How to get a kid to wear a helmet

Chicago-Cargo-Bike-Nutcase-Helmet-Kid-Xtracycle

One of the most common struggles we hear from parents is that they cannot get their child to wear a helmet. While not common worldwide, helmets for kids are basically a legal prerequisite for biking in US cities… and that means, at one time or another, we’ve probably all struggled with this! If you’re having trouble, don’t worry–you’re not alone! And we have some tips that might help.


Treat it like a new toy.
Leave the helmet on a shelf near your kid’s toys. Let her explore it on her own terms--picking it up, sitting in it, putting it on her head herself. Maybe she can even figure out how to buckle it herself? Let her get comfortable with it as a normal part of her daily play, and by the time you’re ready to go on a ride together, you might get less resistance!

Make it normal.
Get a few books from the library that feature cyclists wearing helmets. Watch an episode of Sesame Street about riding a bike, and point out the helmets. Wear your own helmet & make a big deal of presenting the kid’s helmet … “now you get to be like a grown up/join the helmet club/etc!” Normalize wearing a helmet as part of the bike-riding experience, and hopefully she’ll give in and wear hers without a fuss. 


Play hard ball (your mileage may vary).
No helmet, no ride! Sometimes those silly kids just need to walk a block or two before realizing that a bike ride might be more fun. On the flip side, a few positive associations might go a long way: “If you wear your helmet, we can ride to get ice cream/go to the park/see our friends!” 

Sing about it .
Who knows? Singing along to this bop while you get ready to go on a bike adventure might get your little one excited about wearing a helmet! 

Sneak attack.
If all else fails, you can distract her with a toy/popsicle/screen (we don’t judge!) while you’re getting her into her bike seat. Right at the last minute, sneak the helmet on and then ride off before she can resist too much!


What tricks have you used to convince a skeptical little rider to wear their helmet?