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Six steps to make sure your kid’s helmet is a perfect fit

Helmets are the single most effective piece of safety equipment for bicycle riders of all ages and are required by Florida law for those under 16. But does your child’s helmet fit properly? If it doesn’t, it might not protect them from serious injury.

With the start of school, we want to stress the importance of riding with a properly fitted helmet.

Many parents of schoolchildren who ride bikes to and from school don’t know how to properly fit a bicycle helmet. So, before you send your young bike riders off to school, make sure their helmet:

  • Sits level on their head.
  • Isn’t tilted forward or backward.
  • Has strong wide straps that fit snugly under the chin.
  • Is tight enough so after fastening, no sudden pulling or twisting could move it around.

If their helmet doesn’t fit properly, click here to watch this video on helmet fitting, download this tip card from Alert Today Alive Tomorrow, or follow these steps:

Step 1:  Size

Measure the circumference of your child’s head, keeping the measuring tape above their ears and eyebrows.  Have your child try on several helmets closest to their head size and pick one that feels the most comfortable.  Now, with the helmet sitting level, adjust the sizing pads or fit ring until it’s snug.

Step 2:  Position

The helmet should sit level and low on their head, one or two finger-widths above the eyebrows.

Step 3: Side Straps

Adjust the slider on both straps to form a “V” shape under, and slightly in front of, their ears.  Lock the slider if possible.

Step 4: Buckles

Center the left buckle under the chin.  On most helmets, the straps can be pulled from the back of the helmet to lengthen or shorten the chin straps.  This task is easier if you take the helmet off to make these adjustments.

Step 5: Chin Strap

Buckle the chin strap.  Tighten the strap until it is snug so that no more than one or two fingers fit under the strap.

Step 6: Final Fitting

  • Does their helmet fit properly? Have your child open their mouth wide…big yawn!  The helmet should pull down on their head.  If not, refer back to step 5 and tighten the chin strap.
  • Does their helmet rock back more than two fingers above the eyebrows? If so, unbuckle and shorten the front strap by moving the slider forward. Buckle and retighten the chin strap and test again.
  • Does their helmet rock forward into their eyes? If so, unbuckle and tighten the back strap by moving the slider back toward the ear. Buckle and retighten the chin strap and test again.
  • Roll the rubber band down to the buckle. All four straps must go through the rubber band and be close to the buckle to prevent the buckle from slipping.


Selecting a Helmet: Bike Helmet Checklist

Bicycle helmets sold in the U.S. must meet standards issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Look for the certification label inside the helmet.

Choose a helmet that’s well ventilated

Buy a helmet that fits now, not a helmet to grow into.

Pick bright colors or fluorescent colors that are visible to drivers and other cyclists. An attractive, comfortable helmet is more likely to be worn.

Replace a helmet impacted in a crash, even if the damage isn’t visible.

Everyone – adult and child – should wear a bicycle helmet when riding. Wearing a helmet on every ride encourages the same smart behavior in others.

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