Great Kids' Bike Helmets

Putting helmets to the test

With bike season spinning into gear, making sure your children wear a helmet is a must.

But which will protect them best? Consumer Reports crash-tested 10 children’s helmets to see how well they resist impact to the head and absorb force in an accident.

Anything that reduces the force to your head will reduce the chance of injuries and may help with concussions. The strength of the chin straps and buckles was also tested for stretching or breaking.

Consumer Reports top-rated the Bontrager Solstice Youth helmet for $30 and also recommended the Bell Sidetrack MIPS and the Uvex Quatro Junior, both for $60.

All three offer the same protection. So why the difference in price?

Consumer Reports’ helmet tester, Rich Handel, said: “Generally, the more expensive helmets will have a nicer design. They’ll be lighter and have better ventilation.”

It’s important to try on any helmet before you buy it. Make sure it fits snugly.

A good size indicator: one or two fingers between the brow and the helmet. Then adjust it, tightening the straps to make a Y around each ear. The chin strap should be tight enough so that when you open your mouth, the top of the helmet presses down on your head. Many helmets have a way to tighten the back to give a little more stability. Finally, move the helmet front to back. It should move very little.

Also remember that helmets need to be handled carefully. Tossing them around can leave minor dents. And don’t leave them in a hot car because heat can affect performance.

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