How To Measure For Helmet Fit
At Bambino Bikes our number one priority is safety, and that means always wearing a helmet when riding a bike, or if your kids are anything like ours - wearing their helmet in the store, at the playground, in the car, while watching TV… pretty much all the time! Accidents are just that, they are accidents - you can’t anticipate them and you can’t prepare for them. The simple act of properly wearing a helmet can save a life.
A properly fitted helmet is essential to your child’s safety. One that is correctly fitted should be comfortable and should not move forward to obscure vision or slide back to expose the forehead. For a helmet to function as intended and protect the rider it must be the correct size and properly fitted.
When purchasing a helmet for your child there are a few things to look out for:
- CPSC Safety Certification - this is the Consumer Product Safety Commission standard for North American safety certification of cycling helmets. All helmets sold in the US must comply with the standards set by CPSC.
- Child-specific sizing - A helmet that is meant for “youth” or “adults” will be too large. Make sure you select a helmet size that is appropriate for small children.
- Weight - A baby or toddler’s neck muscles are still developing. A helmet that is too heavy will strain their developing neck muscles.
How to measure your child for helmet sizing:
Helmet sizing is determined by the circumference of the head, and is typically given in a minimum and maximum range. It’s important to correctly measure your child’s head to get the right size helmet. This is a simple process and takes just a few minutes.
- Step 1 - Gather your tools
- A flexible measuring tape, string, phone charger or something similar will work great (and a ruler to measure the length of string).
- Step 2 - Measure
- Wrap the measuring tape around your child's head just above their eyebrows and 1.5 cm above their ears. Mark the location of overlap to find the measurement.
- Step 3 - Find Your Size
- We carry a few helmets in different sizes that are great for your child. You can view the sizing charts here. And remember, if your child is between sizes, size DOWN (it’s more important to have a proper fit for a helmet, than something they “will grow into” later).
How to correctly fit a helmet:
Now that you have the correct size helmet for your child, the next step is correctly adjusting the fit. Remember, a helmet that is not securely fit will NOT function correctly during an accident. There are five steps to getting the best fit, but you should always review the owner’s manual that comes with your helmet to correctly fit your helmet.
- Step 1 - Position
- A helmet should be worn low in the front to protect the forehead. If you haven’t heard of the “two-finger helmet fit” rule this is it - place the helmet squarely on your child’s head and have them put two fingers right above the bridge of their nose. If the helmet rests on the top of their fingers, it is in the correct position.
- Step 2 - Side Straps
- The front and rear straps should join at a point slightly below and in front of the ears. Most helmets have a lockable adjuster on the straps. Open the adjuster and slide the straps through, removing any slack in the straps, and close the adjuster.
- Step 3 - Chin Strap
- All helmets are designed to be held in place by a strap under the chin. This is why it is so important to always have the chin strap buckle fastened and in the correct location. A properly positioned chin strap should be located against the throat, NOT at the chin. It should be tight enough that when your child’s mouth is closed it is snug, but still allows movement when they yawn. Position any excess strap under the provided o-ring.
- Step 4 - Retention System
- For helmets that come with a rear retention system make sure that you adjust the dial correctly. With a simple clockwise turn of the dial you can snug the helmet to your child’s head. It should be tight enough that you can’t easily remove the helmet when the strap is removed, but not so tight it hurts them. The rear retention system should be checked before every ride for correct fit.
- Step 5 - Final Fit Check
- Before riding off for adventures together do one final check of your child’s helmet. Grab the helmet with both hands and gently twist to the left and right, and forward and backward. If the helmet is fit correctly there will be minimal movement and the skin on the forehead will move slightly (the helmet should not slide on the head) and the helmet will NOT slide forward or backward on your child’s head.
The right and wrong ways to wear a helmet:
It’s important to get the right size helmet and properly fit it because the helmet will not function as intended in an accident if it is not worn correctly. Here’s an illustration of the correct and wrong ways to wear a helmet:
CORRECT - The helmet is placed squarely on your child’s head, two finger spacing above eyebrows, side straps are meeting just under the ear, and the chin strap is snug and against the throat.
WRONG - The helmet is too far back exposing the forehead and the chin strap is not tight enough.
WRONG - The helmet is too far forward, obstructing the view and the chin strap is not tight enough.
WRONG - The chin strap is too far forward under the chin, instead of being snug back against the throat
If you have any questions about helmet measuring or fitment please feel free to schedule a call with a Bambino Gear Expert.
That’s it, now you’re ready to ride! Thanks for taking the time to teach proper helmet safety and remember, ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET!