This post may contain affiliate links. Find out more in our disclosure.
Ski helmets are one of the most important pieces of gear that you can buy your child when you’re preparing for winter sports.
When I was growing up, helmets were almost unheard of for kids in snowsports, but the benefits of kids wearing a helmet while skiing or snowboarding are huge. While collisions while skiing or snowboarding with kids are not unheard of, they’re also not rare.
As kids are learning to ski, the allure of skiing over jumps or twisting through the trees, is so appealing to them. Trust me – as a ski mom, I probably spend at least 50% of my ski day with kids skiing in the trees. They absolutely love it, but with seemingly unlimited obstacles to avoid, there is always a chance of a collision.
One of my most terrifying moments of skiing with my kids was watching my son ski right into a tree. He had gotten distracted, and despite my yelling at him to turn, he hit it head on.
I cannot even begin to explain the sheer terror that I felt in that moment. As soon as he hit the tree head first, he immediately crumpled to the ground and my heart sank. Visions of ski patrol putting him on a backboard and hospital monitors beeping started flashing through my mind.
Thank God, after sitting there with him for a few minutes, we could tell that he was going to be okay. He was scared, but there were no signs of a concussion, and he was totally coherent. We watched him very closely for the next few days, astounded that he was able to walk away from his accident skiing into a tree.
As a ski mom, this was my worst nightmare, but I’m 100% convinced that had he not been wearing his helmet, that day would have ended in a horrible way. Wearing a helmet saved my son’s life.
I was probably 10 feet to the side of him, and his dad was just a skis length behind him, and there was absolutely nothing we could do to stop him from hitting that tree. The only thing that saved him was wearing a helmet.
After that, we got his helmet inspected (a must after any collision) to check and make sure that it was still safe to wear (miraculously it was).
How To Find A Ski Helmet That Fits Kids Right
Ski helmets can be surprisingly tricky to find the right fit. I’ve found that even among my own kids, the perfect fitting childs ski helmet for one kid won’t fit their younger brother right the next season. Some of my kids have rounder heads, and others a more oblong head, and helmets fit them all very differently.
The most important thing that you need to do when finding a kids helmet for skiing is to try several on. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when determining the best kids helmet fit:
Helmets should fit snugly on your child’s head, but not too tight. Find a childs ski helmet with an adjustable dial so you can help customize the fit (and let your child grow with their helmet a bit).
The helmet should be level, and there should be no more than 2 fingers space from the top of the eyebrows.
Try on the helmet with kids ski goggles. There should be no gap between the top of the ski goggles and the kids ski helmet.
Wiggle their head back and forth. If the helmet stays in place and doesn’t shift around it’s a good fitting ski helmet for kids.
How Do I Measure My Kids Head For A Ski Helmet?
If you’re buying a kids ski helmet online, you’ll want to make sure that you measure your child’s head before you buy a ski helmet for kids online.
To correctly measure a kids head for a ski helmet, take a flexible tape measure (plastic or fabric), and wrap it around their head, one inch above their ears and eyebrows. Make sure that the measuring tape doesn’t slip down and it snug against the child’s head. Take note of the measurement in both cm and inches.
Remember that correct sizing is the key to finding the best kids ski helmet or best kids snowboard helmet.
What Is MIPS And Should I Buy A Kids Ski Helmet With MIPS?
MIPS is short for the Multi Impact Protection System and is a safety feature that’s added to many higher end helmets. MIPS is designed to help protect the brain from a fall at an angle (this is how most kids fall on skis). It actually allows the helmet to move around on the childs head a bit so that in the event of a rotational impact, less of the impact trauma is directed towards the brain, resulting in fewer and less significant brain injuries.
MIPS helps to disperse the impact of a collision if your kid hits their head while skiing or snowboarding.
Ski helmets for kids that have the MIPS system integrated into them typically cost about $20-$40 more than the same helmet without MIPS. If you can afford the extra cost, the safety features that MIPS offers are outstanding. However, if you’re just new to the sport of skiing, or are on a tight budget, you can be fine having your kids in a regular fitting helmet that’s properly sized for their head.
How To Choose A Kids Ski Helmet That Works Well With Goggles
Not all ski helmet and goggle combinations work well together. I highly recommend that you buy your childs ski helmet first, and then wear that while choosing kids ski goggles. A good fitting helmet is much more important than stylish goggles, so use the helmet as a starting point. If you’re worried about finding a helmet and goggle combination that work well together, we’ve listed several combo helmet and goggle sets below. Check out the best kids ski goggles.
Best Kids Ski Helmets Without MIPS
My 6 year old has been wearing the Wildhorn Spire ski helmet for kids for the last year and absolutely loves it. He loves the look of the matching goggles and helmet and as a parent, I love the safety it adds. The Wildhorn Spire keeps his head toasty, even on the coldest days (2 degrees F), and the adjustable dial helps us to get a custom fit on his head. As a parent, I love that it has EPS foam for extra protection in a collision. Like all helmets, this helmet doesn’t fit all kids and though it fits one of my kids well, it doesn’t fit his brother with a similarly sized, but different shaped head, so make sure to try it on first!
The Smith Holt Jr Helmet for kids is a great snowsports helmet for kids with bombshell construction and an adjustable dial in the back for a customized fit. There are 14 vents on this helmet so this is a good snowboard helmet for kids who get really warm on the hill. Another feature of this helmet that is really great is there is a convertible pad set included so that this helmet can double for year round use as a skateboard helmet in the warmer months. The google clip in the back is removable, however, this is a bit of a downside for snowsports as it doesn’t hold kids goggles as securely as other helmets, and my son’s goggles have fallen off of his Smith helmet during transport many times.
The Salomon Grom kids snow helmet is a lightweight helmet that also provides great protection. This is a great option for younger kids who may struggle with the weight of heavier kids snowboard helmets. The helmet provides good ventilation as well as removable pads and ear covers. Snap for the goggles on the back helps ensure that kids ski goggles won’t get lost in transit.
The Anon Burner kids snow and snowboard helmet is another great lightweight helmet for kids. It has a soft fleece liner that also helps wick sweat away from the head, and a really great ventilation system designed to promote good airflow around the head. Probably my favorite feature of this helmet is the magnetic closure at the chin strap, helping to prevent you from pinching your kids neck with a regular buckle. An Adjustable dial is also included in this helmet so you can customize the fit of this ski helmet.
The POCito Obex Spin youth ski and snowboard helmet is a great helmet that focuses on impact protection. With the POC EPS foam, this helmet is designed to not only protect the head, but to help absorb impact in case of a collision. As a mom, I love that all of the POC kids helmets come in bright colors so that it’s easier to spot kids on the mountain. The large size fits kids with a head up to 58cm, which is fairly large, so this is a great ski helmet for kids with larger heads as well. This is the largest kids ski helmet that we’ve found!
The Bern Bandito is designed to be worn year round, much like the Smith Holt Jr. The liner and ear pads are removable for use in warmer temperatures and while skateboarding or biking. This is a good helmet for kids who have larger heads, but aren’t quite ready for an adult helmet. THis helmet also features EPS foam protection to help absorb impact in case of a collision. With an adjustable dial in the back, this is a great kids ski helmet that will help you customize the best fit.
Best Kids Ski Helmets with MIPS
If you’re looking for some extra protection when choosing the best ski helmet for kids, then opt for a helmet with the MIPS system integrated. MIPS helps protect kids heads from impacts with lots of extra safety features.
GIRO’s Launch helmet with MIPS is a great helmet for younger kids just getting out there on the slopes. Kids will love the bright, fun colors, and parents will love the added protection that comes with a MIPS helmet. This helmet has an adjustable dial as well as a goggle slip to keep goggles secure throughout your ski day with kids. The GORE weatherstopper membrane helps to keep the elements out, but is also breathable for extra ventilation.
You can also buy the Giro Launch MIPS helmet with integrated goggles for a guaranteed fit!
Smith really went all out when designing the Prospect Jr Helmet with MIPS. This helmet has a lot of features that you’d find in an adult helmet, but it’s been specifically designed for kids. It has a honeycomb foam to balance protection and ventilation, a soft fuzzy, liner, an adjustable fit dial, and vents that can open and close. All of this is in addition to the MIPS system that provides excellent safety protection for kids skiing helmets.
We highlighted the BERN Banditio helmet above as one of the best ski helmets for kids, but you can also buy this same helmet with the MIPS system integrated as well. Perfect for an extra level of protection!
The Anon burner was highlighted as one of the best snowboard helmets for kids skiing and riding this winter above. However, for just a little more money, you can get that same great helmet, but with MIPS protection!
No, there is no difference between a ski and snowboard helmet, aside from the looks. Many snowboarders prefer more of a bomber look to their helmets, where a traditional ski helmet has a more streamlined appearance.
Yes, kids can wear an adult ski helmet since helmet size is based on head size and not age. One of my boys has a large head and has been wearing an adult size small helmet since he was six years old. Another one of my boys could still wear a kids size helmet at age 11. Don’t get caught up in the adult/child designation on a snowsport helmet for kids, but focus on getting them the correct size.
Absolutely yes! As I shared before, skiing with a helmet can literally save your kids life. We have a non negotiable rule that if our kids want to ski or snowboard, they must have a helmet on their head and it must be worn correctly. We see a lot of kids skiing with helmets that are unbuckled, which completely negates all the benefits of wearing a ski helmet. If your kids are going to wear a ski helmet, insist that they wear it correctly.
We start our kids wearing a ski helmet as soon as they start skiing. For most of our kids, they start wearing a ski helmet at 18 months.
While most resorts do not require helmets for regular visitors, most ski and snowboard schools now say that helmets are mandatory.
Within the last 10 years, we’ve seen a shift in the ski and snowboard industry towards full helmet compliance. When we started teaching our own kids to ski 10 years ago, we would see just over ½ of all kids on the ski hill wearing ski helmets on the mountain. Now, we see closer to 95% of all kids. Honestly, our older kids did not start out skiing wearing helmets, but now all our kids wear a ski helmet all the time.
Kids Helmets for skiing work best when they’re in direct contact with the child’s head. That being said, there are days where it is super cold when you’re skiing with kids. On those days, opt for a thin hat, or balaclava under the ski helmet for extra warmth. A thick knit hat should not ever be worn under a snow sports helmet for kids since they change the way the helmet fits.
Yes, ski helmets for kids are surprisingly warm. When I got my first snowsports helmet 20 years ago, my head was constantly freezing, but technology has come so far in that time. Now, my kids almost exclusively wear just a helmet when they’re skiing, and we even look for helmets with vents, since a helmet can often be too hot on warm days. When the temperatures are in the single digits, a few of my kids need a thin hat or balaclava under their helmet for kids as extra insulation.