bike 101: finding a well-fitting bike helmet for baby

Fall bike ride

This is a topic frequently addressed in emails I receive or in conversations with biking friends: finding a proper bike helmet for baby. The problem being that many helmets, although labeled as being “child” sized, are too big and slide around. This makes the helmet to fall forward or to the side, causing ennoyance and discomfort. Since this is such a commonly addressed topic, I thought I’d open up a forum here for collecting tips on finding a properly fitting bike helmet for the little ones.

We have a Schwinn Infant helmet (pictured here) for our one year old and I’m really happy with it. On its packaging, it was labeled as an “infant” helmet (age 1+) rather than a “child” or “toddler” one. I think this makes a big difference in size. It’s a small helmet and comes with a size adjuster dial in the back that allows you to play with the fit even more. When we first bought it, C. was only 10 months old and she needed it to be on the smallest setting. We’ve since loosened the fit with the dial in the back. It still fits really well and seems pretty comfortable on her (I’m basing this on the fact that she doesn’t fight me when I put it on and that it doesn’t slide around her head while riding).

Here are some helpful links if you’re looking to buy a helmet for your baby or  toddler:

What do you use and are you happy with it? How did you get your little ones used to wearing a helmet? Does the battle over wearing a helmet dominate your biking experience?


Fall bike ride

(On a somewhat related note, how much do you care about the colors and gendered look of the helmet? Our local store only carried this one infant helmet in this pink and yellow color combo. I generally prefer more gender-neutral things but purchased this helmet for its fit and function, choosing to accept the very feminine aesthetic. If you had a son and this was the only available child helmet to you, would you be deterred by the colors? I wish children’s bikes and bike accessories came in less gendered designs, but that’s probably a topic for another post.)

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{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
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13 Responses to bike 101: finding a well-fitting bike helmet for baby

  1. Bex says:

    We just bought a “little nutty” by nutcase helmet for our 11 month old. It is labeled as a toddler helmet, and it is a little loose. Although, since you’ve already had to adjust your daughter’s helmet, I’m hopeful it’ll fit soon. For not we’re using a child restraint foam head support that comes with the bike trailer, which seems adequate because it is similar to a car seat.

    I’ll just make a quick comment on the gendered issue – ugh! I too wish children’s products didn’t have to be so strongly gendered. I generally try to find a neutral item if it is available, or often buy from the boy’s section for my little girl, so that she can have a wider array of colors.

  2. Claire says:

    Oh, the gender question in the bike world. It continues even for us girls as adults.

    Regarding “girl colours”; we have an 8 year old girl who went through the “pink” stage. We took the “as long as she’s on the bike it’s ok” tack and decided that riding a pink bike while donning a pink skirt and a pink helmet was fine since she was, in fact, riding her bike.

    Enjoy the luxury of being able to choose your child’s clothing while it lasts. Soon enough, our kids exert their independence by choosing their own. That can be both a blessing and a curse.

    BTW we only buy helmets with the dial at the back – makes life way easier when you want to put a thin hat underneath.

  3. Papabybike says:

    Our daughter has the opposite problem, being tall with a giant head. When she was first on the bike we had a tough time finding a good fit. Now that she’s 3.5, the little nutty helmets fit pretty well.

    Regarding the gendered clothing & toys, it’s amazingly hard. I don’t remember clothing being so aggressively gendered until relatively recently. Even legos are starting to be gendered. Our girl loves bicycles, pirates, monkeys, whales and princesses. As such we usually pull from the boy’s section. The places we’ve found that sell nice, neutral clothing are usually very expensive. Which is fine till your girl wants to wear it, climb a tree, play on top of the play house and put a hole in anything soft.

  4. PS says:

    We have the <a href="; title="Giro Me2 helmet" for our daughter – I think it might be more expensive than other brands but it fit her well at 10 months and it is hard to find a helmet that small. Their color selection is good too and the dial in the back works well. Our local bike shop did the measuring and fitting for us which was super helpful! The owner bikes with his son every day (using the iBert) and he had all kinds of firsthand knowledge about helmets and babies. For first-timers (like me), I think having another parent-biker help evaluate the fit/size is useful. I didn't feel very confident in my ability to determine how well it fit and I appreciated input. Important to protect those valuable little brains!

  5. PS says:

    the link didn’t seem to work in my above comment – so I’ll try again:

  6. Bobbie says:

    OK, you know all of my gripes and issues trying to find a suitable helmet for T, but I’ll chime in here for your readers :) I bought a generic no-label helmet for him when he was around 8 months-old from a local bike shop. It was a plain, light teal color, and it fit him, so I was happy with it. However, it has a very large bill on the front (like a baseball hat) and it weighed T down so much we had to switch.

    As you said, Target only carries the pink one C has. They have carried a blue/ocean themed one in the past, but I never found one there. So, I checked out Wal-Mart without much hope (and doing so unhappily as I’d rather get one from Target, but whatever…). However, I was able to find one that fits T and isn’t pink with flowers! It’s a Bell and it’s not adjustable, but the back is elastic and it doesn’t weigh him down in the front. It’s black with blue and red race cars on it, so yes, it does scream “boy” a bit more than a plain one would, but a girl could wear it and not receive stares and sideways glances.

    It is frustrating that there isn’t more gender neutral clothing for babies out there. I think a major problem is that girls still look cute in boy clothes at this age, but you put a boy in a pink flowery helmet and people start to question your parenting. It’s easier to dress them according to their gender than to go against the norm and try to make a statement. It also wouldn’t be so bad if pink wasn’t like the worst possible color in the world. Who wants to dress like bubble gum all the time?

    My plan is to dress T as gender neutral/boy as possible until he starts asking to wear pink. If he can clearly state that he wants to wear pink, then by all means, he is totally welcome to! It will be easy to explain to others that it is his choice and I am not going to deny him the liberty of picking out his own clothes.

  7. wheelissa says:

    Thanks for this post, we will soon be in the market for a very little helmet. Our son is 5 months, and we recently purchased a bicycle trailer. We have him without a helmet in his car seat in the trailer — I know, frowned upon by the so-called authorities, but I’m confident he is safe in there. Biking carefully and being selective about routes goes a long way. Plus, sometimes I think it is interesting that we don’t require children to wear helmets to travel in cars. We are simply used to the alarming everyday risks we expose them to with automobile transportation.

    Thanks for your beautiful and thoughtful blog by the way, I always enjoy reading it!

  8. Amy says:

    We have the same helmet for our two-year-old daughter. I was so happy that it didn’t have princesses or Elmo on it, that I didn’t so much mind the pink!

  9. Meg says:

    I have no idea if it’s possible, but, if it is, would painting the helmet be an option? Or applying large solid-colour stickers or patches? (I don’t like gender-coloured things for adults, either. And not just because pink looks awful with my very pale skin.)

  10. Elisa says:

    Both my boys have little noggins, so it took a bit of effort to find a good fit. We tried the Giro Me2 with our oldest. It was a struggle to get him to accept the helmet at first but he got used to it eventually.
    Recently we got two Bell Splash helmets and they are much easier to fit and put on, with less adjusting required. The “OneStep” fit system just means the back is elasticated instead of using a dial to adjust. Works beautifully, and seems more comfortable. The patterns are a bit garish but there’s a variety of colors, not just pink and blue.

  11. annlaura says:

    I had a Giro Me2, a hand-me-down from big brother, on the younger. It was never perfect on him. So just before he turned 3, I bought him a Little Nutty. It fits him way better than the Giro ever did. We both love the magnetic clasp that never pinches. And it is more comfortable for me when he’s in the ibert, especially important now that his head nearly reaches my chin. Older brother still wears a Giro.

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