Kids just want to have fun! While outdoor activities are a great way for your little one to get exercise, build and define gross motor skills, develop confidence, and learn about nature, all parents know that this comes at a risk to their health and wellbeing. Luckily for us, this risk is why helmets were invented! However, there is a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding the type of helmet a child should be wearing. Wearing the proper style of helmet can help prevent your child from experiencing a serious injury that could result in a trip to the emergency room or worse. Not all helmets are created equal, so it is vital to be able to choose the proper head protection for your loved one.

Type #1: The Standard Bicycle Helmet

This kind of helmet is perfectly fine for kids who participate in leisure sports, like bicycling and scootering around the neighborhood. In any circumstance, the helmet should be fitted properly to ensure your child’s safety. You can check the fit of your child’s helmet by remembering this simple 3-point system: eyes, ears, and mouth. First, you will want to check and make sure that the helmet rests low on the child’s forehead, as this is a high-priority area during a possible collision. You want no more than an inch of distance between the front rim of the helmet and the top of your child’s eyes. If your child’s forehead is not properly protected, your child is not protected either. Period. The ideal helmet will sit perfectly above the brow. Second, you will want to make sure that the straps fit over each of your child’s ears in the shape of a ‘Y’ and that they rest flat against your child’s face. Third, you will want to make sure that the helmet buckles underneath your child’s chin loosely enough so that they can comfortably breathe and speak through their mouth, but tightly enough so that the helmet sits firmly on the top of their head without movement. Always remember the 3-point system, and keep in mind that an ill-fitting helmet can actually cause more injury than no helmet at all, should a collision occur.

Price does not necessarily have to be a factor in choosing the proper head-protection for your little one. You can purchase a high-quality helmet at a cheap and reasonable price at retailers such as Amazon or Walmart. Just make sure that the helmet meets industry standards by checking the inside for a CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commision) or Snell sticker, and by ordering from a reputable manufacturer who guarantees consumer safety if you do decide to purchase online.

Type #2: The Multisport Helmet

For those who have children who are a bit more adventurous with their recreational activities or participate in extreme sports, it is best to choose a multisport helmet. This type of helmet will protect your child’s head during a high-impact collision from sports such as skateboarding, in-line skating, BMX racing, and other higher-risk sporting activities. When picking this style of helmet, you will still need to perform the same 3-point test. However, it is important to note that many helmets that are labeled “multisport” have not been properly tested and do not measure up to the industry standard. Therefor, it is incredibly important to look inside the helmet and make sure it has a sticker inside stating that it specifically meets the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F1492 standard. If you are unsure while purchasing, it is best to ask the retailer rather than risk your child’s safety!

All parents know that accidents can and and do happen, so it is essential to prepare to the best of our ability for when they do! By spending a few extra minutes picking the proper style of helmet for your child and checking the manufacturing safety regulations, you can make sure that your loved one avoids any serious injuries. While bicycle helmets are a great option for children who enjoy leisurely sporting activities, it is best to pick an ASTM standardized helmet for higher-risk activities. If you are unsure about the industry standards of your child’s helmet or how to properly fit the helmet to your child’s head, you can visit one of your local sporting good shops and ask a retail professional, who should be able to match your child to the right helmet selection.