Our Favourite Kids’ Bike Helmets

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We really put helmets through their paces in this family! Here are our top picks for helmets for little kids and big kids, based on our experiences of using these helmets daily. Click on each one to see the detail about why we picked it.

Best all-rounder and most innovative helmet: Woom

Best helmet for little kids: Giro Scamp

Best road-style helmet for big kids: Giro Hale

Other helmets we’ve used:

Bell Sidetrack

Lazer Gekko

First, a comparison of the different helmets.

Kids’ Bike Helmets: Summary

Best in class design
-Comes in 3 sizes: XS(46-50cm), S (50cm-53cm), M (53cm-56cm)
-Fixed no-tangle straps
-Magnetic buckle
-Robust yet flexible integrated visor
-Outstanding head coverage
RRP: £45.00

View at Woom

Giro Scamp

Best for toddlers
-Comes in 2 sizes: XS (45-49cm) and S (49-53cm)
-Extremely lightweight
-Flat back for trailers and bike-seats
-Integrated visor
RRP: £34.99

View on Amazon
Giro Hale
Road-style helmet for older children
-Size: 50-57cm
-Fixed ‘V’ straps for minimal tangling
-Pinchguard buckle
-Detachable visor
-Great ventilation
RRP: £49.99 (can often be found discounted)

View on Amazon

Bell Sidetrack

Budget option
-Comes in 2 sizes: Child (47-54cm) and Youth (50-57cm)
-Pinchguard buckle
-Detachable visor (comes off too easily)
-Flat back for trailers and bike seats
RRP: £64.99 (MIPS) or £39.99 (standard). Can often be found discounted

View on Amazon
Lazer Gekko
-Comes in 2 sizes: Lil’ Gekko (46-50cm) and Gekko (50-56cm)
-Normal buckle, but set to side for access
-Detachable visor
-Autofit wire technology to tighten helmet (I wasn’t impressed!)
RRP: £54.99 (MIPS) or £44.99 (Standard)

How did we choose which helmets to recommend?

Here are the key things I am looking for in a kids’ helmet:

  1. Maximal head coverage: children do not cycle like adults, especially my preschoolers! They cycle erratically, swerve around, and crash far more frequently. I want a helmet that will protect as much of their head as possible.
  2. A helmet that stays put, and doesn’t slip back: this is a HUGE factor for me. So many helmets slide back on the child’s head, away from their forehead, leaving them exposed in the event of a face-first crash. This happens because the chin strap slider which forms the V shape below the ear loosens over time. Of course I should be checking and tightening the straps frequently, but we use our helmets daily, and I don’t want to have to make adjustments every day.
  3. A robust visor: This should provide sun protection and also additional protection for face-first crashes.
  4. Straps that don’t tangle: A simple system of straps that my children can put on by themselves without getting tangled.
  5. Lightweight and ventilated

Woom: Best all-rounder and most innovative helmet

Woom bike helmet

The Woom bike helmet is quite simply the most innovative kids’ helmet I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Woom have taken classic helmet design and made some bold and clever changes to make their helmet extremely practical for use in the real world. A world in which kids put their own helmets on, straps slip and get tangled, and children fall over.

Here’s a short video showcasing the 2022 Woom helmet, and my favourite features:

Woom Helmet Top Features

Best-in-class head coverage: The Woom helmet extends really far from front to back, making it hard for it to slide back on the child’s head, because it already covers as far as the nape of the neck. It also has great coverage around the ears and temple at the front.
Untangle-able straps: Rather than the usual adjustable nylon webbing, the Woom helmet has a fixed cord strap under each ear. A short webbing chin-strap is fixed onto this. This set up makes it really clear which strap is which, and very hard to get tangled.
Easy to access tightness adjuster: The large accessible dial means you can still easily tighten or loosen the helmet when it is on the child’s head.
Flexible and robust attached visor: the visor is part of the helmet and is strong but slightly flexible to absorb shocks. Watch the video to see how this works.
Adjustable pads: the helmet comes with two sets of internal pads, 3mm and 6mm, for a perfect custom fit.

Woom Helmet – Reasons you might not want to buy it

The Woom helmet is fantastic, but it is not going to be right for everyone. Here are some reasons you might decide not to purchase one:

  • Price: The Woom is quite an expensive helmet, more than I would usually choose to spend. I prefer not to buy high-end kids’ helmets, because they do get knocked about more than adult helmets and I typically replace them every two years. I feel that the price is justified in this case, because it is a big step up in functionality (and therefore safety) from other helmets we have used.
  • Style: This comes down to personal preference, but I don’t love the skater-style look of the Woom, or the straight rows of air vents.
  • Chin strap pad: For our child, the chin-strap comfort pad is quite wide, and means we struggle to get the helmet tight enough under the chin, there is no wiggle room left around the pad. This could be resolved by having shorter under-ear straps, or a smaller chin comfort pad. It’s easier to explain in this video.

The Woom helmet has tighter sizing bands than other kids’ helmets. I’ve made some comments on the sizing on this post here.

Giro Scamp: Best Helmet for Little Kids

Giro Scamp XS

The Giro Scamp goes down to 45cm head circumference, and is my top pick for the smallest cyclists, from around age 1. This is the helmet that we use for our toddlers in the bike trailer. It is simple, lightweight, and it has a nice flat back so that they can rest their heads comfortably in the trailer.

Here are some features I really appreciate in the Giro Scamp:

Flat back suitable for children in bike trailers or bike seats.
Integrated visor provides additional protection from face-first crashes, but doesn’t snap off at the wrong moment.
Simple internal pads: all of my babies have been fascinated with helmet pads, and love to take them out and stick them back in. The Giro Scamp only has two internal pads, so there are fewer to lose!
Lightweight: Our XS helmet weighs in at 195g which is exceptionally light, perfect for toddlers.

Giro Hale: Best Road-Style Helmet for Older Kids

Giro Hale

The Giro Hale is the helmet we picked for our oldest child, who is ready for something a bit more ‘grown-up’ looking. The Hale is comfortable and lightweight, with road-bike styling.

Here are some features I appreciate in the Giro Hale:

Fixed ‘V’ straps below ears which reduce tangling, and minimise helmet adjustment issues. I find that adjustable versions generally get misaligned very quickly on kids’ helmets.
Lots of ventilation: the Giro Hale is a great choice if you live in a hot climate, as it is definitely on the upper end of ventilation space of helmets we have tried.
Sun visor provides additional ventilation at the front. We haven’t had any issues with this visor detaching, but it is owned by an older child who is more careful with their helmet.

Other Helmets: Bell Sidetrack

We have owned more Bell Sidetracks than any other helmet. They are readily available in the UK where we live, and you can usually purchase one in last season’s colours at a very reasonable price.

Bell Sidetrack

The Sidetrack has a nice flat back, which makes it very suitable for use in bike trailers and bike seats. It also has pretty decent head coverage, although it can make younger children look rather ‘bobble-headed’ as it has quite a large profile.

I have two significant concerns about the Bell Sidetrack:

The adjusters on the chin strap loosen very easily which leads to the helmet fitting wrongly on the child’s head. For our children, the helmet typically slides backwards on their head, leaving their forehead exposed. Helmets should fit about two fingers’ gap above the child’s eyebrows.

The visor connectors have a tendency to snap under pressure, and once one connector has snapped, the visor pops off far too easily. We have lost a couple of helmets to this problem.

That being said, if you are willing to make reasonably frequent adjustments to the chin strap, we have found the Sidetrack to be a good and robust helmet which has saved our children from a lot of knocks. With the availability of discounts on previous seasons’ helmets, this is a good budget option. It is easier to contemplate replacing a helmet frequently when you haven’t spent too much money on it, and I do think it is good to replace younger children’s helmets fairly often (every 2-3 years) as they get knocked about.

Other Helmets: Lazer Gekko

Lazer Gekko

The Lazer Gekko features a nice flat back for use in bike trailers or child seats, a sun visor, and a buckle set to the side to reduce the risk of pinching. It also comes in an attractive range of colours.

The standout feature of the Lazer Gekko is its Autofit system, which is unique to Lazer helmets. The inner basket which fits snugly around the wearer’s head features a tension wire, which expands to let the child’s head in, and then automatically tightens. This means that the helmet automatically fits snuggly on the wearer’s head, without needing to tighten a dial at the rear of the helmet.

Lazer Gekko Autofit System (you can see the tension wire on either side of the helmet basket)

The difficulty we found was that if there was any slack at all in the chin strap, or in the rear strap of the ‘V’ around the ear, the Autofit system would self-tighten the helmet right back on the child’s head, until it was no longer protecting them properly and was extremely uncomfortable. We adjusted the chin strap as tight as possible before each ride, and adjusted the V strap, but this ‘self-tightening’ was still happening every single day. I reached out to Lazer via two separate communication methods on their UK website, and received no responses beyond automatic acknowledgements, which was disappointing. I would therefore be hesitant to recommend this helmet.

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