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Why Can't I Find an Extra Small Helmet?
10/7/2010 12:30:48 PM

Why Can't I Find an Extra Small Helmet?

Summary: Manufacturers fear that if parents can buy extra small helmets they will take babies on bikes and in trailers who are too young.

We get many inquires from parents with babies aged about 6 weeks to 14 months and from parents with children who have very small heads due to Microcephaly or another medical condition such as dwarfism, asking us where to find an extra small helmet.

If your child is less than one year old, please read our scare page about taking your child along in a carrier or trailer. You should be aware of the risks.
Tiny helmets are difficult to find. Most companies make their small size helmets for 47 cm (18.5 inches) heads. We don't list those here, but here are some even smaller ones:

Abus Smiley, L.A.S. Roadspeed Baby and the Limar 123 Jr. Kid, all for 45 cm (17.7 inch) heads, available in Europe but not in a US model, and the Angeles Toddler Trike Helmet at 45.7 cm (18 inches). Specialized has their Small Fry, a classic round, smooth toddler and child size helmet, but molded in the shell and has some vents. Ring fit, bug net in front vents. Has some reflective patches. In 2010 the smallest size is the toddler model advertised to fit 44-52 cm (17.25-20.5"). Retail is $40 to $45. There is a larger Small Fry, so you have to get the toddler size.

Casco has the Mini Pro, another 44cm helmet. It is a child helmet resembling a very colorful equestrian model, with very small vents. It has no bump-out in the rear, to make it friendly for high-backed child seats where thick helmets push the child's head forward and down. Has an anti-pinch strap. Retails for 50 Euros and is available only in the European market.

The KED Meggy is also for 44cm heads. It has good-sized vents and both CEN and CPSC certification "only for American market." LED flasher. There is a Meggy Licenz version with licensed cartoon character graphics, and the Meggy Sport has a visor.

THH (Tong Ho Hsing) has a T-29 toddler helmet. It is even more difficult to find than the Vigor above. It has small vents and is very round and smooth. It is Snell B-95 certified. It comes in XXXXS size, fitting heads as small as 46 cm (18.11 inches). It should retail for about $10 to $25 if you can find it. THH sends its line to the U.S. through Trans National Trading Company of Vernon, California. One of our emailers found the T-29 helmet by contacting a local store who works with Lexco distributors in Chicago and they were able to order it.

Best Price Toys has a "Toddler Trike Helmet" that is advertised as fitting heads as small as 18"/45.7cm. Their web page says it is an Angeles brand and is CPSC and Snell B95A certified.
You can check our latest page on helmets for the current season and do a search on xxs or extra small to find out if there is any more recent info on new models.


Why Not Smaller?
There are no tiny helmets on the market because injury prevention people and manufacturers alike believe that infants of less than one year should not be put on a bicycle as passengers. Manufacturers are also anxious to avoid product liability suits involving very young infants, which they regard as unwinable whatever the merits of the case. They will even forgo the revenue from selling a smaller helmet for that reason. If they make an extra small model for a child who is older but still has a very small head, the helmet will inevitably be used for much younger infants.

What if I need a smaller one?
The only alternative we are aware of to finding a very small helmet is using thicker fitting pads in a normal infant-toddler size. The thicker fitting pads do not detract from the protection of the helmet, as long as they hold it in place well. That is their function, since the harder crushable foam in the helmet is actually the part that handles the impact energy. You may have to experiment with firmer pads to make sure that the thickness does not make the helmet unstable on your child's head. Then carefully adjust the foam to touch all the way around your child's head but not be too tight, and adjust the straps for maximum stability to hold the helmet level on the child's head while still not too tight for comfort.
If you are not sure about the helmet, take it with your child to your pediatrician and ask.


Reference:
Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
4611 Seventh Street South
Arlington, VA 22204-1419 USA

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