We do a lot of bike riding around here. So do a lot of other people (YEA!) However, I am shocked by the amount of times I see a kid wearing an improperly sized helmet or no sunglasses out and about. Both seem to be crucial safety pieces for traveling on wheels, and our kids are absolutely required to wear them (especially the helmet.)
Over the past few years, we have done quite a bit of looking for both helmets and sunglasses that work for our kids and their active/rough-and-tumble lives. While gear is constantly changing and improving, these are my top recommendations for both categories as our knowledge stands right now. They have worked for both boys (aged 1+ and 3+).
Before we dive into the gear, we wanted to just (hopefully) drive home the point about (well-fitting) helmets. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute (BHSI) has some fabulous information about children specifically. I especially loved this article about how children see traffic (and the dangers of it) differently than adults (it’s definitely an eye-opener!) If you want a real “scare” that will send you out to get your child a helmet right away, check out these child statistics (also over at BHSI). A few I thought were worth sharing (taken directly from their site):
“Ninety-one percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly weren’t wearing helmets.” (from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
“Bike accidents crash-land more kids in hospital emergency rooms than any other sport. In fact, kids aged 5 to 14 get hurt more often than bikers of any other age! Every day, about 1,000 kids end up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries from bikes – like broken bones or brain concussions. About one kid every day dies of these injuries. Others suffer lifetime problems, like limping or brain damage.” (from the US Consumer Product Safety Commision, 2008)
Also on that site is significant research that proves that helmets DO make a difference. Among other stats, they found that “riders with helmets had an 85% reduction in their risk of head injury.”
The point is NOT to scare you into never letting your child ride a bike (because that is not AT ALL what we want,) but rather to encourage helmet use. Every time they ride. Better yet, “monkey see, monkey do” – Wear YOUR helmet too. Every time you ride. Again, it is also very crucial to point out the importance of a well-fitting helmet. A helmet should sit level on a child’s (or your) head and be snug when clasped. You shouldn’t be able to fit two fingers under the helmet and it shouldn’t move around if you shake your head. **One more point: No one recommends children under a year wearing bike helmets because of a lack of development in their neck muscles.**
And not to leave the importance of sunglasses on kids out, please remember:
- Harmful UV rays effect your kids too. AND the damage can be cumulative.
- Like any habit, persistence with kids at a young age is crucial. And believe me, I get having to put sunglasses back on a million times a day (ug!)
- When biking especially, sunglasses provide important protection against road dust, small rocks, bugs and other “flying objects”
- It is absolutely worth it to spend the little extra money on quality sun glasses. The ones you buy at the grocery store that are cute usually don’t do much to help protect.
Sunglasses by Julbo:
THE best kids sunglasses we have found. I honestly wouldn’t spend the money on any other kind. Five stars from us!
These sunglasses are the most comfortable pair we have ever found for babies. They can be worn either direction (so will never go on upside down), can be completely bent and twisted, and provide excellent protection. Yes, I absolutely still fight P as far as wearing sunglasses, but once he forgets about them, he wears them comfortably and happily. They fit snug on Baby’s head (so really don’t fall off unless they are pulled off) and come with a safety strap that can be worn (or removed) around Baby’s head. **Please note, the one downfall we have found is these consistently run just a tad small.**
Definitely different glasses than the Loopings with hinged ear pieces, we have been really equally pleased with these. They are light and flexible for the highest amount of comfort. J really put them through some intense abuse, bending them in ways really only the Loopings should be bent (because of the hinges.) While they certainly aren’t built for that, they held up with only some slight wear around the hinges. I would love for the Loopings to be made just one size bigger (because “Little Mr. Big Head” doesn’t fit into the Loopings 3, but is still using them like an active 3 year old!)
Julbo sunglasses can be found on their site (see links above), on Amazon.com and at many outdoor stores.
Helmets by Lazer Sport:
I have never been so pleased with a bike helmet (for kid OR adult.) The Nut’Z comes with an auto-fit system so it fits right on your child’s head EVERY time. The only adjustments needed are on the straps. It fits kids’ heads 50-56 cm and has 16 vents. Even better, the straps have a unique clasp system that slides back and forth with a magnet so no clasps (or pinched chins…) is needed. Genius. And absolutely worth every penny.
The main reason we originally approached Lazer Sport was because of the BOB. We were having a terrible time finding a helmet small enough for P. He has had excellent head control from about 4 months, but he is TINY. The helmet we had for J was not even close to being able to fit. When we tried on a Bob at a bike shop we happened to wander into, we were sold. The helmet fits infants 46-52 cm, has 6 vents, is ultra-soft on the inside and has reflective material on it for added safety. The adjustment system at the back of the helmet is super easy, and P loves wearing it (because he is comfortable in it, even sitting in the bike trailer.) The only thing I would change is using the same “no-pinch” clasp as the Nut’Z. Again, highly recommended.
Check out where to buy Lazer helmets here.
I am very excited that Lazer Sport has offered the chance for one of you to win a helmet (Genesis road or Oasiz MTB helmet, or a children’s helmet)! Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter (just refresh your page if you don’t see it!) Good luck!
Congratulations to Jennifer Logan!!! Check your inbox!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
These helmets and sunglasses were generously given to us for this review. However, as always, the opinions expressed here are completely and honestly our own.
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