We Review Youth Dirt Bike Helmet Safety

September 10, 2016

When it comes to youth dirt bikes, safety definitely comes first.  The earlier they start, the better, because it means it will give them a sense of responsibility that most kids don’t have by the time they get a little older.  That said, because dirt biking is such a fun sport, this means it also inevitably has a number of dangers that go along with it.  If you just look at a kid riding a dirt bike, that is easy to see.  For parents who worry a lot about their youngsters in general, dirt bikes might even be forbidden until a certain age.

So, in regards to teaching your youngster how to be safe with their dirt bike, that’s where you as the parent come in, because who else is going to be teaching him how to ride a dirt bike, if not you?   Sure, there are places they can get lessons, which isn’t a bad idea either, but the first person who is in charge of every child’s safety is their parent, and so when they first get on that dirt bike to ride it, it makes perfect sense for you, of all people, to be there,

Before they start revving up that dirt bike’s engine, your kid needs to be wearing the right safety gear, and possibly the most important piece of gear that they could be wearing, is a helmet.  A kid’s dirt bike helmet is going to prevent any of the worst injuries that can occur, when a kid falls off their dirt bike.  We could go into the number of injuries that can result from not wearing a dirt bike helmet, but we think you can probably imagine what they are.  In fact, we think it’s fair to say that anyone who rides a dirt bike and isn’t wearing a helmet…well, that’s just not smart.

Youth Dirt Bike Helmets – Let’s Review Why They’re Necessary

A youth dirt bike helmet is exactly like an adult dirt bike helmet, only smaller.  Because they are smaller, they cost less, but they should offer the exact same protection of an adult dirt bike helmet.  They should provide a snug fit, but it shouldn’t really hamper your child in anyway.  For instance, it shouldn’t be hard for them to turn their head, and obviously, they should be able to see and hear perfectly while wearing their helmet. 

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Now, consider this.  There’s two things we want to mention about youth dirt bike helmets that we think you need to know.  One, is that some kids are going to try out dirt biking with their helmet, and, like kids do, they’ll say they don’t like it.  They’ll say it’s too tight, it’s too loose, or they’ll say they can’t see, they can’t have fun, etc. etc.  Now, it is your job as a parent to MAKE them wear it…somehow. 

It’s true, kids can be brats.  They’ll say they’re going to wear it, go around the corner, and take it off and throw it in a bush.  We’ve seen it happen!  It’ one thing to actually buy your child the best possible youth dirt bike that suits them perfectly, but it’s a whole other thing to make them think responsibly about being safe while doing it.  Kids will be kids, but we would even suggest showing them a video like this one to show them that they CAN get hurt if they don’t ride safely. 

This video might do the trick, because it shows a fairly dramatic crash, but it doesn’t show a kid getting too seriously injured.  There are obviously other youth dirt bike crash videos you can find to show your kid, but this is one they can watch and say “Why did that happen?” and also take a mental note that if that kid wasn’t wearing a helmet, it could have been much worse. 

The other thing we wanted to mention is that when your child is first starting out riding their dirt bike, even if they are probably geared up, crashes of one kind or another are bound to happen.  It’s important to try to avoid crashing, by learning basic dirt bike safety, but, at the same time, letting your kid know that they might wipe out is probably a good idea.  One thing you can do, is go somewhere to practice riding where wiping out isn’t going to be so bad, where the ground is soft, before you let your kid loose on the pavement or concrete.  In all likelihood, once your kid is geared up, and starts biking around, the odd minor tumble is probably going to happen somewhere along the line, but better to fall and see how it feels hitting the dirt with a helmet than without!

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Ok, so regardless of how experienced your child is with dirt biking, it never hurts to get a little refresher on dirt bike helmet safety.  This quick guide will teach you more about what to look for in a helmet, and then we’ll also provide some recommendations for which youth dirt bike helmets we think are worth purchasing.

Buying New Vs. Upgrading

If it’s your first youth dirt bike helmet for you and your child, then inevitably you won’t know from experience exactly what you are looking for.  That said, you obviously want to go into that purchase being as informed as possible.  At the same time, this may not be your first dirt bike helmet, which means you do have real life experience using them, and you will be looking to upgrade.  When we say “upgrade”, this could mean a variety of things, because there will be certain features that your first helmet had that you don’t want your second one to have. 

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At the same time, you can simply tell the guy at the shop what you’re looking for, and what you did and didn’t like about your previous helmet.  This may result in your local expert guiding you towards something more similar to an adult dirt bike helmet.  Plus, if your child has been riding for a while, they may have grown up enough, that it isn’t out of the question that you should be buying an actual adult sized helmet anyway.

Budget

Dirt bikes, even youth dirt bikes, can get expensive quickly.  That said, you don’t want to skimp on safety features if you don’t have to.  Investing in a good quality youth dirt bike helmet is most certainly an investment, and if you’re buying from your local shop, they will probably ask you the age old question, “How much are you willing to spend?”  Once we go over a few more features, you should have a better understanding of what to look for in a youth dirt bike helmet, and it’s easier to budget for it that way as well.

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Gender Of Rider

As you might expect, girls and boys dirt bike helmets are not constructed any differently.  That said, they can definitely look different, because girls and boys don’t always like the same styles.  And because of this fact, there may actually be some small differences in the construction that you’ll want to examine.

Helmet Construction

With adult dirt bike helmets, we see materials such as fiberglass and carbon fiber, which make the helmets more high end, because these materials are more expensive in general.  With kids’ helmets, we see more materials such as polycarbonate, polycarbonite, and poly alloy, which offer you a solid construction, but a smaller price tag.  Still, these materials are not exactly the same.  One difference is that polycarbonate is less susceptible to fading than fiberglass, which is a pro when it comes to polycarbonate.  That said, fiberglass is arguably stronger.  Overall, both of these materials are tough and sufficiently resilient so as to protect whoever is wearing it. 

Weight

Because of all of the components used in kids dirt bike helmets – the polycarbonate, the visor, the padding – all of that weight adds up, and this is one of the main reasons kids complain about having to wear them.  This is where you need to enforce the wearing of these helmets, because they can, at first, seem uncomfortable to wear.  It is just a fact that a slightly heavier helmet is going to be more protective, but at the same time some kids might have a point in that if a helmet really is too heavy for their head, they will not want to wear it and that is somewhat understandable.

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Graphics And Style

Extra graphics on your helmet will definitely make them look extra cool, but this will of course up the price bit by bit.  If you are concerned mainly with safety, you can opt for no special graphics, but if part of the fun for your kid is looking cool, well ok then, graphics it is!  We obviously would recommend a helmet that is safer over one that just looks cool.

Air Vents

If your kid’s youth dirt bike helmet is sufficiently ventilated, then this will alleviate some of the feelings of weight and being closed in, they might experience at first.  On top of that, these air vents and exhaust ports are meant to cool your child off, and this can be a huge factor when buying a helmet, because wearing one that doesn’t have the right ventilation can just make your child’s head sweaty and hot, which can lead to confusion while riding. 

Helmet Liner

Definitely investigate the helmet liner, as most of them can be removed and washed.  Also, the ideal helmet liner will have antimicrobial, as well as antibacterial material.

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DOT

In the United States Of America, it is the Department Of Transportation that sets protection standard levels.  Kids MotoSport is closely linked to DOT, and all of their helmets are built to meet these standards.

ECE22.02

In Europe, helmet safety standards are set by The U.N. Economic Commission for Europe.

Snell 2010

Pete Snell was a race car driver who died from head injuries, and Snell 2010 was founded as a non-profit after his death.

Sizing Youth Dirt Bike Helmets

It is crucially important that your child’s helmet is fitted to their head size, because this will minimize the effects of any accident.  So, in order to find the right helmet for your child, you’ll need to measure their head size.  This is the same process that goes for adults as well. 

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About half an inch above your child’s eyebrows, wrap a measuring tape around their head and take a measurement.

Now, compare the helmet manufacturer’s listed size to your own child’s head measurements.  If it’s a match, that’s a great start!

Be sure to look for any specific instructions on how the manufacturer says to measure your child’s head, in case it happens to be different than our instructions.

If possible, you’ll want to try the helmet on before buying.  The helmet should be snug, and not move around when they’re wearing it.  Your child should be able to speak without any difficulty, caused by having their cheeks smushed in too much.  A sloppy fit is not acceptable.

Remember what we said before, that your child might complain regardless of whether it fits on not, so it’s up to you as the parent to be the judge of whether it sits squarely on their head, if it’s too tight or loose, and basically if it fits correctly.

Finally, do not ever go by the philosophy of your child growing into their helmet.  This is one situation where you do not ever want to do this.  A loose helmet can even be worse than NOT wearing one at all. 

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