As a parent or guardian, one of the most critical parts of your role is keeping your child as safe as possible. In a world where they are constantly facing danger, horse riding is the one arena where you can keep them safe. Finding a well-fitting helmet can save your child’s life.
We understand that not everyone has the privilege of getting a helmet fitted by a professional. Luckily for you, we have an easy-to-follow guide that will make the process more manageable. You should have a good understanding of kids helmet sizes once you finish this article.
Step 1: Measure Their Head
The first step in fitting your child for a helmet is probably the most important part of the process. It’s always a hassle to have to return something you bought.
To avoid buying a poorly fitting helmet, you should use a tape measure to determine your child’s head size. The aim is to figure out their head circumference by wrapping the tape measure right around the head.
You can measure around the forehead, just above the eyebrows. It’s important to get the most accurate reading possible so you can find the perfect fit. The ideal helmet will provide a snug fit and won’t move around your child’s head while riding.
After measuring the head, consult the manufacturer’s sizing guide to find which range your child fits into. Most sizing charts are divided according to age to help you find the best fit.
If the metrics are different from those on your tape measure, you can use an online converter.
Step 2: Adjust the Helmet Accordingly
Having a helmet that shifts around while riding is just as dangerous as not wearing a helmet at all. A loose-fitting helmet will bounce around, increasing the risk of injury.
Standard kids helmets feature an adjustable system that adapts to different head shapes and sizes (within reason). Manufacturers design kid helmets to accommodate a child’s rapidly growing head. This way, the helmets stay useful as long as possible.
To make these adjustments, you can use the dial located on the back of the helmet. You can rotate the dial to either tighten or loosen the fit. If the helmet doesn’t have a dial, there may be inner straps you can pull to ensure a tighter fit.
The best way to make sure the helmet is the right fit is to ask your child how it feels. The helmet should stay in place when they shake their head from side to side.
Another trick to figuring out the right size is making sure the helmet isn’t sitting too far back and is resting right above the eyebrows.
Step 3: Adjust the Side Strap
After finding the right fit, the next step is ensuring the helmet is well balanced. The best way to achieve the ideal balance is by adjusting the side straps.
Each side strap should create a “Y” shape underneath your child’s ears. It may be challenging to get them to sit still for long enough, but it’s best to adjust the straps while they’re wearing the helmet. This way, you’ll know whether the straps are too long or too short.
Step 4: Tighten the Chin Strap
You want to ensure the chin strap is as stable as the side strap. After all, the chin strap does most of the work when it comes to keeping the helmet on your kid’s head.
A loose chin strap could be dangerous because it could cause harm if your kid falls off the horse. At the same time, you don’t want to make it so tight that your kid can barely move.
You can test whether the strap is adjusted properly by fitting your finger between the strap and your child’s chin. If your finger can’t fit, the strap is too tight. If there is extra space, it is too loose. The finger should just fit into that space comfortably.
Step 5: Check Regularly
Making sure you have the right fit is not a one-time activity. Even after you go through this checklist, you may still need to make extra changes as time passes. Riding is a dynamic activity, so it’s common for the straps to become loose through normal use.
Also, your child may mess with the straps because that’s just how children are. Plus, your child’s head grows over time, so it’s essential to always check that the fit is correct and adjust the helmet accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kids Helmet Sizes
Here are some commonly asked questions parents have when trying to figure out kids helmet sizes:
How do I know the helmet is on properly?
The best way to ensure your child’s helmet is secure is by using a strap with a latch system. You know the helmet is on correctly when you feel the latch click into place.
What is the size range for kids’ helmets?
Equestrian helmets for children are usually available in normal sizes such as S, M, and L, though they can also come in Child, Youth, and Toddler sizes. Luckily, most size charts are comprehensive so you won’t have to guess.
Once you figure out the exact size of your kid’s head, consult the sizing chart of the brand you are interested in to know exactly which size is best for your kid.
Which construction style should I pick?
Typically, you will choose between a helmet with an in-mold or one with a hard shell. In-mold helmets have the body and foam fused, while hardshell helmets have a thick outer covering.
In-mold helmets are a good choice if you’re looking for something solid and lightweight. They can withstand higher impacts because the fusing process increases resistance. Also, an in-mold helmet is more stylish than a hardshell helmet. On the other hand, in-mold helmets are generally more expensive.
Hard-shell helmets have a visibly thick outer exterior. They are becoming rarer these days, but they effectively reduce the risk of brain injuries in a crash. The traditional fit provides total head coverage, and each helmet usually has shock-absorbent foam.
As a result, hard-shell helmets are more durable and can withstand multiple impacts. The only danger is that cheaper hard-shell helmets easily crack and fall apart.
What kind of latch should the helmet have?
The standard buckle is becoming harder for children to use. It can be difficult to latch, and it can pinch their chin. It might also unlatch while your child is riding, which adds risk to the situation.
Newer helmet models have a magnetic latch that requires significantly less effort. The non-pinch buckles have a plastic guard to protect your child’s skin.
How do I know if the helmet is certified for equestrian use?
The best way to ensure the helmet is safe for equestrian use is by checking whether it is approved by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM).
The organization provides technical standards for personal protective gear, including but not limited to helmets, building materials, and playground equipment. You can trust your child’s safety to equipment that has been approved by the ASTM.
Also, the helmet should be Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) certified. This certification is a guarantee that the helmet has gone through rigorous testing to ensure that it can survive a hard fall. The tests also show how well the helmet will protect your child’s skull and reduce impact in the case of an accident.
These certifications are important because some competitions won’t allow you to participate if your helmet is not fully certified.
Are there any other safety precautions I should take?
Buying the right helmet and finding the right fit is only the first part of the process. If you want to keep your kid extra safe, you should buy other safety gear like elbow and knee pads. Cover as many bases as possible to ensure your child doesn’t get hurt.
Additionally, always supervise your child. If they are under the age of 8, they need constant supervision so they don’t hurt themselves.
Will a helmet protect my child from injury?
There is no foolproof way to protect your child from injury. They could still get hurt even when they are wearing a helmet. However, wearing a helmet will greatly reduce the impact and go a step further toward preventing any head or brain injuries.
We can’t give you a complete guarantee that your child won’t be hurt, but we can be reasonably sure a helmet will improve the outcome of an accident.
You can buy the right helmet, but it’s just as important to make sure that the helmet fits properly. That’s why it’s important to learn about kids helmet sizes.
Don’t forget to make regular adjustments and ask your child how they feel about the helmet, and don’t forget other safety measures.
Feel free to explore the rest of our site for more in-depth equestrian buying guides and product guides. We have information about the best helmets for kids and other safety tips.