Buyer's guide to kids' bike helmets

We rate the top lids for children

If your child has recently received their first bike, then you might want to consider getting them a helmet to help make learning to ride it safer.

There's a multitude of kids' bike helmets currently available, so we've gathered together some of the best to see which lids we would recommend. Only you can decide if your youngster should wear a cycling helmet or not, but we would strongly recommend that children should wear a helmet at all times.

Cycling is good for you, and is not, in the grand scheme of things, overly dangerous. If wearing a helmet makes your child feel safer and more likely to cycle, it’s worth wearing one.

Helmets are made from fairly inexpensive materials. A more expensive helmet won’t necessarily offer better protection – what it will offer is lighter weight, better ventilation and more style. Style is important in a helmet, in that a lack of style may be a barrier to your child wearing the helmet at all. Geeky looks are a particular issue with teenage children. Ventilation matters more the further and faster you ride – racers need it; infants in child seats don’t. Weight is something all cyclists want less of, but modern cycle helmets are relatively light – 200g to 400g for an adult one.

Helmets for infants are much deeper at the rear to protect the back of the head. Mountain biking helmets have a detachable peak, which can be just as handy to keep the sun or rain out of your eyes for other types of cycling. Only for riding hard on drop handlebars is the peak a problem – you can’t see where you’re going!

You’ll sometimes see riders, especially BMXers and dirt jumpers, wearing hard-shell helmets that look more like skateboarding helmets. These are tough but less well ventilated, and they have become very popular recently, particularly among teenagers. Full-face helmets offer even more protection, especially to the chin and face, and are worn almost exclusively by downhill mountain bikers. They look like motorcycle helmets, but are much lighter and more fragile. You can buy all these types of helmets in children’s sizes and designs too.

For more information on the topic of safety, have a look at the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation website.

CRE8 Full Face

£24.99

Buy now from:

Halfords

Persuading a child to wear a helmet can be tricky. No matter how cool they look they still have a reputation for nerdiness that is tough to shift. Luckily, for the ardent anti-helmet crowd, there is the CRE8 Full Face. The full face design, used primarily for downhill and freeride disciplines, looks like it’s straight from the downhill circuit but without the price to match. The downside to a helmet like this is that it’s a lot heavier than the smaller designs and also lacks the venting. This isn’t an issue for short blasts but for longer rides, something a bit cooler – in the traditional sense of the word – would be recommended.

Lazer P'Nut Sky

£34.99

Buy now from:

Leisure Lakes Bikes

Lazer is more famous for its motorcycle helmets for its push bike range, but with nearly 100 years’ experience it’s become a trusted brand, and it makes good quality lids. And don’t think that the design and development doesn’t cover the children’s range – the P’Nut has been carefully constructed with a one-piece moulded shell for extra strength and 16 vents to aid airflow and prevent overheating. The optional Crazy Nutshell shells can be swapped around to change the helmet’s look, meeting the whims of your little rider and keeping an important piece of safety equipment bright and interesting.

Abus Scraper

£29.99

Buy now from:

Halfords

The great-looking Abus Scraper combines two big trends to make one seriously cool helmet. Fluro colours are highly visible, and this screaming orange matt finish combined with a skatepark style makes for a winning look. As with most lids of this style, vents take a back seat, so the Scraper isn’t great for long rides in hot weather, thanks to the lack of airflow and increased weight, although all padding is removable and can be washed to keep things fresh up top. Both the wheel adjuster and soft touch straps are easy to use, ensuring that the fit is made to measure and, as with helmets of this style, you get plenty of coverage at the rear.

Abus Mount-X

£34.99

Buy now from:

Amazon

The Abus Mount-X looks and feels very grown up. The design has a style that would look at home on top of a cross-country champ, although when we removed the visor it looked like a more rounded urban lid. As well as keeping your child safe in the event of a tumble, the Mount-X also helps keep them visible in traffic, with an LED light integrated into the wheel adjusters and two reflective panels on the back. We like the colours, which are eye catching without being gaudy.

Abus Super Chilly

£34.99

Buy now from:

Amazon

The Super Chilly is a great first helmet – it looks good and works well. The shell and the shock-absorbent material use the Abus In-Mold design, and the rear also has the same LED and reflectors as the Mount-X. The front vents have a bug mesh to keep out unwanted passengers and there’s plenty of extra padding for custom comfort. We also like the sliding clasp that allows the strap to be tightened and easily adjusted under the chin. The Super Chilly comes in a range of covers and has a rain cap for wet days.

Lazer Max

£22.99

Buy now from:

Singletrack Bikes

Lazer’s Max helmet is great fun, with 15 different designs including a shark (pictured), a mouse and a lion. Although the helmet doesn’t use a stronger in-mould build, the main body and outer casing are well fixed, giving it a solid feel. The helmet shape gives it a built-in visor, helping shade the eyes and giving the Max a sporty look. Lazer’s Turnfit mechanism feels smooth and allows plenty of room for growth (49 to 56cm), although the padding and straps aren’t as comfortable as those on some other helmets here.

RSP Quest

£29.99

Buy now from:

Tredz

The Quest is a smart-looking helmet for older riders – and it could fit mum or dad too. It’s pretty well vented at both the front and rear, meaning air can get in and out on warmer days. Soft webbing and decent pads make the Quest comfortable to wear, while a dial-in retention system ensures a snug fit.

Carrera Pepe

£19.99

Buy now from:

Amazon

The Pepe has some of the most appealing patterns for younger riders and costs less than competitors such as the Max De Lux. Unfortunately it’s easy to see where they’ve made savings. The main body and outer casing are constructed separately, meaning reduced strength, while the straps and adjustment are at the cheap end too.

Carrera Boogie

£24.99

Buy now from:

Amazon

A notable step up from the Pepe, the Carrera Boogie boasts in-mould construction and four extra vents. There are plenty of colour choices and the designs are slightly more sophisticated than the Pepe. The fabric interior is removable and can be washed and there’s also a detachable rear light that can be easily fixed to a seat post. A newer version has been released by Carrera but you can still find this Boogie helmet at a good price online.

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