MIPS Helmets for Kids (and Why MIPS is Best)

MIPS Helmet Technology for Kids

One of the most exciting technologies to emerge in the bike industry over the last decade is MIPS technology on bike helmets.  If you have been hanging around here for long, you’ve probably noticed me mention MIPS helmets in my “best of” posts but I’ve never gone in-depth into why I think MIPS helmets are the best option for kids (and adults for that matter).  In this post I explain what MIPS is, why I think it is worth spending the extra money to get a helmet with MIPS, and which kids helmets currently have the technology.

What is MIPS?

MIPS stands for “multi-directional impact protection system.”  Traditional helmets are designed and tested for a direct impact.  What the creators of MIPS realized is that when you fall from a bike, you usually hit your head at an angle.  This causes a rotational force that can result in brain damage.

Their solution is a two-layer helmet.  The exterior layer is made of traditional EPS material; the interior layer is a low-friction liner that rests on the rider’s head.  The two layers are able to slide against each via a “slip plane” design, which results in less force transferred to the brain in the event of impact.

For a better explanation of this concept, here’s a great video.

Arguments against MIPS helmets

The most obvious drawback of a MIPS-equipped helmet is the cost.  You can expect to pay $20 to $25 more for a MIPS helmet than a traditional helmet.  For this reason, critics claim that MIPS has become more of a marketing ploy than an actual safety campaign.  Marketing ploy or not, $25 is a lot of extra money for an item that has a relatively short life.

There are also some folks in the industry that doubt the efficiency of MIPS.  An article on Helmets.org argues: “In the real world, bicycle helmets are so loosely coupled with the head that a slip-plane inside the helmet structure does not add significant sideways movement in an impact.  The helmet moves anyway, unless it is constrained in a lab test.”

While it is true that there hasn’t been much independent research on the effectiveness of MIPS, there has been at least one independent study.  The authors of the study concluded that helmets with the technology reduced the risk of concussion by 44%.”

Why I Choose MIPS helmets

Both my husband and I wear the POC Trabec with MIPS, and when our son isn’t testing out other helmets for me, he also wears a MIPS helmet.  While the jury is still out on how much safer a MIPS helmet is than a traditional helmet, there are plenty of testimonials from doctors and cyclists who believe that a MIPS helmet helped prevent serious brain injury.  For me, the extra $20 is well worth it to ensure that we are buying the safest possible helmet on the market.

Kids helmets with MIPS technology

If you want to make sure your child has the latest in helmet technology, here are a couple of your options.  Make sure when shopping you look for the “MIPS” designation, because several of these helmets come in both MIPS and non-MIPS versions.

Giro Scamp MIPS

Girco Scamp MIPS

The Scamp is designed for the balance bike crowd.  It also comes in fun, vibrant colors so you don’t have to give up aesthetics for safety.

Buy:

 

Bell Sidetrack MIPS

Bell Sidetrack MIPS

If you have a little mountain biker on your hands, they will love the cool, grown-up design of the Bell Sidetrack.  This helmet has excellent ventilation thanks to 15 vents, and the low-profile visor provides sun-protection.

Buy:

 

Giro Raze MIPS

Giro Raze MIPS

The Giro Raze is the next step up after the Giro Scamp, and is intended for grade-school kids.  It comes in one size only and conforms to your child’s head size via the Giro Acu Dial fit system.

Buy:

Lazer Nut’z MIPS

Lazer Nut'z Helmet with MIPS

If you want a top of the line helmet that is also fun, go with the Lazer Nut’z.  The helmet can be upgraded with several different shells—pick from a fireman, astronaut, or pretty princess.  It also has a pinch-free magnetic buckle.

Buy:

 

Giro Dime MIPS

Giro Dime MIPS

The Dime is the only skate-style bike helmet (that I’m aware of) with MIPS technology.  Unlike many skate-style bike helmets, it has good ventilation so kids can stay safe AND cool.

Buy:

Comparison Chart

Here’s how the different kids MIPS helmets stack up.  Pay particular attention to your child’s head circumference when picking a helmet.  If you’re not sure how to measure, read my post on how to fit a kids bike helmet.

HelmetPrice   (MSRP)
Head CircumferenceWeight
Giro Scamp MIPS$5545-49 cm (XS)

49-53 cm (S)

251g
Bell Sidetrack MIPS$6050-57cm276g
Giro Raze with MIPS$6550-57cm280g
Giro Dime MIPS$6051-55 cm (S)420g
Lazer Nut’z MIPS$7550-56 cm300g

L

Kristen

Kristen is a project manager and writer. She spends all her free time mountain biking with her family on the trails in Salt Lake City and Park City, UT.

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