LAST UPDATED: November 13, 2020
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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PUBLISHED 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
A classic bike helmet, the Team Obsidian Kids Bike Helmet is an ideal choice overall. Designed for children between the ages of three and seven, the helmet includes sufficient padding for comfort. Approved by the CPSC, it meets all necessary safety standards to reassure you of its performance. The helmet incorporates great ventilation that’s ideal for active wearers, especially in summer. Lightweight by design, it fits comfortably on younger wearers without adding neck strain. You can remove the padding inside the helmet to create an optimal fit as your child grows. Including a visor for sun protection, the unit holds firmly in place through the adjustable straps.
Though this helmet is tough, it can be on the bulkier side. Ensure that the child can support the extra size while they ride to foster a more pleasant experience.
Certified safe by the CPSC, this helmet features a polystyrene shell that expands with impact to absorb shock better. The sturdy design is meant to last over the long term, providing security against the risk of head injuries. Offering an optimal fit for children between the ages of 3 and 8, this product can stay with your toddler as they age. With adjustable straps that go firmly under the chin, it’s easy to secure the helmet in place for active toddlers. Available in a wide variety of colors, these valuable helmets offer an ideal balance of comfort and function.
Despite the friendly price point of this helmet, there might be a few hiccups along the way. It can be tricky to adjust the strap. However, as long as you take the time to do it right, the helmet will work well.
Ideally suited for children up to the age of 3, this helmet fits well on heads with a circumference anywhere between 17 1/2 inches and 19 3/4 inches. The helmet’s interior is fully padded with a Styrofoam material to absorb impact. The soft padding is adjustable—along with the straps—so that you can create a cozy fit for your toddler. Lightweight and well-ventilated, these helmets are easy to wear on long treks without irritating sensitive skin. The teddy bear design on the exterior may appeal to kids and help them excited about wearing safety gear. Considering the maneuverable padding and breathable interior, these helmets keep comfort a priority without forgoing safety.
While this helmet is a solid choice, it won’t necessarily grow with the child. The helmet is definitely only geared towards toddlers and is best suited for kids under three.
Extremely lightweight, this helmet incorporates a strong outer shell and a cushioned interior for safety. The matte exterior comes in many different colors, depending on personal style. Ideally suited to kids ranging from three to eight years of age, these helmets are excellent for older toddlers. The helmet includes a handy sizing chart to ensure you adjust the straps for maximum safety. Made with an EPS core for expanding protection upon impact, the helmet buffers any shock and keeps your child safe. The ventilation allows the scalp to breathe during playtime for added comfort. The helmet creates a lightweight wearing experience while ensuring optimal protection since it weighs less than 13 ounces.
While this helmet is very lightweight, it does mean that there is somewhat less padding on the interior. Though it is well-ventilated, it can still cause some scratches if the child has skin sensitivities.
Rated for older toddlers, wearers as young as 3 years old benefit from the protective features and flashy appearance. Certified by both the ASTM and CPSC, the PVC exterior shell is durable and scratch-resistant. Inside the helmet, polystyrene foam expands upon impact to prevent head injuries. Fitting a wide range of head sizes, the unit accommodates 18- to 20-inch head circumferences. The adjustable straps let you keep the helmet firmly in place, regardless of how vigorously the child moves. Using attractive prints such as zebras, dinosaurs, and skulls, the products offer bold designs to help make safety appealing to children.
Although this helmet has a unique style, it is somewhat bulky to store, and the mohawk is vulnerable to damage. While it won’t impede the function in any way, it can compromise the aesthetics.
Achieving a certification from the CPSC, this helmet meets all the necessary safety standards. While it comes in three sizes, only the smallest is suitable for toddlers. It works on heads as little as 18.9 inches around. The shell's exterior is made of a tough plastic while the interior is constructed using the industry-standard EPS foam. Around the helmet, there are small air vents to promote circulation and improve breathability. With a dial component that lets you adjust the strap effortlessly, your child can grow with this helmet for quite some time. All parts of the construct are sturdy and built to last, making it a solid choice overall.
Keep in mind that, while this helmet is tough, the inside is thin enough to wear down through washing and drying. For best results, clean it by hand and leave it to air dry.
This helmet is suitable for kids between the ages of three and eight. A great helmet for older toddlers, this helmet incorporates a lot of ventilation to promote comfort. Working well for all types of activities, this simple helmet is suitable for scooters and biking alike and meets all relevant CPSC safety standards. The exterior is made out of heavy-duty plastic, and the inner shell is constructed of the standard EPS foam. With padding that's easy to remove and replace, it's easy to keep this helmet in good condition. The helmet is both comfortable and lightweight and can fit heads up to 21 inches.
Since this helmet's key feature is its simplicity, the inner padding is relatively thin. Be sure not to wear it down during the washing and drying process.
Suited to children between three and eight, this helmet fits heads up to 21.3 inches. The helmet can grow with your child, thanks to the easily-adjusted strap. It is fairly lightweight at a little over 12 ounces, which lets the toddler’s neck support the helmet with ease. This option comes in four different hues, letting you find the right style. In terms of safety, the round exterior is made out of impact-resistant plastic. The interior lining is constructed of high-grade polystyrene foam that expands when it encounters force. Meeting all necessary safety criteria, this multi-purpose helmet is great for active toddlers.
While the helmet works well for older toddlers, kids under three can’t wear it. Check the sizing chart to ensure a proper fit, and, so long as it’s appropriately sized, this will be an effective safety tool.
Designed for kids upwards of 3 years old, this helmet has many features to promote comfort. The outer shell is made out of high-grade polymer. It incorporates ventilation without overdoing it. Available in five color options, you can easily find the best fit for your child. This helmet stands out when it comes to the strap—the part that goes over the chin is thicker than the rest, adding comfort to the wearer. It’s also easy to adjust and holds tightly in position. The connections are sturdy, and the material is tough, meaning it is a very durable option. This helmet meets all the safety standards in terms of material and impact, making it a high-quality choice for children.
Despite the toughness of this helmet, it isn’t the most breathable selection. While there is some ventilation, it is better suited towards those without sensitive skin.
This helmet blends the traditional road helmet with toddler-style features. Together, it offers a high level of protection for young riders. Coming in two sizes, the smaller model fits heads as petite as 18.5 inches around. You can get it in a wide array of colors, keeping children enthused about wearing it. The back of the helmet has a lot of protection for the skull and neck, mostly made of EPS foam. At the front, there is a small visor that protrudes aerodynamically. It prevents issues from the wind and encourages better ventilation. The entire structure is fortified with a sturdy polymer material.
While this helmet is a safe option, it can be somewhat bulky. For best results, let the toddler practice wearing it for a while before they start riding.
- 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.