Proper helmet sizing is critical to protecting your child. No matter how well-designed the helmet is, if it doesn’t fit right, it won’t protect the way it should. It may even come off during a crash or collision. To make sure your child’s helmet fits properly, you need to measure the circumference (around) his or her head. This is the measure by which helmets are sized, and most helmets are sized in centimeters to give a more precise measurement. Once you know the size of your child’s head, you can shop for the proper helmet size.
Whether you’re looking for a kid’s skateboard helmet, kid’s BMX helmet, kid’s ski helmet, or another sport-specific helmet, the same measurement principles remain.
MEASURING FOR A CHILD’S HELMET WITH A MEASURING TAPE
Measuring your child’s head (or anyone else’s head) for a helmet is pretty simple. Simply take a tape measure and wrap it around his or her head, about an inch above the eyebrows, keeping the tape measure level all the way around. Use the centimeter side of the measuring tape to get a more accurate measurement.
MEASURING FOR A CHILD’S HELMET WITH A PIECE OF STRING
If you don’t have a measuring tape, take a piece of string and wrap it around your child’s head, about an inch above the eyebrows. Mark or cut the string so you get an accurate measurement. Then place the string next to a ruler on a flat surface to see how long it is (in centimeters).
IS YOUR CHILD’S HELMET TOO SMALL?
The helmet should fit snugly, but not so tight that feels constrictive. It should sit level on the head about one or two finger-widths above your eyebrow. How do you know if the helmet is too small?
It’s sitting on top of your child’s head
It’s so snug that it leaves a line on his/her forehead
It’s so snug that your child cannot put on a pair of glasses
IS YOUR CHILD’S HELMET TOO BIG?
As parents, we’re used to having our kids grow into their clothes. Shirt/sweater/jacket a little big? No problem, we’ll get our money’s worth out of it. Protective gear is one area where you don’t want to wait for your child to “grow into it.” Some signs that a helmet is too big:
It wiggles or flops around when you turn your head.
It tilts backward or is sliding to the side.
Another way to check the size is, after buckling the helmet, have the wearer open his/her mouth. If the helmet doesn’t press against the forehead, it is too big.
The best way to know if a helmet fits properly is to go to your local bike shop where trained staff can fit your child. It is also very important that Mom & Dad are also wearing a helmet; even though the law does not require it you are setting the example for your kids and potentially saving your life!