Bicycle Helmets

Riding bicycles is a great way for families to have fun and spend time together outside. However, riding a bicycle can also be dangerous. Every year, thousands of children are injured in bicycle crashes. The good news is that many serious injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet. Before your kids take off on their bicycles this summer, make sure they have a helmet that fits them. It will protect their heads and could save their lives.

How to Ride Safely

  • Ride with traffic, not against it. Stay to the right.
  • Follow all traffic signs. Stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Walk the bicycle across busy streets. Look left, right, and left again before crossing.
  • Do not ride at dusk or after dark.
  • Children younger than 1 year of age should not be on bicycles. Their neck muscles may not be strong enough to control their heads during a sudden stop, especially with the added weight of a helmet.
  • Children younger than 10 should ride on a sidewalk or bicycle path instead of the street. Most young children are not able to make safe choices in traffic.
  • Make sure the seat and handlebars of the bicycle fit your child.
  • Know a child’s limits. Tell your child where and when he can ride.
  • The most important step you can take to prevent bicycle-related brain injuries is to buy your child a helmet and make sure he wears it every time he rides!

Why are Helmets Important?

  • Every year in the U.S., more than 220,000 children visit the emergency department with bicycle-related injuries.
  • The most common injuries are bruises, cuts and broken bones, but the most serious are head injuries.
  • 9 out of 10 bicycle riders who die in crashes are not wearing helmets.
  • Wearing a bicycle helmet can lower the risk of brain injury by up to 88 percent.

Where Can I Get a Helmet?

  • Helmets cost as little as $10 and can be found at retail stores.
  • Some community programs offer free or discounted helmets for families who cannot afford one.

How Do I Pick the Right Helmet?

  • Let your child help pick out a helmet that he or she likes. Choose a bright color to help drivers see your child.
  • Look for the CPSC Certified label on the box.
  • Try the helmet on your child. It should be snug, but not tight.
  • If your child is between 2 sizes, pick the bigger one. Most helmets come with extra pads to help you get a good fit.
  • If it feels too tight, try using thinner pads. If it is still too tight, buy a larger helmet.
  • The helmet should not move from side to side when your child shakes his head.
  • Replace any helmet that is damaged or that has been involved in a crash.

How Do I Fit the Helmet Correctly?

  • The helmet should sit flat on top the head and rest 1 or 2 finger-widths above the eyebrows. The forehead must be covered.
  • The straps should form a “V” below your child’s ear.
  • The chin strap should be buckled snugly under the jaw. No more than 1 or 2 fingers should fit under the strap.

Additional Bicycle Helmet Resources

Do you know how to keep your child safe while riding their bike? We sat down with our experts to discuss bike and helmet safety tips.