Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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Helmets for toddlers with large heads

Summary: Finding a helmet for a child with a large head but no other complications is a simple as finding one large enough. If your toddler has hydrocephalus the task is more complicated, and we have another page on helmets for kids with hydrocephalus and other disorders.

Question: My child is not yet five, but the helmets certified for "five and under" are too small. What should I do?

The answer: buy a larger helmet that fits your child. It is really the head size that counts, not the age or whether your child is an infant, toddler, pre-schooler or whatever.

The CPSC bicycle helmet standard requires additional coverage for kids under 5, primarily because when the standard was adopted the manufacturers of those helmets were already providing more protection. But when the head size requires a larger helmet, you may have to give up that extra coverage and move to an over-five helmet.

The most important thing for bike helmets is that the helmet has to fit well, whatever the child's age.

Skate-style helmets do provide additional coverage similar to CPSC under-five requirements. They are heavier and hotter than bike helmets, though, so they may not be suitable for under-five kids. You have to make sure the skate-style helmet you buy is certified to the CPSC bicycle helmet standard, since some are skate-only helmets and may not meet any standard at all.