Bike Helmet Safety for Kids

Hi, it’s Bonnie, one of 5 Minutes for Mom’s Summer Interns

During the summer, one favorite kids’ activity is riding bikes.  My five-year-old just learned to ride her two-wheeler without help, so I often hear, “Mom, can I ride my bike?” Thankfully I’ve managed to teach her the importance of wearing a helmet and I rarely have to remind her to grab it before she jumps on her bicycle.

What I do have to check is that it is properly adjusted on her head.

Wearing a helmet is a simple choice for safety that most parents are aware of, yet I often see children who are wearing their helmets incorrectly.  Here are some bike helmet safety facts and tips for encouraging your children to wear their helmets.

How to Properly Wear a Bike Helmet

  1. The helmet should sit two fingers’ width above your child’s eyebrows.  They should be able to look up and see the helmet on their forehead and the helmet should look level on their head.  If it is tipped back, it won’t protect their foreheads in case of a crash.
  2. The straps should form a V under their ears.  This way, they help keep the helmet in the proper position.
  3. There should be one finger space between the strap and their chin (just enough to ensure they don’t get pinched when you are doing it up).
  4. The helmet should fit snugly so that it does not slide around on their heads.
  5. The helmet should not come off unless you undo the straps.  If the child can take it off without undoing the buckle, you need to adjust it.  And, of course, they should not be riding their bike or scooter unless their helmet straps are buckled up.

Encouraging Children to Wear Bike Helmets

  1. Start young.
    Don’t wait until your child is old enough to ride a bike to require that they wear a helmet; they should start wearing a helmet when riding a tricycle or plastic car or scooter any other outside ride-on toys.  Children should also wear helmets when riding behind mom or dad in a bike seat or in a bike trailer.
  2. Use peer pressure.
    Four boys the same age as my daughter live in the townhouses next door to us; they were all riding bikes long before she did, and all of us moms insisted that our kids wear helmets.  I think the repeated reminders from all of us, as well as the example of her peers, helped my daughter automatically reach for her helmet before getting on her bike.
  3. Let your child choose the helmet. 
    There are a lot of cool designs on helmets these days.  Maybe a helmet in your child’s favorite color, or with his or her favorite TV show character, will help your child want to wear it more.  They can also try it on to ensure that it fits them properly.

Your Turn

Does your child like wearing his or her helmet? How do you encourage proper helmet use?


Written by Bonnie Way.


  1. says

    Thanks! I am about to buy my son his first bike and wasn’t sure how to fit the helmet. I will save this so I can look at it again before buying his helmet.

    • says

      If possible, I suggest trying on the helmet in the store and shopping around. :) It can be hard to find a helmet that fits right but it’s worth looking around a bit. Have fun! First bike is exciting. :)

    • says

      Always a great idea!!! I laughed the other day when I spent about fifteen minutes getting myself ready for a bike ride and then got on my bike only to hear my three-year-old tell me, “Mommy, you need a helmet!!!”

  2. says

    Very helpful tips! Great idea to go shopping for the helmet together, I know had I had that option when I was younger, I probably would’ve worn my helmet A LOT more then I did, because I would’ve actually like d it! LOL Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. says

    Very helpful tips! Great idea to go shopping for the helmet together, I know had I had that option when I was younger, I probably would’ve worn my helmet A LOT more then I did, because I would’ve actually like d it! LOL Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • says

      Cool and stylish does help, doesn’t it? I know I’d love to replace my helmet, not only because it’s old but because I’m not a huge fan of its plain purple colour. I’ve seen some pretty cool helmets available now! :)

  4. says

    Thank you for posting this! What a great reminder to everyone. So important to remember bike safety and helmets for kids (and adults too). I am in shock at how many people & kids I see up in the countryside here without helmets!

    • says

      Maybe it’s not the law everywhere to wear helmets? I know in Alberta and BC, there has (at times) been big media pushes to encourage people to wear helmets, and I think that helps. I’m not sure about the laws in other provinces and states.

  5. says

    My kids like wearing their helmets too much! lol They were them when they are done riding and just playing around! Oh well better safe then sorry! These are great tips and its very important to make sure your helmet is on right!

    • says

      We have cement sidewalks around our park, so I don’t mind if my kids forget to take their helmets off after they are done riding. As you say, better safe than sorry! :)

  6. says

    In my house, no helmet, no riding… even for dad. I had a good colleague get hit by a car and suffered a concussion that still has her out. Its been over a year. She now tells EVERYONE to wear a helmet no matter what.

  7. says

    We have made sure that our boys wear helmets from the very first time they sat on their tricycles. They wear them on scooters and their plasmacar also.

  8. Hophead says

    Great advice on helmet fitting there, this applies to adults too, naturally. I’ve often seen people of all ages with headgear too big, bobbing about all over their heads. It’s important people realise that if the helmet’s too loose it’s not providing much more benefit than not wearing one at all.

    That’s a good point about peer pressure too. It worked the other way when I was a child, I was reluctant to wear a helmet because of the other kids teasing me. There’s still some small stigma attached amongst my peers even now in my late 30s yet it really is great to see that children of all ages are wearing helmets on bikes, scooters and skateboards as the norm.

    We’ve just been looking for safety gear for our family, I have to admit I’m quite envious of some of the children’s helmet designs when compared to the dull adult ones. What I would have given to own a cool helmet like this when I was younger.

    Going back to the main point of your article though, I really think stores could be more helpful with advising parents about helmet fitting. I remember my mother spending ages picking shoes for me when I was a child, the staff were taking so many measurements and asking plenty of questions, really you’d expect a similar degree of concern to be shown over something potentially life saving like a helmet.

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