Buying The Right Kids Helmet – The Ultimate Guide

Motocross Advice Kids helmet buyers guide

When your child says they would like a dirt bike, you have one of two reactions. You will be immediately proud, rushing for the latest reviews on kids dirt bikes and gear, or your heart will sink. With this article I will teach you everything you need to know about kids helmet!

If you were overjoyed, you probably ride motocross already. You know that your child is on an exciting journey, and that, providing they have the right gear, they will be as safe as kids riding pushbikes, skateboarding or climbing trees. You can go straight to our review on the safest dirt bike helmets for kids, under $200, or you can read on and enjoy our buyers guide.

If you are the parent who was immediately panic-stricken at the thought of your child riding a motocross bike, (or ATV/track bike), fear not. You are searching for the best motocross helmets for your child. That means that you have started off on the right foot. Motocross Advice is here for you and your champion in the making. Welcome to the club! 

The following few paragraphs hold essential information. These include: 

  • Your child’s first motocross helmet-top tips and tricks
  • How to measure your child’s head
  • Features you should consider

Buying the right kids helmet – top tips and tricks

Motocross helmets which are specifically designed for the youth market fall into two clear categories. Those that provide the same protection level as adult helmets, and those that are just small. 

The former cost more money, and will offer protection, comfort and enhance your child’s experience. The latter are cheap, often uncomfortable, and in some cases dangerous. 

From Pee-Wee class through to teens, there is a whole host of children’s motocross helmets available. Kids dirt bike gear, is no different to adults, in that the phrase “motocross” is often used as a marketing tool for unsuitable products. At any level of ability, you should be buying respected brands that are used by more advanced, capable riders. These are tried and tested products. Unknown brands from non-motocross specific suppliers could be dangerous 


How much should I spend on a kids dirt bike helmet?

When buying any kind of helmet, the answer to that question is, as much as you can afford. Next to the bike, it is the single most crucial piece of equipment that you will buy. You will need to set your budget according to the level of ability your child has. 

We have outlined some key factors below to help you set the right budget:

 

Helmets for beginners level motocross & Dirt Bike

As with any sport, it is best to get young riders started as soon as possible. These kids will be riding low powered bikes. Their confidence level will be low, and so they will ride cautiously. 

Skill level will be negligible too, and so they will fall off a lot! This doesn’t mean that they will injure themselves a lot. Most spills are harmless and often happen on grass or softer surfaces. This is often far safer than falling off of a pushbike or skateboard on the tarmac. 

Nevertheless, should they be unfortunate enough to catch their head on an obstacle, kerb or tree, you will want that helmet to do its job. 

Expect to spend between $90 and $150.00 for a suitable entry-level and Pee Wee level helmet. You can read our Best Motocross Helmets for Kids Under $200 here. (link to article) 

 

Look for the following features:

  • poly-carbonate, Poly-Alloy or poly-carbon composite construction.
  • Secure D-Ring strap
  • Removable Peak
  • Suitable DOT, SNELL, ECE and ACU rating. (We do not recommend the Sharp rating system without one or more of the other ratings mentioned) 

 

Helmets for confident and developing riders 

More advanced riders, who are riding faster, warrant a bigger budget. If your child is moving from mountain bike racing or BMX, they will already have a level of confidence on two wheels. Even kids switching from GO-Karting to motocross will love the thrill of speed. These kids will carry this confidence into dirt bikes. 

If they are moving up from their Pee Wee bike, to a proper junior motocross or dirt bike, then they will have the necessary skills and will be dealing with more power. More confident riders will also start trying out more advanced capabilities like jumping. 

Expect to spend between $150 & $250 for a second purchase, or for a rider who is switching from another competitive two-wheel, or four-wheel sport. 

Check out the (link) and the (Link) for two ideal contenders. 

 

Look for the following features:

  • poly-carbonate, Poly-Alloy or poly-carbon composite construction.
  • MIPS safety system
  • EPS liner system 
  • Increased Air Venting
  • Suitable DOT, SNELL, ECE and ACU rating. (We do not recommend the Sharp rating system without one or more of the other ratings mentioned) 

 

Helmets for competitive, advanced and gnarly riders 

OK, it is fair to say you may have a grey hair or two now. 

Your kid is smashing it. They are popping wheelies, jumping the neighbour’s cars, dropping off the garage roof. There is no holding them back. 

They are obsessed with watching super-cross and Extreme MX. Petrol is running in their veins. Protect them well, and they will ride with confidence. Riders who advance into competitive classes are dedicated. They will live sleep, eat and breathe dirt bikes. Buy them the best. 

If your child is racing through the ranks and is approaching Junior Intermediate class (8 years old plus) or Junior Expert Class (13 years old plus), you need a racing helmet 

Also, congratulations. Buckle up, you are in for the long haul, and maybe have a champion on your hands. You need to be looking for maximum performance and safety, from the lightest materials. 

Expect to pay $300 and up to $650 to keep them at a suitable level of protection. Often, kids riding this level may have adult-size heads; however, most of the top manufacturers have youth versions of their adult helmets. 

You can check our Best dirt bike helmets guide here and reference the sizing charts for fit. 

 

Look for the following features:

  • Poly-carbon composite or carbon fibre construction.
  • MIPS safety system
  • EPS liner system 
  • Removable cheek pad systems
  • Maximum Air Venting
  • Lightweight
  • Oversize aperture for oversize goggles
  • Suitable DOT, SNELL, ECE and ACU rating. (We do not recommend the Sharp rating system without one or more of the other ratings mentioned) 

Most important of all. Include your kid in the buying process. They may already have opinions on style, colour, and influencers. Influencers can include brand and the rider that uses them. Find out! This decision needs to be joint. You want your kid to be proud to wear their helmet, and the first purchase is always a special one. 


How to measure for a kids helmet

Before we give you the answer to that, we want to tell you what you ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT DO, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. 

Do not buy big, so that they grow into it. This rule goes for all kids motocross gear, but even more so with a helmet. Buying on an oversize helmet can lead to severe injury. The way a helmet is designed to work is entirely dependant on it fitting correctly. Falling off a bike, even at very low speeds, can create rotational forces. If a helmet is too big, it can snag, twist, or come off. No matter how quickly your child is growing, don’t buy big. Simple. 

Lecture over. 

What size helmet should I get for a six-year-old? This is the type of question that we hear often. The only sensible reply is, “How big is their head”?

Helmets are not sized by age. They are sized in millimeters or inches depending on your location.

 

To find the right size for your child, follow this guide:

Take a tailors style material tape. 

Have your child stand facing away from you.

Loop the tape around the forehead, just above the brow. 

Adjust the ends of the tape so that “zero” rests on the widest point between forehead and back of the head.

Wrap the tape around to make a loop. 

Carefully adjust the loop until it is just gripping the entire circumference of the head.

Make sure that the closed-loop is still above the brow, and above the top of the ears. 

Make three measurements, slacking off, and reclosing the loop each time.

You should have three almost identical measurements. Take the biggest. 

 

Tip: The loop should not be tight around the head. If your child is feeling constricting pressure from the tape, you have tightened the loop too much. 

 

Once you are satisfied you have taken the correct measurement you can start checking manufacturers sizes. 

Because parents are so used to buying kids gear in age bands, we have put a reference point in the following table. Buy on the measurement you take, not the age. 

 

Kids Helmet Sizing Chart

18–36 months: Around 50cm or 19.50″

3–5 years: Around 53cm, or 20.50″

6–8 years: Around 55cm, or 21.50″

8–10 years: Around 57cm, or 22.50″

 

Fine-tuning Kids Helmet:

Some manufacturers will offer a level of fine-tuning to get a more comfortable fit. Humans have different shaped heads, as well as different size heads. 

By looking directly at the top of your child’s head, you will notice that the shape of their head will fall into either round or oval.

Manufacturer’s offer a varying degree of oval profiles, or round profiles. You can increase comfort by selecting an intermediate oval or round, depending on their head shape. 

OK. You are ready to buy your kids a motocross helmet. We hope that this buying guide has cleared up any questions you had. If you enjoyed this article, please share it. If there are other subjects you would like to read relating to kids motocross gear, then leave a comment in the box below. 

We will be back soon with more Motocross Advice. 

Have Fun!

Martin

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