Kids BMX pads: How do you chose the right ones for your son or daughter?
Any kid who is riding hard needs BMX pads. The cost of a set of kids BMX pads is certainly cheaper than a trip to the emergency room. We know it isn't always easy to get your child to wear BMX pads. With lots of parents on the XSportsProtective team, we know the task of convincing kids that wearing pads is far preferable to an injury that could keep them off the bike for days or weeks. If your child participates in BMX dirt racing, remember that the American Bicycle Association
BMX race rules stipulate that if racers are wearing shorts, they must wear knee and shin guards with "no exposed skin above the knee or below the shin guard extending to above the ankle." If racers are wearing short-sleeved shirts, they must wear "sufficient" elbow protection.
What kind of kids BMX pads are out there?
BMX knee pads and elbow pads are kind of like tacos, you can get hard shell
or soft shell
. Both types of BMX pads have some sort of Neoprene or other soft, flexible sleeve and EVA foam padding to protect the kneecap and the area surrounding it. If your child is racing or vert riding, he or she definitely needs hard shell pads. Kids BMX pads use the same materials and technology as BMX pads for adults; they're just sized smaller. As with BMX helmets for kids, kids BMX pads may not have "kids" or "youth" in the name, but some sizes will fit kids. We've found that Fox Titan, Lizard Skins, and Troy Lee Designs frequently have sizes that will fit smaller/younger riders, even if the BMX pad is not named as a "youth BMX pad" or "kids BMX pad."
A hard shell kids BMX pad:
A soft shell kids BMX knee pad:
- Has an ABS plastic shell riveted or Velcroed to the joint area
- Provides greater protection than a soft shell BMX pad
- Offers more durability than a soft shell BMX pad (the ABS plastic shell won't rip or tear no matter how many times you slide or fall on it)
- May offer slightly less range of motion
- Is bulkier than a soft shell BMX pad, which means it may not fit under a pair of jeans or long-sleeved shirt
- Will have some sort of Kevlar or other abrasion-resistant panel over the front of the joint area
- Does not provide as much impact protection as a hard shell BMX pad for kids
- Is smaller and lighter than a hard shell BMX knee pad
- You can wear soft-shell BMX pads under pants or under a long-sleeved shirt
- The panel covering the knee area is not as durable as the plastic cap on the hard shell BMX knee pad and can eventually rip or tear
Two ways to put on kids BMX pads
Both kids BMX knee pads and kids BMX elbow pads come in one of two designs: slip on or those that close in the back (often called a butterfly closure). Slip-on BMX pads for kids slide up to the knee or elbow. This design is more commonly found in soft-shell guards, less expensive knee pads, knee (or elbow) gaskets, and youth-sized pads. BMX pads for kids with a butterfly closure wrap around your knee so your child can put them on and take them off without removing his or her shoes or gloves. The butterfly closure design is typically found in hard shell knee pads and more robust and/or more expensive knee pads. Some BMX elbow pads use a hook-and-loop closure to ensure a snug, custom fit that won't budge while you're riding. Before you purchase kids BMX pads, make sure your child understands the different options.
- Does you child care if he/she has to remove his/her shoes before putting on the BMX knee pads?
- Does your child mind having to remove his/her BMX gloves in order to put the elbow pads on/take them off?
- Does the butterfly design feature a hook-and-loop closure? For some kids, fastening a hook-and-loop closure with their non-dominant hand (e.g., if right-handed, their left hand) can be difficult
How do I measure for kids BMX pads?
We all know that kids come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Put two eight-year-olds next to each other, and you could see a six-inch difference in height and a 40-pound difference in weight. And they'd both fall into the "normal" range. This makes it difficult to only go by a manufacturer's age recommendation for kids' BMX pads. Before you buy any kids' BMX pads, be sure to measure your child's leg circumference for knee pads and arm circumference for elbow pads. For kids BMX knee pads, measure your child's outstretched leg four inches above the knee center and four inches below it. For kids BMX elbow pads, measure your child's outstretched arm on the lower bicep and upper forearm.
What are the best kids BMX pads?
Below we've listed some BMX pads for kids (or that we've found will fit kids, even if "kids" or "youth" isn’t in the name). Kids BMX pads combo packs:
Shop our extensive selection of Kids BMX Pads below!