If the Helmet Fits, Your Kid Will Wear It!

If you’ve convinced your kiddo that wearing a helmet is the thing to do, give yourself a pat on the back and then step back to take in the view. Your child may be comfortable with the idea of wearing a helmet, but does the helmet itself look at home on their head?

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Exhibit A, the “neck crawler” fit when a helmet is tilted too far back.

All helmets sold in the U.S. have to meet the same safety standards, but none of those helmets can live up to their worth unless they are fitted correctly. The most common helmet faux pas that we see (on both kids and adults) is the low-riding neck crawler. You’ve seen it too: the back end of the helmet sits low on the base of the neck, the front of the helmet tips high showing a lot of forehead (see exhibit A). If helmets are cool, wearing one this way is, well, dorky.

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Exhibit B, some kids put their helmet on backwards!

Another mis-wear (see exhibit B) that is more common than you may think: Donning a helmet flat out backwards. Yikes!

Want to avoid these “embarrassing” gaffs and ensure maximum security for your little one’s brain? Here are a few steps for outfitting your kiddo with a properly fit helmet:

1. To size a helmet: Place the helmet on your child’s head and leave the chin strap unclipped. Ask them to shake their head in a “yes and no” fashion. A well-sized helmet should stay put without shifting or sliding out of place. The most effective helmets have an adjustment strap on the back of the helmet that you can notch to adjust the fit.

2. To ensure proper placement use the eyes and ears as guideposts. A well-fit helmet should sit two fingers (index and middle are the easiest) width above the eyes. The “Y” element of the chin strap should comfortably cradle each ear.

  1. Exhibit C, a properly fit helmet!

    Exhibit C, a properly fit helmet!

    3. Using the chin strap is key (some kiddos ride around with the strapped unclipped). Make sure that when connected, the strap fits snugly but that your child can still open their mouth with ease. If they can giggle and grin wide during a final “yes/no” test, you’ve nailed this sizing exercise (see exhibit C).