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Best kids' bike helmets in 2018

We can hear you through the screen: Oh great, another Top Choose-A-Number Best Something list!

It's okay, we understand. Frankly, these types of things can be very subjective sometimes. You could be thrilled with the All-Time Ultimate Children's Bike Helmet Hall of Fame list you found online before showing it to your kids. They could then look at you like you have three heads because they'd never, ever be caught dead in any of them.

That's why we've taken multiple factors into account in putting together our own Best Kids' Helmets guide. "Best" in this case means they meet the following five key criteria:

  1. Value: There's no reason to go bonkers on the bill when it comes to finding a decent lid for your kid. Every model here slides in under $100.
  2. Safety-Certified: Whatever helmet you end up buying for your little one should be cleared by the CPSC or other similar organization. Our kids' bike helmets article sheds more light on which organizations and why this is so important.
  3. Credibility: Hey, we know we're not the only experts in town. Each of our helmets has also received a strong recommendation by at least two other reputable websites.
  4. Style: Simply put, kids like them. That said, your particular pup may not be into any of the models on our list, and that's okay (we can't please everybody). But, rest assured, these are popular enough to be seen zooming around neighborhoods far and wide.
  5. Availability: It wouldn't do anybody any good if we got you revved up over an outdated model now would it? So, our helmets are all still in production and available heading into the 2018 summer season.

Most of our recommendations come in MIPS and non-MIPS versions. Check out our kids' bike helmets post to understand what Multi-Directional Impact Protection System technology is all about. Models without a MIPS option aren't any less suitable, though. It all comes down to what pleases both you and your child.

And now, without further ado…

Bell Sidetrack

Bell Sidetrack Helmet

The largest manufacturer of bike helmets in the country, Bell is widely-known and respected in both cycling and powersports circles. Its Sidetrack kid's helmet is designed after the adult Stoker model. Like a true mountain-biking helmet, coverage extends further down the back for even better head protection. Bell's Ergo Fit system also makes Sidetrack sizing easy. Using a full internal cage rather than the traditional half cage, Ergo Fit's dial tightens from both the back and the sides. The system's no-twist, tri-glide side strap sliders stay put better than normal sliders as well.

Head size (cm) 50–57 Youth
47–54 Child
MIPS option Yes (Youth only)
Price $40 non-MIPS
$60 MIPS
Where to buy Amazon (MIPS)
Bell (manufacturer) (MIPS)
Backcountry (MIPS)
Bicyclebuys.com (Child)

Lazer P'Nut

Lazer P'Nut Helmet

Belgium's Lazer has long been a trusted brand in the cycling world. Its P'Nut helmet was designed for the youngest of riders… and the ficklest. Its outer cover can be swapped in and out using up to eight different designs as tastes, moods, and games change. Lazer's Autofit Retention System uses a tension wire that automatically tightens around the head. This provides constant, even pressure for a comfortable fit each time. It also means you won't have to run out and buy a new one after a mild growth spurt.

Head size (cm) 46–50
MIPS option Yes
Price $50 non-MIPS
$75 MIPS
Where to buy Amazon (MIPS)
Jet
Lazer (manufacturer)
Ready, Set, Pedal! (MIPS)

Lazer Nut'z

Lazer Nutz Helmet

The next step up in the Lazer family is the Nut'z. The same great features that characterize the P'Nut also apply to this one. Instead of eight available covers there are four, which still offers more variety than most other helmets that come in a single take-it-or-leave-it style. Lazer's Autofit Retention System operates the same way, extending the shelf life of your quickly-growing child's helmet.

Head size (cm) 50–56
MIPS option Yes
Price $50 non-MIPS
$75 MIPS
Where to buy Amazon (MIPS)
Backcountry
Lazer (manufacturer)
Ready, Set, Pedal! (MIPS)

Giro Scamp

Giro Scamp Helmet

Giro is newer on the block than its parent company Bell, but it has caught on quickly in riding circles. The Scamp features a distinct mountain-biking shape popular among little MTBers and non-MTBers alike. Giro's Jr. rendition of its Roc Loc fit system lives up to the standards set by the adult version. When it arrived nearly 25 years ago, Roc Loc eliminated helmet rattling over rough terrain. Now, Giro's helmets are much more stable on the trail while allowing for easy rear-dial adjustment on the go.

Head size (cm) 51–55 Small
47–51 XS
MIPS option Yes
Price $35 non-MIPS
$55 MIPS
Where to buy Amazon (MIPS)
Giro (manufacturer)
Performance Bicycle
REI
Backcountry (MIPS)

Giro Hale

Giro Hale Helmet

An upgrade from the older Raze model, the Giro Hale is the next level up age- and size-wise from the Scamp. The Sport version of Giro's Roc Loc system offers a large adjustment range for a solid fit. Its larger rubber dial also makes it easier to turn and adjust. Rather than being part of the fit system, the helmet's side straps are fixed, meaning you don't have to worry about constantly futzing with them. The Hale also features tons of air vents (22) for superb circulation on sweaty rides.

Head size (cm) 50–57
MIPS option Yes
Price $45 non-MIPS
$65 MIPS
Where to buy Amazon (MIPS)
Bicyclebuys.com
Giro (manufacturer)
Jenson USA (MIPS)
Performance Bicycle (MIPS)

Nutcase Street

Nutcase Street Helmet

Nutcase has something for just about everybody in its Street line of helmets. In fact, Nutcase's goal is to amp up the fun factor when it comes to bike safety. It works with three international artists each year to add even more designs to the lineup, which now has over 35 to pick from. But, these caps aren't just for show. Their dial-adjust fit, locking sliders, and Fidlock magnetic buckles all mean business. Dual-certified for both biking and skateboarding, Street helmets offer strong protection while looking great. They even come in a Little Nutty version for tinier tots (bike-certified only).

Head size (cm) 60–64 Large
56–60 Medium
52–56 Small (Little Nutty 48–52)
MIPS option Yes
Price $70 non-MIPS
$95 MIPS (Little Nutty $60 non-MIPS, $80 MIPS)
Where to buy Amazon (MIPS)
Nutcase (manufacturer)
Performance Bicycle
Ready, Set, Pedal! (Little Nutty)
REI (MIPS)

Kali Chakra

Kali Chakra Helmet

Kali is known for its adult mountain-biking gear. The fact that its youth Chakra helmet doesn't look like a kid's helmet is what makes it so popular with kids. Chakra contains 21 vents for amazing airflow, extended back-of-the-head protection, and a universal fit ring for easier tightening. Kali's innovative Composite Fusion technology merges the shell and foam liner as well. The result is decreased size and weight alongside increased strength and impact performance. And the best part? How about the unbeatable price tag.

Head size (cm) 52–57 Youth
48–54 Child
MIPS option None
Price $40 Youth
$30 Child
Where to buy Amazon
Backcountry
Kali (manufacturer)
Level Nine Sports
SHOP.COM

Melon

Melon Helmet

German brand Melon positions itself as fun, modern, and urban. Its selection of more than 50 skate-style helmets ranges from conservative to all-out whacky. Although designed with a distinctive skate flair, Melon helmets are bike-specific. What gives them away are their in-mold construction (rather than a hard-shell) and use of air vents. Melon's washable Coolmax pads have sealed edges to help with sweat drip while the Fidlock magnetic buckle adds a final dash of comfort.

Head size (cm) 58–63 XL–XXL
52–58 Medium–Large
46–52 XS–Small
MIPS option None
Price €70 ($30–$70 in USA on Amazon depending on seller)
Where to buy Amazon
Melon (manufacturer)

And there you have it, eight of the best kids' bike helmets to choose from for your little rider's next hard hat. Happy hunting, and don't forget to include your children in the customer journey. There will be fewer headaches—emotionally and quite possibly physically—if they're involved in the selection process.


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