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Cycle Helmet Safety

kids cycle helmets

Buying a Cycle Helmet for Your Child

  • Buy from a reputable source and do not buy second-hand  - you may not be able to see any damage on a used helmet.
  • Make sure your child is with you when you buy it - you will need to check the fit is correct and it is comfortable.
  • Let you child help choose their helmet - if they like it they will be happy to wear it.
  • Consider a bright colour helmet - even if it is not 'high vis' it will help them to be seen better than a black one (as long as your child likes it). Some helmets have reflective elements which help night-time visibility. You can stick fluorescent, reflective tape to a helmet to increase visibility.
  • Check the helmet is marked with the recognised safety standard for your country.
  • Features such as air vents are good for serious distance cyclists but not necessary for children... you don't need to pay a lot for a child's helmet.
  • Adjust the straps correctly when your child is trying a helmet on.
  • Put your finger under the clip when trying on so it doesn't pinch the skin... or you will really put your child off wearing a helmet!
  • After any accident or strong impact on the helmet, make sure the helmet is disposed of and replaced with a new one.
girl in pink high vis on bike

How to Wear a Cycle Helmet

  • Ensure the helmet is the correct size. It should fit snugly and be comfortable to wear.
  • When the child shakes or nods their head the helmet should remain secure.
  • The helmet rim should sit on the forehead, just above the eyebrows.
  • The helmet should NOT be tilted back leaving the forehead exposed or tipped so far forward it covers the eyes and obstructs the child's ability to see.
  • The straps must not be twisted and there should be no slack in them. Most helmet straps form a 'V' shape just under the ear lobe.
  • Ensure the helmet does not affect the child's ability to hear. Listening is an important part of cycling safety.
  • Always check the manufacturers' instructions on fitting advice.
  • Text courtesy of the Cycle-Smart Foundation.

Getting Your Child to Wear a Cycle Helmet

  • Although in the UK children do not have to wear a cycle helmet by law, it is a legal requirement in countries such as Australia and is highly recommended by road safety and medical professionals.
  • Safety measures such as helmets can never provide complete protection and helmets do not prevent accidents. It is important that children also have good cycle training to help keep them safe.
  • If a dislike of cycle helmets is putting your child off cycling, don't let this happen! The health benefits of cycling are massive but children need to be encouraged to be safe too.
  • For some great ideas for persuading reluctant helmet-wearers see

Cycle-Smart (previously the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust)

  • The Cycle-Smart Foundation is an award winning child cyclist's safety charity committed to saving young people’s lives by promoting all aspects of safer cycling and, in particular, the use of cycle helmets. The Trust was founded in 1998 by Angela Lee, a paediatric nurse who through her work saw the devastation that head injury can cause not only to the child but to the whole family.
  • The charity is a national resource working with parents, teachers, police, road safety officers, Government departments, healthcare professionals and children themselves by promoting and providing educational programmes in schools on the need for helmet use and safer cycling practice throughout the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
  • Helmets have been shown to be effective in reducing potential injury to a young cyclist's head/brain in the event of a fall or impact with an object. Brain injury is devastating and they believe it is not worth leaving it to chance.
  • For more information on cycle helmets, the benefits and the work of Cycle-Smart see their website at