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Most parents know that whether kiddos are zipping around on two, three or four wheels, helmets are a must. But kids ... they may have different ideas. Toddlers throw tantrums about them. Bigger kids refuse to wear them.
Here’s why you should lay down the law:
“Helmets are designed to prevent very serious head injuries like skull fractures and severe traumatic brain injuries,” said Dr. Kyran Quinlan, associate professor and division director of general pediatrics at Rush University Medical Center. One thing they don’t do is prevent concussions, he added.
Kids should sport helmets whether on a scooter, skateboard, in-line skates, or on a bike. Bike helmets are required to comply with mandatory safety standards set by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, helmets designed for other activities only need to comply with voluntary standards. Kids can wear bike helmets for in-line and roller skating and riding a kick scooter.
Start them young and get into the habit by requiring your tyke to wear a helmet even when riding a tricycle, said Quinlan. If your child puts up a fight about the helmet, sell it. “Make it seem like wearing a helmet is part of ‘gearing up’ for the activity,” he added. And remember that they’re always watching — so you’ve got to wear one, too.
To make it easier, here are seven helmets — for a range of ages and activities — that are designed to fit Dr. Quinlan's criteria:
Best bike helmet for kids
Giro Scamp Youth Bike Helmet, $55, Amazon
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One of the top-rated kids' helmets on Amazon, parents will appreciate the “multi-directional impact protection system” for its safety, while kids will like the built-in visor, a chin strap that won’t pinch and accommodation for ponytails, too. The helmet is designed to fit kids as they grow, so this one should last through a couple seasons.
Best toddler helmet
Bell Pint Toddler Helmet, $25, Amazon
Ideal for when they’re learning to zip around on a scooter or trike, this lightweight helmet features an easy on-off buckle and extended coverage in back for added protection.
Best multisport helmet
Razor V-17 Youth Multi-Sport Helmet, $20, Amazon
Designed to work for a range of activities like biking and skating, this helmet is best for an older kid’s noggin (it fits ages 8 to 14). If they give you a hard time because helmets are “too hot,” remind them that this one has 17 top and side vents for coolness.
Best stakeboarding helmet
Pro-Tec Jr. Classic Fit, Starting at $46, Amazon
The back of the helmet has a twist dial feature that lets you properly secure it (which means no foam liners needed). Plus, the buckle in front won’t pinch little necks.
Best BMX helmet
Bell Segment Helmet, $30, Amazon
Certified for both skating and BMX, the helmet’s flexible design means this helmet fits snug around a kids head. In fact, it’s designed to wear more like a “comfortable cap” than a helmet.
Most fun helmet
Nickelodeon Bell Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3D Bike Helmets, $25, Amazon
Parents love it because the cool characters get them excited to wear a helmet.
Best coverage helmet
Woom Kids Helmet, $69, Amazon
The helmet extends over their temples and back of head for full coverage, plus the flexible visor in front offers forehead protection. The ventilation holes up top keep them comfortable. Plus, the magnetic buckle makes this easy to take on and off.
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