How to fit a kid's bicycle helmet properly
Just like an adult's helmet, a child's helmet is only safe if it fits properly.
The expert coaches at Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy, who run sessions to teach children to cycle, have highlighted five things to look for when fitting a child's helmet, as well as the most common mistakes.
1. Make sure the forehead is not exposed.
Helmets should not be worn on the back of the head. The helmet should cover your forehead halfway down, and settle just above the eyebrows. Don't let the forehead be exposed.
2. Aim for a snug fit.
"If the helmet leaves a red mark, this is the wrong size of helmet for your child", says Olympian and coach, Ed Clancy.
The helmet should not be wobbly or be able to be twisted from side to side. Don't prompt your child, but if they immediately complain of pressure on their forehead, temple, or it being too tight, try another brand or size.
Children's heads are different shapes and you may need to try another model, even if the helmets say they are the same size.
3. Don't forget the strap.
"Most of the straps on kids' helmets are too loose. Parents usually forget to adjust them", explains Ali Slater. "They should fit tightly in a V shape just below the ears".
The straps stop the helmet slipping forward over their eyes on rough ground. Straps also stop the helmet shifting to the side and exposing the side of the head if they fall.
Tighten the buckle straps close to their chin. Your child should be able to freely open their mouth.
4. Don't wear it backwards.
"Lots of parents accidentally fit a helmet backwards". There will be straps, a buckle, or a dial at the back of the helmet and this should not be at the front.
To help children with putting the helmet on themselves and getting it the right way round, write in pen "F" for front on the inside of the helmet. You may need a sticky label.
5. Don't hand down old helmets.
The protective material in helmets degrades overtime.
"Lots of children come to our sessions with old helmets, which is why we have lots of children's Lazer helmets available free to use."
Even if a children's helmet has been rarely used, the level of protection it will provide will lessen. Replace a helmet every three to five years. If you notice a crack, dent, or split on the inside or outside, replace the helmet immediately.