It is not always easy to get a child to wear a bicycle helmet. “Too uncool” or “disturbing” are often the quick excuses. Although helmets are not mandatory in Germany, it is more than advisable to wear head protection. Children in particular are among the most vulnerable road users. They often do not know the rules well enough, underestimate situations or are simply overlooked by motorists because of their size.
IMTEST tested five current branded models from Abus, Alpina, Giro, Specialized and Uvex between 49.95 and 85 euros both in practice and in the TÜV Süd test laboratory. You can read here how well they can be carried by children, and how robust they can withstand even sharp falls.
The perfect fit
A helmet is not just a helmet. Despite the optical component, the most important thing is that the helmet fits properly. It must not sit at an angle, stagger or protrude too far into the neck. It should also cover the forehead, temples and entire back of the head well. All test models have soft, replaceable padding, so nothing squeezes. With a small wheel on the back, all helmets can be individually adjusted to the head. The models from Abus and Alpina also have an extra vertical size adjustment on the inside. The chin strap must be adjusted so that one finger just fits between the strap and the chin. Since each child’s head is ultimately individual, it is advisable to take the child with you when you buy it.
All helmets must meet this requirement
To be able to sell helmets in Germany at all, they must meet the DIN EN 1078 standard. Here it says that bicycle helmets must be able to withstand a shock speed of 19.5 kilometers per hour. This is measured in a fall with 250 times the acceleration due to gravity. IMTEST already tested helmets for adults last year. The following article reveals how the models performed.
How well do bicycle helmets protect against head bumps on asphalt or sheet metal? IMTEST sent five models to the laboratory.
Mips means Multi Directional Impact Protection System and is an additional safety technology that some helmets, such as those from Specialized and Giro, offer in this test field. There is another movable shell under the outer shell, which rests directly on the head. If there is an oblique impact, the resulting rotational force of this movable shell is redirected. This should give the head additional protection.
So well protects the test helmets
The five test models were to undergo four different tests at TÜV Süd:
- strip test
- Frontal shock test
- Impact test on the side
- hagerem test
By strip test was tested how well the helmet holds upside down in the event of a fall. The helmet sits close to the test head, but only so far that it would still be comfortable for the user. The result: On all helmets, the straps change slightly between 12.8 degrees on Abus and 20.5 degrees on Specialized.
Only with the hlmt 4 from Uvex is the shift slightly larger at 32.4 degrees. The helmet shell can slide relatively far forward. However, as the helmet covers a very large area of the head due to its construction, it meets the requirements of the test standard DIN EN 1078 just like the other models. The result is therefore harmless in terms of safety.
That’s what happens when influenced
Two o’clock shock samples With increased collision speed, the TÜV tested what would happen in a frontal collision and subsequently side-steer. In the event of a frontal collision, values that were 20 percent above the norm were even used. The aim was to find out whether the test models also have reserves and whether they offer adequate shock absorption even in the event of a harder shock.
This means: At around 23.4 kilometers per hour, the TÜV Süd helmets were hit in front on a flat base from a height of 2.20 meters. Pleasing: All models have adequately protected the dummy head. EPS (expanded polystyrene = building material of the helmet) has been visibly damaged on all helmets, cracks are visible, but the helmet shell has remained intact everywhere. In the event of a fall over the handlebars with frontal impact on the asphalt, all helmets offer adequate reserves, even if it goes beyond the standard specifications.
The test candidates, who were already battered, proved to be just as steadfast as they were tough in the ensuing side-on collision from a height of almost 1.90 meters and at a speed of 21.6 kilometers per hour. The selected parameters are ten percent above the standard specification. Result: The EPS breaks in all candidates, but the helmet shell is still undamaged.
With the exception of the Abus model, all helmets remain below the standard specifications when hit again and in some cases significantly undercut them. With Youn_i 2.0 from Abus, the reserves have been used up, which means that another impact on the helmet would be dangerous for the head. Nevertheless, the standard was also met with Abus, and thus a satisfactory result was delivered.
All in all, it can be stated that no helmet shows any weaknesses, even after another powerful shock. The stability of the shells is more than adequate even after two shock tests.
This is what happens to the seat belts in an accident
In a final test, TÜV Süd tested how hagerem behaves after a sudden load. It should be determined whether it tears, stretches, and whether the chin lock can also be opened under load. In practice, this means: As tight as possible, as comfortable as necessary. But here, too, all candidates shone with good values and stayed well below the standard requirement.
Specialized Shuffle Child LED
Alpina Pico Flash
Abus Youn_I 2.0
Uvex Hlmt 4
Giro Tremor Child Mips
If you are looking for a model for your child among these five helmets, Specialized Shuffle Child LED is the right choice. But all other models also convince with good results at TÜV Süd. Often there are only shades that make the difference here, such as the existing light or the type of processing.
However, it can be said that no helmet is convincing when opening and closing. This is not possible with one hand on any model, children have to try something right at the beginning to put the ends right together.
It is also noteworthy that the built-in Mips technology in the Giro and Specialized does not appear to be crucial to the results. Because with Specialized, a Mips helmet is in first place and with the Giro in third place.