Back to articles Tips for Buying a Bicycle Helmet for your Kids

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Before You Buy a Helmet
  • Only use approved and certified helmets (e.g. Canadian Standards Association CSA)
  • Check with local sports store for advice
  • Do not purchase a used helmet. Damage to a helmet is not always visible.
  • Always take your child with you to try on a helmet
How to Size a Helmet
  • Measure the circumference of your child's head at mid forehead level with a tape measure
  • Compare the head measurement with helmet sizing table on the box
  • Remember growing children require frequent checks for helmet size and fit

How to Check Your Helmet
  • The outside shell of the helmet should be smooth with no cracks or dents.
  • Inner styrofoam shell should have no cracks or pieces missing. Find any chunks broken out or cracks in the shell by looking on the inside edges of the helmet and by applying pressure with your hands. Check for dents.
  • Is the padding in the appropriate spots? Padding is meant to absorb oils and sweat that can speed the breakdown of the styrofoam in the helmet.
  • All buckles and clips must work - no missing or cracked ones
  • No frayed or twisted straps
How to Fit Your Helmet
  • Do not wear hats, hair bobbles, pony tails or headbands under the helmet. The helmet can be knocked out of place during a fall.
  • Pads should touch the head at the crown, sides, front and back
  • A helmet should fit snugly but not so tight as to leave marks on the head.To check for a snug fit, ask the child to move his/her head up, down and side to side. The helmet should stay level on the head and not shift with movements.
How to Fasten the Helmet
  • Position the front and rear straps to meet in a "V" shape just below and forward of each ear. The clip joining the two straps must be forward of the ear.
  • The helmet should sit level on the head and the buckle should do up under the chin
  • Fasten the chin strap under the chin and not against the throat. Ask you child to look up while securing the chin buckle to prevent pinching
  • Tighten the chin strap so that only one finger can be put between the strap and the chin
  • Remember that straps need to be adjusted each time the helmet is worn.
  • Excess strap can be put back up against the side strap and held in place by the O-ring. If the O-ring is gone, the straps can be held in place by a small rubber band.
  • Straps should never be cut off, sewn or taped.

Data from the Durham Region Health Department Injury Prevention Program and the DRP Kids' Safety Village.

Used with Permission of the DRPS.