Helmets are for Babies…

In one of my previous articles, I discussed ways to carry kids around on a bike and get them involved in biking as transportation early on. However, with the first phrase out of anyone’s mouth after an adult confesses to riding a bike being, “do you wear a helmet?” you can bet your panniers that helmets for kids – and especially little ones – are a must: if not for safety, for the impression of safety.

There's a child under the helmet, somewhere

The problem: hardly anyone in the U.S. really believes that kids under the age of 2 or so are going to be on a bike!  Hence… the great infant helmet search of 2012.

The first thing you have to figure out when looking for a helmet – for anyone – is head circumference (generally in centimeters, though a few manufacturers will throw you off and do it in inches). For R – our 9-month-old – that magic number is 45 cm. That makes things quite tricky – most “toddler” helmets don’t go that small – and those that do, look ridiculous on her! Additionally, a lot of helmets are designed for on-bike use and stick way out in the back – making it very hard to get an infant or toddler into a trailer or high-backed seat in anything resembling a comfortable position.

Here’s what I’ve tried or found reasonable-looking so far:

Lazer infant helmet – Only goes down to 46 cm, but Totcycle reports it’s a smaller helmet, so it leaves infants with less of an “I have a football helmet on my head” feel.

Nutcase's Little Nutty ("Hula Lounge" print)

Nutcase Little Nutty (XS) – More expensive than pretty much everything else at $55, but looks like it might not dwarf an infant head so much. The first Amazon review says it’s too small for a 2-year-old (which many others aren’t), so that may be a good indicator.

Giro Me2 – Only goes down to 48cm, looks huge on an infant. However, it’s a nice helmet and we’ve used it with our older daughter. Spin dial on back makes size adjustment a breeze.

Bell Sprout – Only goes down to 47cm, but says it’s optimized for trailers and seats – which may be better than many others.

Specialized Small Fry toddler – Fits 44-52cm according to the label, but it doesn’t fit my daughter’s 45cm head very well. Also, it’s approximately the size of her torso. A nice helmet overall though.

A lot of these are available in different styles – I’ve just linked to girly ones because we have girls (and when all you can see is helmet, it’s nice not to have your child’s gender misidentified).

Anyone else have a recommendation? Any experiences with any of the above?


  1. Robert

    What gets me are the number of parents who put helmets on their kids yet won’t wear helmets themselves. A fat lot of good it’s going to do a kid to have a brain injured parent who could have prevented the problem.

  2. BluesCat

    I pull my two little granddaughters around in my inexpensive Schwinn Scout trailer. I’ve kept the speed down to less that 8 mph, and haven’t left the neighborhood.

    But the two-and-a-half-year-old is starting to insist “Faster, Grampa, FASTER!” *sigh* So it’s helmet time!

  3. Andrew

    I bought a Giro Me 2 for my son for his 1st birthday, along with a trailer. He wore it for about 30 seconds and took it off. Since then he hasn’t let me put it on or even bring it close. I know he’d love to ride, but I just can’t convince him to put it on. Now he’s approaching 2. I’m going to give it another shot, but if anyone has any tips, let me know!

  4. Mat

    The local government recently passed a law require the use of helmets for all children, INCLUDING IN AN ENCLOSED CHILD TRAILER. So as the snow slowly melts I’m frantically trying to find a helmet for my son. He to is at 45cm and the Giro is the only one that adjusts snug enough, but it stick out about 3 inches behind his head, thus won’t work in a trailer. I’ve found the MET Buddy which claims to have a lower rear profile for use in trailers, and says 46-53cm but haven’t found a place that carries it. Has anyone else had a chance to get their hands on it?

  5. Matt

    Mat –

    I’d check for the Bell Sprout or the Lazer. We have used the Lazer for a year and it seems to work fine in a trailer.

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