you can find added padding, better adjustability, and more color and style options. Usually, there is more ventilation, as well.
- $50 and up: Helmets at this price point usually incorporate some additional design features such as animals or popular film characters. These helmets are stylish, high-functioning, and durable.
Before you look at any other feature, the first thing to ensure is that the helmet meets all relevant CPSC safety standards, meaning that the helmet has been tested against impact from various angles. Using a measured force in excess of what is common to toddler falls, you can be sure that the helmet is safe. It is a matter of materials (EPS, polymer shell, etc.) and the strap's quality.
The next thing to look at is the interior padding. While the outside of the helmet is made of foam, the inside is constructed using precisely placed padding that serves multiple purposes—it adds comfort, secures the helmet in place, and stops it from moving around while the toddler wears it. The padding should be thick enough to be effective but not so thick as to compromise the fit.
The shell comprises two parts: the first is the expanding polystyrene foam, which is specifically crafted to absorb impact. It disperses the force over the whole helmet and keeps it away from the skull. The outer part of the shell is made out of a rigid polymer. Keep in mind that, once the EPS has expanded with impact, the helmet must be replaced.
For toddlers, especially, comfort is important to get them to cooperate and wear the helmet consistently. Air can easily enter with selectively placed openings along the helmet to prevent sweat and keep the head cool. With proper airflow, the helmet won’t lead to itching or skin irritation.
The part where the helmet closes is also an essential feature. Be sure that the buckle is easy to use and provides a reliable hold. It should also prevent pinching. In terms of the strap, it should be attached firmly to the helmet itself. You should be able to adjust it easily, and once it’s in position, it shouldn’t slide or slip.
- Size: For the helmet to be effective for your toddler, finding the proper fit is essential. Use a measuring tape to get an accurate reading of the head circumference. Consult the sizing chart for each helmet and make sure it fits. Some padding takes a bit of time to break in, but the important part is that the shell is the right size.
- Weight: Toddlers' necks aren't as strong as those of older children (or adults), so it's important to consider the weight of the helmet itself. Depending on the child, you will want to opt for something lighter. It adds comfort and helps promote proper posture and focus while they ride. Keep in mind that helmets with added bells and whistles tend to be heavier than more simplistic models.
- Purpose: Think about when your child is going to be using the helmet. Are they fond of bike riding, or do they use a helmet for a scooter? Depending on how they plan to use the helmet, you will want something lighter, better ventilated, and more comfortable. Shorter treks (which are more common for toddlers) are less demanding in this regard.
- Durability: Of course, if the EPS foam is activated, the helmet is no longer effective. However, there are other sides to the durability that ought to be considered. The first is the strap: choose something with firm attachments that won't fray. Pick something with an exterior shell that isn't prone to scratching to avoid aesthetic issues down the line.
- Maintenance: Though helmets are relatively low-maintenance, there are some things to consider (especially for long-term use). Make sure the padding is removable and easy to wash and wipe down. Identify the cleaning needs to make sure that the helmet isn't too demanding.
- Style: Choose something that will get your toddler excited to wear it and enthusiastic about safety. Consider getting something that comes in the child’s favorite color or design so they will appreciate it all the more.
Best Toddler Helmet Reviews & Recommendations in 2021
- Check the size of your child’s head against the helmet’s sizing chart before making your purchase.
- Adjust the strap before the child rides every single time. Toddlers grow quickly, and this prevents fitting issues.
- Wash the helmet as needed to prevent issues with the buckles and the vents.
- For younger toddlers, practice wearing the helmet before they start riding.
- Communicate the importance of the helmet with your child. It will help make sure they keep the helmet on when out of sight.
- Brush out or tie up hair when wearing the helmet to prevent perspiration issues and problems with chafing.
- Look at the chin strap placement and ensure that it won’t irritate—the strap needs to be tight but still enable airflow.
- When you buckle the clasp, be careful about pinching the skin on your toddler’s chin.
- Most importantly, if the helmet suffers an impact, the ABS material will not be effective a second time. Replace it immediately.
Q: What are the best helmets for toddlers?
The best helmets for toddlers meet all safety specifications as set forth by the CPSC. They should have sufficient ventilation and interior padding. The helmet should have an adjustable strap, ABS foam, and a firm external shell. One of the top selections is the Team Obsidian Kids Bike Helmet.
Q: How do I choose a bike helmet for a toddler?
First, ensure that the bike helmet meets all safety standards. Then, check the size of the helmet to be sure that it fits. Look at features like the strap, the padding, and the external shell (ABS plastic is a reliable go-to). From there, pick a color and design.
Q: Should a toddler wear a helmet on a balance bike?
Anytime a toddler is doing an activity that risks falling, a helmet is in order. The good thing about toddler helmets is that they work on everything, including kids scooters and bikes. Early helmet use encourages the habit in later life. Plus, it prevents the risk of injury during this developmental stage.
Now that you’re familiar with the nuances of toddler helmets, you can make your pick. It could be the quality of the Team Obsidian Kids Bike Helmet or the value of the Kamugo Adjustable Helmet For Kids.