Buying The Best Bike Helmet For Your Kid
Selecting a bicycle helmet that fits your child properly and provides optimum safety is no trivial task. You'll find two different types of helmets are available: soft shell and hard shell. The hard shell helmet has an exterior coat of hard plastic or fiberglass over a polystyrene mold. Helmets deemed "soft shell" have a thick mold of polystyrene covered by fabric or other soft material. Both types of helmets have been approved by safety boards for use and the protection provided is similar. To ensure you are purchasing an approved helmet, check inside the helmet for a sticker from ANSI, CPSC or Snell who test and rate products for safety.
Most stores offer bicycle helmets and multi-purpose helmets used in other sports like rollerblading and skateboarding. From a safety standpoint, both are appropriate for biking but some multi-use helmets tend to be heavier than cycling helmets so take that into consideration. This may be more important to young riders whose neck muscles are not highly developed. A brightly colored helmet will stand out and be easier for drivers to see.
A bicycle helmet should fit firmly but comfortably on a child's head. To test this, put the helmet on and twist it from side-to-side. A slight pull on the skin of the forehead shows the helmet is the right size. If the helmets slips back and forth without any grip it is too large. Helmets for kids come in small, medium and large. Some companies also offer an infant version of their helmets.
The fit of the straps is another important consideration. The straps should pass over the ears without making contact with the ears as this will likely cause irritation. When the strap is fastened it should be secure under the child's chin without being uncomfortable. Check and make sure that the strap provides some room to adjust and grow as your child does. Good helmets also have a pinch-free fastening system, an important feature.
It's a great idea to let your child choose their own cycling helmet. Kids are a lot more likely to consistently wear a bike helmet if it's something they picked out. Replace helmets every 4 years, after a crash or if they've simply outgrown the helmet.
A helmet should rest squarely on top of the head and not move when the strap is secured. A helmet that wobbles on the head is dangerous as it may obstruct a child's vision and won't protect the forehead or face. Give the helmet a good tug back and forth before every ride to make sure it is adjusted properly.
when choosing your child's bike helmet select a helmet that that fits well and has a safety approval seal. From there, let your son or daughter make the choice. The best helmet is one that a child is happy to wear on every ride.
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