If your son or daughter rides an ATV, they need a helmet. Fortunately, there are plenty of Youth ATV helmets to choose from. Here’s what you should look for.
Remember when we were kids? Okay, that might be a bit of a reach for some of you youngsters out there, but for most of us who now have kids of our own, and who grew up in the pre-car seat and safety laws days of the 70s and 80s, safety wasn’t always a big concern. I recall riding around in the bed of my parents’ pickup and even napping in the back of my mom’s station wagon. When I got my first ATV, a Yamaha Tri-Moto 200 three-wheeler, I didn’t own a helmet for the first couple of years we had it. It wasn’t until the neighbor kid got on it and wrecked, breaking her collarbone and getting a concussion, that my parents thought maybe looking at youth ATV helmets would be a good idea.
Today, I have kids of my own. And I know firsthand the importance of a helmet. I would never ride without one and my kids don’t either. You would probably agree with me that youth ATV helmets are vitally important. While it may seem easy for you to pick a helmet for yourself, here are some tips to help you when you’re looking for youth ATV helmets for your kids.
We’ll kick things off with the obvious. Youth ATV helmets need to fit correctly. It can be a sucker-punch to the budget when your kid takes a growth spurt right after you bought a new helmet for him or her, but it happens. Resist the urge to go up a size and let them grow into it. Until they do, your child is wearing a helmet that isn’t protecting them as well as you would like.
Finding the right fit is easy. Start by measuring your child’s head around the biggest point – roughly an inch above the ears and eyebrows. Then you should select the corresponding helmet size from the manufacturer’s size chart for a helmet you’re interested in. The sizes the manufacturers list are based on DOT-regulated head-forms, so they should be pretty close for everyone, but as someone with a big melon on my shoulders, I can tell you that it is not always the case. That’s why having the kid try on the helmet is very important.
The helmet should fit snuggly, but not pinch or hurt anywhere. If your kid has never worn a helmet before, it may seem strange or uncomfortable at first, but push through, mom and dad! This is important stuff. A properly fitting youth ATV helmet should also fit close around the cheeks. The easy test I always use for an initial fitting is to have my kid turn his head quickly and then stop it. If the helmet wiggles at all, it’s too loose and goes back on the shelf for another size. If your child wears a ponytail, take it out. Don’t try to get a helmet that fits over it. Getting proper fit from youth ATV helmets requires a little detective work from you, too. You’ve got to make sure the helmet fits right and that your kid isn’t just saying it does because he or she likes the way it looks.
They Have to Like It
If you tell your kids they HAVE to wear a helmet, they might, but they won’t like it. But you can help them to want to wear it by letting them pick out the colors and models. That can be harder when you’re at your local shop trying them on, as some dealerships don’t have the space to stock a bunch of models in every size. I know from my daughter, that if they don’t have the color she wants, she is going to fight me with fierce determination about it. She gets that from her mother, I swear. And honey, if you’re reading this, I mean that in the nicest way possible.
Here’s a suggestion – if your local dealership doesn’t have the youth ATV helmets your child wants, talk to them about ordering it. My local shop ordered in a new helmet for a little girl and when she came in to get it, they made a fuss over her that made her feel extra special. If you know what helmet fits best, but can’t find the right one locally, try a mail order company, like Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.
If your kids are like mine, you can expect them to once and a while not take care of their helmet like they should. If they throw it down, you need to look at it. Chances are nothing will be wrong, but you have to look it over. Any serious damage to the outer shell, and it’s toast. And the same goes for inspecting it if your child has an accident. Youth ATV helmets are disposable, just like any helmet. The EPS foam inside is good for one use. No matter how much you paid for the helmet, if that foam lining takes the hit, you buy a new one. Most any manufacturer will inspect it for free. Your dealership can help. You can also take it to the local police department in some cases. The old saying that kids are tough and bounce back is true. But keep in mind that a traumatic head injury isn’t something they can bounce back from as well as say, an ankle sprain.
Make sure the helmet is in good condition and that it meets all of the minimum safety requirements. Never, ever buy a used helmet for your child, or for yourself for that matter. Never play around with safety.