Mums' Corner

How To: Fit A Child’s Bicycle Helmet

It's so simple to do and yet so easy to get wrong. Here's an expert's guide on how to fit a child's helmet properly.

Helmets need to cover your child’s forehead

Fitting a child’s helmet is a quick and simple process but one that so many of us consistently get wrong. We asked Pete Campbell, retail operations manager of Pearson Cycles, for his top tips on how to fit a child’s helmet properly:

A common misconception among many parents is that as long as their children are wearing a helmet, then they are significantly safer than they would be if they were not wearing one. Although true to a point, the number of children (and adults) seen riding around with a poorly fitted helmet is staggering.

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Many retail outlets will simply sell you a certain sized helmet in a box and with little or no other guidance they will send you on your merry way, assuming that any instructions will be read and the helmet correctly fitted.

All retailers should take the time to size up your child’s head correctly and ensure the following three things are true of your choice of helmet:

Fit A Child’s Helmet Step One:

Make sure the helmet fits securely and does not wobble. This is a very quick and simple process, and should only take five minutes. You should ask the sales advisor to adjust the straps for you. This will show you how to adjust the straps yourself and you will get to see what a perfect fitting helmet looks like too.

Fit A Child’s Helmet Step Two:

Make sure your child’s forehead is not exposed. A correctly fitted helmet should be worn facing the right way (amazingly many people do get this wrong) and should not be worn on the back of the head, thus exposing the forehead. This will not protect your child if they go over the handlebars face first. The brim of the front of the helmet should really be about a centimetre above the eyebrows, so high enough to not restrict their vision, but low enough to protect their forehead in the event of a fall.

Fit A Child’s Helmet Step Three:

Make sure the chin strap is snug but not restrictive. Once buckled up, your child should be able to look up above them and still be able to breathe and talk properly. Approximately eight out of ten helmets we see at Pearson are too loose. Your child should be able to get a couple of fingers between the strap and the neck, but no more. If it is any looser, in the event of an impact the helmet will simply be pushed out of position leaving the head exposed to a potential injury.

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It is also advisable to carry out a quick weekly check to ensure these three things are still true of your child’s helmet as through day to day use the straps may become twisted, undone or the fit altered in some way.

Pearson Cycles Sutton-based store is the oldest bike store in the world. They also have a second store in East Sheen next to Richmond Park in London. To check out the range of children’s helmets they have on offer, pop into one of their stores or have a browse of their website

Buying a Kid’s Bike: Everything you Need to Know

Liked this how to guide? Check out these too:

How to: Teach Your Kid to Ride a Bike

How to: First Aid for Cyclists

How to: Avoid Buying a Stolen Bike

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