Motorcycle helmets for kids aren’t as easy to buy as adult ones. It’s a fact! Actually, adult motorcycle helmets aren’t exactly easy to buy either. There are so many different styles for different types of motorcycle riding, and of course, finding the perfect fit can be an uphill struggle. As adults, we’ve got it hard. But it’s much harder being a kid.
There isn’t as much variety when it comes to youth motorcycle helmets, and of the selection available, there are a lot out there that just look like they’d be safe. Even if you find a good model from a trustworthy brand or retailer, it also has to look cool too. Kids aren’t stupid. They’re like us adults. No one wants to wear something that makes them look silly, so you’ve got to find something cool lookin’ too.
With a bit of luck, you’ll find a helmet that they’ll want to wear. A motorcycle helmet that you won’t have to force on to their head every time they want to experience the thrill of riding or being on a motorcycle. Because they’ve got to wear it, no matter what!
It doesn’t matter what your locals laws say, because there’s no excuse for not protecting your child’s head. The freedom to choose to wear a helmet or not is something an adult rider can decide for themselves, but when it comes to a child’s safety, helmets must always be worn if they’re going to be riding a motorcycle.
There are a lot of myths about children’s heads and the negative effects of wearing a helmet. Some have a grain of truth in them, but most do not. If your kid is going on a motorcycle, put a helmet on them. Even if you believe the misinformation, it’s better to have a kid with a pinched head rather than head that’s splattered across the floor. Right?
GMax might not be a name that you’re immediately familiar with, but their helmet products are high in quality, DOT approved, and relatively inexpensive. They do the job and do it on a budget—which is ideal, considering that children can be notoriously fickle, and may lose interest in motorcycling weeks after wanting a helmet of their own!
The GM49Y model is a specially designed lid that’s made specifically for small heads. It’s made from a thermo-plastic poly alloy outer shell, which is topped with a smart painted surface with cool graphical decals and a clear coat finish. On the inside, the liner features removable and adjustable interior cheek pads that ensure a tight and comfortable custom fit. There is also a padded chin strap
Other cool features include a snap-in chin curtain and breath guard; this helps to improve warmth inside the helmet and prevent the visor from steaming up. The helmet also has two intake and exhaust vents, at the front on the forehead and at the rear on the back of the helmet. For easy shield changes, the visor swapping procedure is screw-less and doesn’t require any special tools.
The best feature about this helmet, apart from the price, is the interior cushioning. This makes it ideal for growing kids since the pads can be added and removed as necessary when your child’s head gets bigger!
HJC makes some seriously impressive helmets, ranging from excellent budget products to top-of-the-range, race-quality protection. It’s a brand that we’ve come to know and love over the years. But did you know that the Korean company also has an extensive line-up of kids motorcycle helmets? They have plenty to choose from.
The model we like the best is the CL-Y Youth helmet series. There are a lot of variations of this helmet for sale, with different design features and configurations. However, the CL-Y series all have some fundamental things in common, so you can choose any of them and they’ll have the following features.
Each CL-Y helmet is made from an injection-molded thermoplastic shell, with a dual density EPS liner. The actual helmet has been wind-tunnel tested for aerodynamics, and features an extra-large eye port, flow through ventilation, and a 4-position lock face shield.
On the inside, the helmet has a removable and washable Nylex interior lining with a top pad, a neck roll that keeps wind noise to a minimum whilst keeping out chilly breeze, with more than enough interior space to accommodate eye glasses. The visor is anti-fog, and has an easy-to-use quick release system for fast shield changes.
It’s DOT approved, offers 100% protection against UV rays, and comes at a reasonable price. HJC’s child helmets are just as good as their adult ones. That’s for sure.
Fox Racing is another brand that you’ve probably heard of, especially if you’ve got kids that are in to motorcycling. Fox Racing has a huge range of gear for smaller riders, from gloves, to jerseys, to pads, to helmets. The brand’s products are geared towards off-road riding, so if you’ve got kids who love dirt biking, then give Fox a look.
The Fox Racing Youth V1 range of helmets come in a variety of color options and sizes, but they all share the same basic DNA. Each helmet is made from a tough injection molded polycarbonate outer shell, with an advanced EPS (expanded polyester) liner. The helmet features a total of 9 intake vents and 4 exhaust vents for serious airflow.
On the inside, this helmet offers some serious padding. In fact, it has so much padding that the fit will be snug, and possibly even too snug. For this reason, we highly recommend that you check with the brand’s own sizing guide on their website for the best information before committing to a purchase.
Other cool features of this helmet include the special Magnetic Visor Release System (MVRS) that allows the peaked visor to easily release from the helmet in the event of a crash. This exclusive technology allows for improved safety, without compromising a rider’s vision.
Naturally, all of Fox Racing’s V1 helmets are both DOT and ECE certified. Not bad for such a low price, huh?
Troy Lee Designs is one of the biggest names in the American motorcycle gear industry. Based out of Corona, California, Troy Lee has been designing and manufacturing high-quality motorcycling apparel and protective gear since 1981. Today, the company retails some of the most respected protective products on the market, serving more than 15 countries.
The helmet we’re recommending is the Troy Lee SE4 Polyarylite model. It comes in a wide variety of finishes, from plain block colors to more exciting designs to manufacturer liveries and beyond. Despite the myriad of finishes, each helmet shares the same fundamental construction.
Each helmet is made from a polyacrylite outer shell, and features advanced MIPS technology. MIPS technology, or Multi-directional Impact Protection System, uses a special layer in-between the shell and the liner to improve brain protection from rotational force. It’s a very clever system, and it’s great to see it used on a helmet with such a low price point.
The exterior also features an expanded polypropylene chin bar, 16 air intake ports for maximum air flow, and plastic visor screws that will break-away in the event of an impact, protecting the rider. The inside, features clever 3D contoured padding for the ultimate fit, with an emergency release system that helps paramedics remove the helmet easily in an accident situation.
The Troy Lee SE4 Polyacrylite Helmet is both DOT and ECE certified.
Leatt is a South African company that specialises in creating neck braces and body armor for a wide range of motorsports, so you can trust their helmet-making skills! This particular helmet, the GPX 4.5, is designed specifically for young riders, and packs a surprising amount of innovative technology into such a small and inexpensive shell. Prepare to be amazed.
The Leatt GPX 4.5 is manufactured from a special injected polymer compound outer shell. It boasts 360° Turbine Technology, which means that there is a liner that features a number of 3D molded turbines which help absorb energy and reduce rotational forces, which can lead to serious injury. It’s an odd technology, but it has been proven to reduce concussion injuries.
For those who thrive on stats: the 360° Turbine Technology is said to reduce 30% of head impact damage, up to 40% of rotational acceleration to the brain, and with the smaller shell, 20% of all rotational forces on the brain, head, and neck are drastically reduced.
Underneath, the helmet features a unique v-shaped impact-resistant foam, that improves protection and allows the overall shell size to be smaller. The helmet also boasts a removable and washable Dri-Lex moisture wicking liner, removable cheek pads, and a break-away peaked visor.
There are also a number of other cool features on this helmet: it can accommodate a hands-free hydration pack, it’s compatible with neck brace technology, and it has excellent ventilation. And of course, it‘s DOT certified.
For parents who want nothing less than the best for their kids, then this is the product required. It’s not a budget-friendly option by any stretch of the imagination, but if your child takes their riding seriously then we recommend something like this. 6D is top tier helmet manufacture based out of Brea, California, and the Youth ATR-2Y is a scaled down version of the popular adult-sized ATR-2.
The outer shell is made from a lightweight tri-polymer shell, but it’s the inner layers that really set this helmet apart from the crowd. Manufactured from a strong expanded polypropylene outer liner that works in tandem with a replaceable expanded polystyrene inner layer, the helmet has impressive shock damping abilities.
Between the two layers, there are special damping towers with low fiction discs that help absorb energy and prevent rotational force damage and direct impact shock. It’s perfect protection for high-velocity crashes as well as gentler bangs and bumps.
The interior features a removable washable moisture-wicking and antibacterial Dri-Lex liner, emergency release cheek pads, and 16 air intake and 6 air exhaust ventilation ports for optimal air flow. Other cool additions include an EPP chinbar, a Brow Rib for added strength around the eye areas, and a Cervical Protection Zone.
The 6D Youth ATR-2Y Helmet is both DOT and ASTM certified, exceeding both of their standards.
High-grade, race-proven helmet
Advanced ODS technology
Helmets can be rebuilt easily
3 year manufacturer’s warranty
Weight: 2.7 lbs
Kids Motorcycle Helmets: A Buying Guide
The list above features some of the best kids motorcycle helmet examples on the market, but you can’t just hit the buy button straight away. For a helmet to work, it has to fit properly and be used as the manufacturer intended. A thousand dollar helmet won’t protect anything if it doesn’t fit right, and if it’s not designed to do the task at hand, it’s practically useless. This is our buying guide that should help you make the best decision for buying motorcycle helmets for kids.
What To Look For When Buying Kids Motorcycle Helmets
For example, a dirt bike helmet comes without a face shield and with an elongated chin bar. These features help increase a dirt bike rider’s visibility and protect their chin in a slow speed accident. The helmet is tailored for its purpose. Of course, with this kind of helmet, you’d have to buy some goggles too!
A normal full face helmet is geared towards road riding. They’re designed with aerodynamics and high-speed travel in mind.
When it comes to a young rider who shouldn’t be traveling at high-speeds anyway, a dirt bike helmet is probably a better option. However, it’s worth keeping the types of helmets in mind when you’re shopping.
Even more important that the overall shape of a helmet is the size and fit of it all. When you’re looking around for a new helmet, it’s worth keeping in mind your child’s head shape. Like adult helmets, most youth helmets are classified by the shape: round oval, intermediate oval, and long oval. Searching for the right head shape is the first step in finding a great fit for your kids motorcycle helmet.
A helmet should also have adequate interior padding, cushioning the face in an accident, with a snug fit. Loose fit helmets are no good in a crash, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable tight either. We always recommend visiting a motorcycle apparel store to try on a few helmets to get an idea of what sort of size and shape you and your child would need.
Safety features should also be a high priority. A decent helmet will have more than a tough outer shell and a bit of padding. A good helmet, motorcycle or otherwise, will feature the latest advances in head and brain protection. For example, be on the lookout for specific technologies that reduce the damage from rotational forces, or with special materials designed to absorb shock.
Any helmet that you consider buying should conform to an international standard, at the very least. Look out for DOT or ECE certification, and for more advanced ratings such as SNELL or ATSM. If it doesn’t have any of those marks stamped on the shell, move on—because that junk is no good to you or your child.
Comfort & Looks
If a helmet isn’t comfortable to wear, your child won’t want to wear it. That’s why it’s important to search for a helmet that has ample padding and cushioning, that doesn’t weigh a ton, with adequate air flow. Helmets without good padding hurt to wear after a while. Heavy helmets strain the neck. And stuffy helmets are just the worst! If a helmet is comfortable to wear, your kid will love wearing it.
Similarly, it has to look good too. A cool looking helmet will really appeal to your child. They’ll see it as a cool accessory that they want to be seen wearing. An uncool helmet will be ditched as soon as your back is turned. And that’s when accidents happen.
Another important thing that these kind of guides often overlook is the fastening. Modern helmets come with two kinds of clasps: Double D-Ring fastenings, or Quick-Release buckles. The debate over which one is better has been raging for years, and there’s no clear winner. However, when it comes to kids motorcycle helmets, the Quick-Release is probably the better option.
Because it’s easy to fasten and easy to undo. Double D-rings are great, but they can be fiddly for young hands to fasten and unfastened. If it’s frustrating to use, it will make the whole helmet frustrating to wear. For that reason, we recommend the simple Quick-Release system, because that is super easy to operate.
Lastly, always read the reviews. This probably goes without saying, but it’s always worth reading the reviews. Even if you’re sure of a product’s quality and protection ability, it might be sized differently to other helmets that you’ve looked at. Existing customers may offer some interesting insights or buying advice could help you make the right decision.
Is a helmet sized a little smaller than advertised? The comments section should let you know. Is it as comfortable as it says it is? Someone will say so in a review. Is the shipping any good? Did it arrive with faulty components? Never skip the review section.
Choose A Brand You Recognize
While it’s true that most of the leading helmet manufacturers in the motorcycle industry don’t make motorcycle helmets for kids, there are still a number of industry players that do. When it comes to buying safety equipment of any kind, it’s always worth opting for a name that you’ve already heard of.
The reason for this isn’t so much about quality, but more about customer service in the event something doesn’t go to plan. A large brand with a huge following is likely better equipped to offer replacement parts or replace faulty goods than a smaller brand that you’ve never heard of.
That’s why we recommend brands like HJC, Fox Racing, and Troy Lee Designs. You may find no-name brands with comparable quality, but it might not pay off in the long run.
Where To Buy Motorcycle Helmets
Choosing to buy online is arguably the best way to get the best deal on a new helmet. Thanks to sites like Amazon, Revzilla, and Chapmoto, buying has never been easier. However, make sure that these retailers offer the same warranty and inclusions that you’d get if buying directly from the manufacturer. And keep an eye out for shipping fees too—whatever you save on the ticket price you may end up spending on the postage!
It’s always a wise idea to visit a brick and mortar store. These stores a run by real enthusiasts who ride every day and have a wealth of knowledge that you can take advantage of. They also have physical products that you can try on for size too. Visit a store and get your size, and see if you can find the same product online for a cheaper price. Even if you can, the store may even match the price online.
Joe is a motorcycle industry veteran who has not only been paid for his words on the industry but also to throw a leg over a bike on the track. Besides riding, and occasionally crashing motorcycles, he also likes to build up older bikes in his garage in Germany. He says; "I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…" We like Joe's educated opinion and hope you do too.