It can be scary when your child discovers the joy of wheels. On one hand, it’s wonderful to see them pushing their boundaries, getting braver, and laughing their heads off. Skateboards are exhilarating when they do as they’re told.
This doesn’t always happen, of course. A badly timed bit of pressure at the rear of the board or a distracted moment can lead to the board shooting forward while your child carries out the equal and opposite reaction by crashing out backwards.
We want them to have fun safely. But there’s a bewildering array of helmets on the market with varying degrees of certification and made from different fabrics. We’ve narrowed down a list of five best helmets and covered the full range of ages from 3 and up. You now have time to buy more band aids. Just kidding.
Just as a global note before we kick off, there are three features that all helmets (bike and skateboard) have in common:
EPS protective foam inside the helmet’s shell for shock absorption
an adjustable strap
and a quick-release buckle.
In the interests of not repeating ourselves to the point of tedium, you can assume that all helmets in the following list have these features. What we’ve tried to do is focus on their distinguishing features. Following a quick canter through the 5 best helmets, you might want to read the buyer’s guide, which touches on things which are helpful to know when searching for the perfect helmet.
In a hurry? Here are our top 5.
Top 5 Best Skate Helmets for Kids and Toddlers
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The Kamugo helmet and protective pads is Amazon’s choice for a protective bundle for kids. For a very reasonable price, you get knee, elbow and wrist pads with your helmet, and the kit comes in five colors: black, red, blue, pink and purple.
Let’s look at the helmet fit, first. As you can surmise from the chirpy colors and simple design, it’s aimed at the littler skater, from 3-8 years. Loosely. We say loosely because it really does depend upon your child’s head circumference.
The measurement limits on this helmet are 48-54cm/18.9-21.3 inches. An adjustment dial fitted to the rear of the helmet, beneath the hard ABS shell. We’ll call this the drop-down dial, as it’s a feature that’ll be mentioned on a few helmets in this list. An externally-located adjustment dial is easier to reach and makes the helmet fit more comfortably.
The additional pads are a welcome bonus for the parents of a particularly intrepid nipper.
The pads are strapped on with Velcro, so even the younger kids can get themselves organized without too much parental help/interference (depending upon their mindset). The fabric itself is woven PP (polypropylene). The upside of this is that it’s breathable and extremely light. PP is one of the lightest synthetic fabrics to provide this level of durability. Your kid will outgrow the pads before they do any damage to them.
One thing to note, however; even though PP fabric is highly breathable, it can get rather hot. It’s used in the manufacture of military wear as a bottom layer in inhospitably cold climates. For skating purposes, this doesn’t need to present a significant problem. Just encourage your kid to take them off every hour or so for a quick wipe-down around the soft skin inside the joints and across the wrists. If your nipper isn’t one to give up easily, then just keep a little talcum powder on hand for comfort throughout the day.
This kit also comes with a carry bag.
Robust and durable
Easy to adjust
Comfortable wrist protection
The elbow and knee pads come up a little large on the littler skaters
This is one of the most widely bought helmets for both skating and cycling. It’s an uncomplicated, low-cost design that comes in three sizes:
We’ve included tips on measuring head circumference in the buyer’s guide.
It’s a light helmet with no bells or whistles which has passed the CPSC (cycling) and ASTM (skateboarding) certified impact resistance testing thresholds. If you want to buy a couple for your kids, then this isn’t going to make an undue hole in your pocket. Other than the helmet that comes in Pepto pink, the designs are unisex, which is handy if you want them to be shared between siblings—equal head size withstanding, of course.
The hard outer shell is made of PVC and PC plastic for good impact protection. The upside of this plastic combination is supreme protection in the event of a dangerous fall. It will dissipate the impact and the EPS foam will absorb the shock. The downside is that this combination can be quite brittle. The helmet will keep you from harm, but after a serious impact it will need to be replaced, just as you would a bike helmet.
Our only other niggle with this design here is the lack of adjustable dial at the rear. There’s always a payoff, though; though you might bank on getting the right size selection from your measurements (and the helmet can be more comfortable without the dial) you’re committed to the out-of-the-box fit until it’s time to get a new one.
Nearly all colors will go with most outfits
Covers a good range of head sizes: your child can blend in at any age
No adjustable dial
This is one of the lesser-known brands providing helmets for older kids and teens, but it is distinguished in this list by a very special element: it has scored 100% on five stars by everyone who has taken the time to review it on Amazon. That’s quite a customer satisfaction feat.
The head measurement range on this ABS-shelled helmet is 20.47-22”/52-56cm. It features a drop-down adjustment dial and 8mm of removable (and washable) soft foam for a neater, more comfortable fit.
Other distinguishing features are the aesthetic design and the breathability.
This helmet is cool, no doubt about it. The cracked-rock paint job look is distinctive and nicely unisex. As the size range on these helmets is fairly generous, you could buy two for two kids over 10 and have them swap them over when they want a different look. The helmets come in black, blue or red, and will pretty much ‘go’ with anything else they wear.
This helmet features 17 vents, which is 4 more than the average. Great for particularly hot weather or hot work without compromising safety.
This helmet is CPSC certified.
Great to look at
Particularly good ventilation
As this is for older kids, it would be good to have a confirmed ASTM certification as well as CPSC.
This chirpy helmet looks good on little rippers and it even features a detachable sun visor. There’s decent ventilation with its 11 holes, and you can remove the inner lining to wash it. The chin strap features removable padding to make it more comfortable and less abrasive across the neck. The helmet also features a drop-down adjustment dial.
In terms of fit, this ABS-shelled helmet comes in two sizes:
Small: 19.7 - 22.1 inch(50–56 cm)
M: 21.7 - 23.2 inch (55–59 cm)
It’s CPSC certified and meets CEN standard EN1078. This is good enough for younger riders, or those who aren’t trying anything too adventurous beyond a little cruising.
You can buy this matte-finish helmet in black, white, blue, green or orange.
Easy to adjust to fit
The visor is an original touch
The small size comes up rather large
Anecdotal evidence from customer feedback suggests that the visor comes off or breaks too easily
Triple-8 helmets are made by an outfit based in New York which has specialized in head protection for speedy nippers, youths and adults since 1996. They combine streetwise style and function with a degree of panache. In short, this is the helmet for the kids who really want to be taken seriously. They want to blend in with the bigger kids in the park. They want to be cool. And they want to get right up when they’ve fallen over.
As the Lil 8 helmet is designed to fit 3-5 year olds, you’ll be pleased to hear that it sails past the threshold for the ASTM F-1492 Skate safety standards tests and is also certified as bike-safe by the CPSC.
This helmet fits a head circumference of 18–20”/46–52cm.
A nice design feature is the anti-pinch chin guard. Quick release straps can catch you unawares when they strain and then close around a hair root or patch of skin. It’s a painful distraction which could strike at the wrong moment. The guard is removable.
To supplement the drop-down adjustment dial, you can experiment with the thin and thick liners inside the foam to achieve your most comfortable fit. The liners are sweatsavers which can be easily washed.
The primary aesthetic design is a miniature version of their signature black rubber with the red straps. You can get the same matte look in purple rubber, or go for gloss in white, green or blue.
Triple-8 accommodates the whole family. Filling the gulf between 5-11 is the Triple Eight Little Tricky helmet. Preteens to adults can go for the Triple 8 Gotham Helmet, which is built using the multi-impact protection system and forms part of the serious skater’s kit.
More options for achieving perfect fit
Comfortable chin protection
Quite pricey if you’re buying for more than one child.
The Hello Kitty bike helmet by Bell is for the littler skater who likes to keep things girly, even when they’re tackling intimidating hills. It’s very fan-specific, of course, and some girls will wrinkle their nose at it, but you might well have a 3-5 year old who would snatch this out of the box and refuse to take it off. We’ve included this one because it’s designed to fit very little girls. Don’t be fooled by the cutesy appearance into feeling that this is something of a toy product; it complies with the CPSC safety standard for bicycle Helmets for ages 1+ and the ASTM Safety Standard for multi-impact skateboard helmets.
If your child has a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, then it’s worth having a look at the Little Nutty and ProRider BMX bike and skate helmets. They’re both cut a little higher over the ear without compromising temple or mastoid protection. This higher cut is a real boon for reducing that infuriating whistling which comes from proximity feedback where the microphone is positioned right in front of the tubing. The Little Nutty helmet is one of the more expensive options. However, the combination of safety and comfort for kids wearing Siemens, Philips, Oticon or Phonak BTE aids seems a regrettably rare thing, which makes these helmets something of an investment.
For sweat control, you might want to check out Gear for Ears, where you can get aid waterproofing covers.
Best Skate Helmets for Kids and Toddlers Buying Guide
This is just a quick run through the things you might want to take into account when picking the most ideal helmet. We’ve tried to answer your most frequently asked questions within this section.
How do I measure my child’s head?
The measurement should be taken in a straight line around the circumference of the skull just above the eyebrows. If they are significantly shorter than you, then sit in a chair opposite so that they don’t automatically look up into your face, which changes the relative position of the occiput and throws out your measurements.
You don’t often have to measure width, but a cheeky hack for doing this easily is to put two squared water bottles either side of their head, just behind their ears. Measure the gap between the bottles.
Why can’t they just use a bike helmet?
Biking and skateboarding present different kinds of risk. Bike accidents tend to result in side-on and front-facing injuries. Kids are more likely to get thrown over the handlebars or send sliding under the weight of their bike. Impacts are more occasional but also more violent.
Skateboarding leads to more frequent impact with the ground at a lesser level of violence. Thus a skateboarding helmet needs to stand the test of multiple impacts. A bike helmet is usually replaced after an accident, even if it doesn’t look damaged. A lot of helmets are dual-certified for bike and skateboard use.
How do I interpret the certification information?
CPSC certification: CPSC stands for Consumer Product Safety Commission, which covers cycling amongst a range of other activities. They have scales of appropriate protective features on a helmet for riders on a sliding scale of ages.
ASTM certifications: ASTM stands for American Society for Testing and Materials. The specific standard that relates to skateboarding helmets is F1492. This is the standard which must appear on your helmet’s label if they have been certified by the ASTM.
Now, if the skateboard helmet doesn’t have an ASTM certification, it doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. For cruising around, the helmet will be absolutely fine. For sophisticated tricks, use in a skate park, or roads with an incline or hill, you might rest better if the helmet is known to meet the F1492 standard. This certification is more critical for older children, or those who really like to expand their comfort zone.
Helmets claiming to be “dually” certified without referencing the F1492 standard. Manufacturers could reasonably claim that their helmet passes the CEN standard as well as the CPSC standard; while this is semantically true, it does not demonstrate that the helmet is appropriately built to withstand multiple impacts.
Bike helmets being appropriated for skateboarding use because they meet CPSC standards for biking and skating. This may well be true of roller or inline skating, but the risks with those activities have more in common with bike accidents than with skateboarding.
Which plastic does what? I have no idea what all these acronyms mean.
PC = polycarbonate plastic. A polycarbonate polymer is excellent for impact protection. To give you some sense of scale, it’s one of the components of bullet-proof glass and holds its form under shock more robustly than ABS/PC or ABS helmets.
ABS: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. This plastic is super-malleable with heat, making it ideal for injection moulding. It’s exceptionally robust and one of the safest plastics for kids, containing no known carcinogens and BPA free. If you’re wondering how tough it is, just think about how hard it is to break a single block of lego. You’d have a rough ride even trying to saw through it!
PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is the third-most widely used plastic. It’s a tough and economical component for any item where robustness is a must. It’s strong and abrasion resistant. Thirdly, and God forbid you ever see this feature in action, but PVC is inherently flame-resistant, too. A PC helmet with PVC component will stay looking scuff-free for a good while. This is great for kids who like their important stuff to be neat.
Are there child proof straps for little children who keep trying to take their helmet off?
The short answer is no. For some of us, that means “Alas, no.” It is quite stressful watching your little one hurtling about with no fear of gravel or gravity. However, childproof clips and locks appear to be a flawed concept unless they actually come with a key. Your average adult can fight with the lid of an Ibuprofen bottle for up to a minute before getting the push-and-twist timing just right. Your average six-year-old, by contrast, will wander over, give the lid a nonchalant twist, and wander off convinced that he’s Superman.
It’s a lovely idea as a means of lowering parental blood pressure, but a flawed concept in terms of practice.