Do I need a Fullface BMX helmet for my kid?
It depends on what your son or daughter is doing.... BMX riding has several different disciplines, including street, terrain park, vert, and racing. The two disciplines that really demand a fullface BMX helmet are vert and racing. When BMX racing became an Olympic sport in 2008, it got a lot of kids (and adults) interested in BMX racing. Before your kid hops onto his bike and signs up for his first moto, remember that BMX racing absolutely requires a BMX helmet. And, USA BMX strongly recommends
a fullface BMX helmet
for racers. So do we.
What's the difference between a regular youth BMX helmet and a youth fullface BMX helmet?
A full-face BMX helmet
differs from an open-face helmet in several important ways. First is the most obvious - the chinguard that covers your chin, jaw, and mouth. The chinguard protects your face and jaw in the event of a crash or fall. The second difference is that fullface BMX helmets cover more of the side of your head, giving added protection in the event of a crash. Of necessity, full-face BMX helmets are typically heavier than half shell BMX helmets, although more recent advances in materials technology has brought down their weight (and cost). Open-face BMX helmets typically have more venting than full-face BMX helmets, which rely on passive as-you-go venting to circulate air through the helmet. Full-face BMX helmets also have moveable visors to help shield your eyes and the upper portion of your face.
How do I measure for a kids BMX helmet?
Measuring your child's head (or anyone else's, for that matter) is actually quite simple. Take a tape measure and wrap it around his or her head, about an inch above the eyebrows. This measurement is the circumference of the head and is the measure by which every helmet is sized. If you don't have a tape measure, use a piece of string or yarn and then lay the string next to a ruler to measure it.
IMPORTANT SIZING NOTES:
Remember that age alone is not a reliable measure of head size. Some eight-year-olds can easily fit adult "medium" helmets, while a smaller ten-year-old might wear an adult size "small." Also, every manufacturer has different size ranges for their own helmets, so what size corresponds to a size "Small" in one brand of helmets does NOT mean the same size will be a "Small" in another brand of BMX helmet.
Some interesting kids head size facts that may help you chose the right size kids BMX helmet
- 95% of kids up to 8 years old will fit in a 54 cm or smaller helmet
- 50% of kids up to 13 years old will still fit a 54 cm helmet
- The average head size of a 12-year-old is 54 cm
- For more information on sizing kids' BMX helmets, including an measurement-to-hat-size conversion chart, check out the Kids Helmet Sizing Help article in our Bike Gear Guides.
How should my kid's BMX helmet fit?
A helmet is definitely not something you should expect your child to "grow into." It should fit snugly enough that it doesn't move when your child moves his or her head, but it shouldn't be so tight that it hurts. With open face BMX helmets, you can usually tailor the fit to your son or daughter by using the fit pads that many manufacturers include in the helmet box. Some youth BMX helmets have an adjustable fit system (like a dial that adjusts the fit of the helmet) or extra pad sets of varying thicknesses that you can Velcro into the liner to make the helmet larger or smaller.
How often should I replace my kid's BMX helmet?
Most manufacturers recommend replacing a helmet - kid's BMX helmet, a kid's skateboard helmet, or a kid's ski helmet - every three to five years. It's a good idea to inspect any helmet (for any member of your family) at least once a season or after a major impact to make sure its protective capacity has not been compromised. Check out our quick How to Inspect Your Helmet checklist
in our Bike Gear Guides. Aside from repeated impacts, other factors can also affect the protective capacity of your child's BMX helmet, such as:
- exposure to chemicals found in skin lotions, sunscreen, or insect repellent
- temperature cycles from leaving it in a cold garage all winter or a hot car trunk for extended periods during the summer
- how much ozone exposure it has had from the sun or from being stored near an electric motor
If your kid is riding and (perhaps) falling often, he or she will likely need or want to replace the helmet more frequently due to scratches, new styles, or to update the all-important stickers.
Do you sell kids' BMX helmets? Why do only some of the helmets say "BMX Helmet for Youth?"
When you start shopping for kids' BMX helmets, you may be tempted to go straight to any helmet that is specifically named as "BMX helmet for youth" or "Junior BMX helmet" and avoid all the other helmets. What you will find, however, is that some manufacturers make helmets that are sized small enough to fit a small child's head even if it doesn't say "Kids BMX helmet" or "Youth BMX helmet" in the product title. Be sure to measure your child's head and to check the sizing tabs on the helmets he or she likes.
What are the best kids' BMX helmets and BMX full face helmets for kids
Below, we've listed a number of kids' BMX helmets. As noted above, just because a helmet is not named as a "kids' BMX helmet" or "youth BMX helmet" doesn't mean that it won't fit your child. We've found that ProTec and Giro in particular size their helmets so that a size "small" will fit most children's heads. Other helmets, like the Bell Sanction or the Giro Fraction, are specifically designed as kids' BMX helmets.
Thinking about wearing a non-rated BMX helmet while you ride? This video puts non-rated helmets through the same test as a CPSC-certified helmet. The difference might surprise you.