The Best Helmets for Kids of 2022

The Nutcase Little Nutty MIPS Helmet provides kiddos with an individualized fit

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For a lot of kids, it doesn’t get much better than riding a bike, rollerblading, riding a scooter, or skateboarding. As fun as these activities are they can pose a risk if not done safely, which is why helmets are so important.

Reviewed & Approved

The Nutcase Little Nutty MIPS Helmet includes a three-piece pad set that is designed to provide an individualized fit for comfort and safety. For a budget-friendly option, we recommend the Joovy Noodle Helmet.

“[A] helmet is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from many recreational activities,” says safety expert Nadji Kirby, Senior Program Manager for Safe Kids Worldwide.

Consider the difference between in-mold vs. hardshell, how to ensure a proper fit, and how to find the correct style for your child’s activity. Additionally, some helmets are constructed with a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), a low-friction layer of padding that slides in different directions to reduce the risk of rotational motion on impact (which can cause brain injuries). After speaking with safety experts, we carefully considered design, material, MIPS, fit, type of shell, activity, and value when reviewing products.

Here are the best helmets for kids on the market.

Best Overall: Nutcase Little Nutty MIPS Helmet

5
Nutcase Little Nutty MIPS Helmet

Courtesy of Nutcase

Pros
  • Includes safety features like MIPS and ABS shell

  • Safe for biking and skateboarding

  • Available in a variety of styles

Cons
  • On the pricier end

  • Not made for kids under 3 years old

Who else recommends it? The Strategist also picked the Nutcase Little Nutty MIPS Helmet. 

What do buyers say? 89% of 500+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

The Nutcase Little Nutty Helmet is our best overall pick because it's stylish, provides security, and offers full protection. This helmet is available in two sizes, toddler and youth, and made for kids as young as 3 years old.

The magnetic sliding snap on the chin strap secures the helmet to your child’s head without the risk of pinching. With an Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) shell, a hard thermoplastic that is considered the best option for helmets, and Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS), this helmet offers full-coverage protection for your adventurous little one.

Additionally, it includes a three-piece pad set that is designed to provide an individualized fit for comfort and safety. This helmet is Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) certified, so it’s safe for biking and skateboarding, and it’s available in a variety of fun prints and styles, all of which include 11 contoured air vents for air circulation.

Size/Age Range: Ages 3+; sizes Toddler (48-52 centimeters) and Youth (52-56 centimeters) | Use/Activity: Bike or Skateboard | Product Weight: Toddler: 1 pound 0.3 ounces; Youth: 1 pound 0.5 ounces

Best Budget: Joovy Noodle Helmet

Joovy Noodle Helmet

Source: Joovy

Pros
  • Adjustable sizing

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Not designed for multiple sports

Many of the safest helmets can be on the higher end of the price spectrum, but the Joovy Noodle is a budget-friendly option that doesn't skimp on safety. Available in two sizes, the Joovy Noodle is made for kids between 1 and 9 years old and comes in several bright color options.

Designed for bike riding, this helmet has 14 air vents to keep kids cool while cruising as well as an adjustable dial to help ensure the best fit possible. It also has plenty of padding, nylon straps, and a pinch guard chin strap.

Size/Age Range: 1 to 9 years old; Extra Small/Small (47-52 centimeters) and Small/Medium (52-55 centimeters) | Use/Activity: Bike | Product Weight: 0.5 pounds

Best for Toddlers: Lazer Lil’ Gekko MIPS Kids Helmet

Lazer Lil’ Gekko MIPS Kids Helmet

Source: Lazer

Pros
  • Equipped with MIPS

  • Available in several prints

  • Rechargeable LED back light for visibility

Cons
  • Universal sizing is not adjustable

  • Not for multiple sports

We love the Lazer Lil’ Gekko helmet for toddlers because it’s designed to be safe for kids as young as 1 year old. It has a universal design with an autofit system that automatically adjusts the helmet’s size to fit your child’s head without putting too much pressure in any spot (while still keeping it snug enough for safety).

This helmet is equipped with a no-pinch chin buckle and MIPS, and it has a rechargeable LED light on the back to help keep your child visible during nighttime rides. It also has 12 air vents for circulation and comes in several fun toddler-friendly prints.

Size/Age Range: 1 year+ | Use/Activity: Bike | Product Weight: 0.72 pounds

Best for Big Kids: Linus Lil’ Helmet

Linus Lil’ Helmet

Source: Linus

Pros
  • Sophisticated style

  • Magnetic no-pinch buckle

  • Optional sun visor

Cons
  • Not for multiple sports

  • Less comfort padding than many other models

While this helmet comes in sizes for kids as young as 2 years old, we like this pick for bigger kids because of its sophisticated, cartoon-free design. It’s available in a handful of solid colors and has faux leather straps with a no-pinch magnetic buckle. There's also an optional sun visor for sunny days.

The helmet has an ABS molded shell, is designed with several contoured vents to keep riders cool, and has replaceable comfort pads to ensure a safe and secure fit.

Size/Age Range: XS (48-52 centimeters) 2-6 years old; Small (52-54 centimeters) 6-14 years old | Use/Activity: Bike | Product Weight: Not Listed

Best Style: Thousand Jr. Kids Helmet

Thousand Jr. Kids Helmet

Source: Thousand

Pros
  • Comes with stickers to customize

  • Safe for most wheel activities

Cons
  • Universal fit

While safety should always be a top priority when choosing a helmet, style is also something to consider. “When it’s time to buy a helmet, let your child pick out their own so they’ll be more likely to wear it for every ride,” says Kirby

We chose this helmet as the best style because of its cool customizable design that just about any kid will love. Available in a handful of solid colors, this helmet comes with a pack of removable reflective stickers so kids can decorate it to their liking. The adjustable dial fit system ensures that it can grow with them while the six vents allow for cooling air circulation.

Size/Age Range: XS 49-53 centimeters | Use/Activity: Bike, roller skate, skateboard | Product Weight: 13.8 ounces

Best with In-Mold Construction: Giro Tremor MIPS Helmet

Giro Tremor MIPS Helmet

Source: Giro

Pros
  • Premium safety features

  • Quick-dry padding

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • On the pricier side

  • No mention of pinch-free chin strap

This helmet may be on the pricier end, but we think that all of the extensive safety features make it worth the splurge. It’s equipped with MIPS which lowers the risk of brain injury, and has a full-coverage hardbody shell for supreme protection. The helmet maintains a lightweight feel thanks to the in-mold construction that fuses the helmet’s outer shell with the interior Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam liner to reduce the excessive heaviness that some helmets have.

In addition to all of the safety features, this helmet is also functional and stylish. It comes in several bright colors and is ponytail compatible (a huge plus for kids with long hair). It also has 18 vents for optimal air circulation and a removable sun visor. We also like that the helmet’s fit can be adjusted with one hand.

Size/Age Range: Youth (50-57 centimeters) 5 years+ | Use/Activity: Bike | Product Weight: 1 pound

Best for Biking: Giro Hale MIPS Helmet

Giro Hale MIPS Helmet

Source: Giro

Pros
  • 22 vents for excellent air circulation

  • Lightweight

  • Mid-range price

Cons
  • Not for kids under 5 years old

  • No mention of pinch-free chin strap

The Giro Hale MIPS Helmet is a fantastic bike helmet because it’s lightweight, reflective, durable, and equipped with 22 vents to keep little heads cool even on hot summer days. It comes with a removable visor to help with visibility and features MIPS technology for added safety and protection.

The helmet features an in-mold construction technology that bonds the outer shell to the interior foam padding for a super-lightweight design. It also has an easy-to-adjust fit system and is available in a variety of fun, bright colors that kids will love.

Size/Age Range: Youth (50-57 centimeters) 5 years+ | Use/Activity: Bike | Product Weight: 0.16 ounces

Final Verdict

We love the Nutcase Little Nutty helmet (view on Amazon) because it offers kids full MIPS protection and is designed to be durable for rough and tumble kiddos. We also think the Giro Tremor helmet (view on Amazon) is a great option because it comes with all of the safety bells and whistles that a child would need.

How We Selected

When picking the products for this list, we considered advice from safety expert, Nadji Kirby, Senior Program Manager for Safe Kids Worldwide, guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as the product’s overall quality, style, and longevity.

What to Look For When Buying Helmets for Kids

Fit

A helmet can be packed with safety features, but if it doesn’t fit properly it won’t perform as it should. “Wearing a properly fitted helmet will allow it to provide as much protection as possible, so it is important that you and your child know how it should fit.” Nadji Kirby, Senior Program Manager for Safe Kids Worldwide, tells Verywell Family.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), “A helmet should be both comfortable and snug…[and it] should not move in any direction, back-to-front or side-to-side.” Additionally, the CPSC notes helmets should sit level on the head, and chin straps should be securely fastened so that it doesn’t move or slide off in the event of a collision.

Kirby says the best way to ensure a proper fit is to do a fit test (Here’s a video from Safe Kids Worldwide that can help, along with these steps):

  • "EYES check: Position the helmet on your head. Look up and you should see the bottom rim of the helmet. The rim should be one to two finger-widths above the eyebrows.
  • "EARS check: Make sure the straps of the helmet form a "V" under your ears when buckled. The strap should be snug but comfortable.
  • "MOUTH check: Open your mouth as wide as you can. Do you feel the helmet hug your head? If not, tighten those straps and make sure the buckle is flat against your skin.”

Activity

When purchasing a helmet for your child, it’s important to pay attention to what it is designed for. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, “Each type of helmet is designed for protection in specific conditions and may not offer enough protection” when used incorrectly. While some helmets are designed for multiple sports and activities, you should not assume they’re safe for all sports.

“For example, you can wear a CPSC certified bike helmet while bicycling, in-line skating, or kick scooting,” says Kirby. “However, if you plan to use the helmet while biking and skateboarding, it is best to get a multi-use helmet.” She further explains that multi-use helmets can get certification from both the CPSC and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Type of Helmet Shell

There are different types of helmet designs, and the three most common are in-mold, hard-shell, and soft-shell.

In-Mold: According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI), an in-mold helmet’s “outer shells are bonded to the [interior] foam by putting foam beads and the shell in the mold together.” Essentially, these helmets are all one piece. In-mold helmets offer some of the best protection/safety but are also often heavier and more expensive than other styles.

Hard-Shell: The exterior surface of a hard-shell helmet is usually made of hard plastic, fiberglass, or another strong material, according to the BHSI. This style of helmet helps to disperse the impact in the event your child falls and hits their head.

Soft-Shell: The AAP explains these helmets are not constructed with a hard outer shell but instead are made with an “extra thick layer of polystyrene covered with a cloth cover or surface coating.” In this style, the cover is essential and it must be worn to hold the helmet together. These helmets are often more lightweight but less durable.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should I replace my child’s helmet?

    The most important aspect of a helmet is the fit because if it doesn’t fit then it doesn’t offer the protection it should. So, if you notice your child’s helmet is too snug, not snug enough, slips, or has a chin strap that doesn't buckle correctly, then it needs to be replaced.

    Additionally, the CPSC recommends replacing your child’s helmet after an impact “such as a bicyclist’s fall onto the pavement […] even if there are no visible signs of damage to the helmet.” Finally, look to the helmet’s manufacturer for guidance, because even if the helmet still fits and hasn’t sustained an impact, it can still wear down over time (the CPSC suggests between five and 10 years).

  • What age should my child start using a helmet?

    Again, safety is always a priority, and the best way to ensure your child’s safety when they are on any kind of bike, skateboard, scooter, or skates is with a helmet. "For many recreational activities, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of a severe head injury and even save your life,” says Kirby, “Therefore, as soon as your child is riding, skating, or scooting whether in a bike trailer or solo, they should have on a helmet.” That being said, the AAP does not recommend infants under 1-year-old travel by bike in any form (even in trailers) or wear bike helmets.

  • Can my child use a helmet for all outdoor activities?

    While it seems like the best course of action is always to protect your child’s head, a helmet is actually not recommended for some activities. The CPSC says, “Children should not wear a helmet when playing on playgrounds or climbing trees” because the chin strap poses a risk for strangulation if it were to get caught on a piece of equipment or a tree branch. “The helmet may also prevent a child’s head from moving through an opening that the body can fit through and entrap the child by [their] head.” Remember, helmets are great as long as they are used correctly and for their intended purpose.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a full time parenting writer and has spent hundreds of hours researching and testing different parenting and kids products for both writing assignments as well as for personal use. As a mom to a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old who love riding their bikes, Ashley takes safety and helmets very seriously. When picking the products for this list, she considered advice from safety expert, Nadji Kirby, Senior Program Manager for Safe Kids Worldwide, guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as the product’s overall quality, style, and longevity.

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Helmet safety. Mips.

  2. The 11 Best Bike Helmets for Kids. The Strategist. https://nymag.com/strategist/article/best-kids-helmet.html

  3. Which helmet for which activity? U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  4. Bicycle helmets: what every parent should know. HealthyChildren.org.

  5. Inmolded (Molded in the shell) helmets.

  6. Bicycle helmet terms and definitions. Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute.