Finding a Bicycle Helmet for Child – Make Sure it Fits!

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In 2012, bicyclists accounted for two percent of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And of all bicycle accidents in 2012, nine percent of fatalities, and 20 percent of injuries, occurred amongst children under the age of 16.

Reduced likelihood of head injury is just one reason to use a helmet. However, if a helmet doesn’t fit correctly, its effectiveness is reduced. Here are some tips for finding a well-fitting bicycle helmet for your child.

The Three-Point Helmet Checklist

The Seattle Children’s Hospital recommends using this three-point checklist to make sure children’s helmets fit properly. The three points are the following.

  • The eyes
  • The ears
  • The mouth


In regards to the eyes, the helmet should sit firmly on your child’s head and end about two fingers’ width above the eyebrows. If the helmet extends further toward the eyes than this, it may be too big—and, therefore, unsafe—for your child.

For the ears, the straps of the helmet should form a ‘Y’ shape right under each earlobe. Making the "Y" will help to ensure that the helmet stays balanced and secured.

The last check refers more to the chin than the mouth. The helmet should fit securely under your child’s chin, but shouldn’t be too tight. A good check is to stick one to two fingers under the chinstrap – if fingers can’t fit, the helmet is too tight. If more than two fingers can fit, the strap should be tightened.

More Ways to Check for a Good Fit

Also to checking the above, have your child shake their head back and forth when wearing the helmet. If the helmet moves from side to side, it’s too big. Also, make sure that your child’s helmet isn’t too tight. If it’s uncomfortable for your child, he or she may be discouraged from wearing it.

How to Get Your Child Excited About a Helmet

Wearing a helmet isn’t always an exciting thing for a child. But you can help to encourage helmet wearing by always wearing a helmet yourself, and by involving your child in the process of choosing his or her helmet. For example, let your child choose the color he or she wants.

Other Important Safety Information

Don’t forget to check out our bike accidents blog on other bicycle gear you should take when riding, and bike safety tips that you may not already know! If you or your child is involved in a bike accident, we want to help. Call Max Meyers Law PLLC at 425-399-7000 to learn more. 

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Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.