Fitting a helmet correctly — tips from AboutKidsHealth

In the warmer summer months, cycling is a great way for kids to enjoy themselves and get some exercise outside. Wearing a helmet will prevent head injuries — but not if it does not fit properly.

AboutKidsHealth has provided visual aids to demonstrate the correct and incorrect ways for parents and caregivers to fit their child’s helmet.

How to fasten a helmet properly

If your child’s helmet can fall forward or backwards, it is fastened too loosely — adjust the helmet’s straps so that the helmet will not lean backwards. A helmet must be positioned in the centre of your child’s head to protect the brain’s frontal and occipital lobes. Frontal lobes are located in the front of the brain and help with memory and decision-making, while occipital lobes are a vision centre in the back of the brain.

Your child will be wearing their helmet correctly if it is snug and secure, but not too tight. The helmet should cover their forehead, with the straps forming a “V” around the ears. A properly-fastened helmet will allow your child to open their mouth without the chin strap becoming loose.

General tips

  • It is not a good idea to buy a helmet that is too large for your child and have them grow into it. If a helmet does not sit on your child’s head perfectly, you can just adjust the fit using its small foam pads.
  • It is important that your child does not wear a hat or anything else underneath their helmet. Helmets best protect children from head injuries when they are positioned directly over top of the head.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids’ patient-education website and features more than 3,500 articles on a range of paediatric health topics. For more information on helmet safety and other topics, please visit www.aboutkidshealth.ca.