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How to Fit a Helmet

It's important to wear a properly fitting helmet to protect yourself in case of a crash. This page will explain how you can adjust your or your child's helmet to fit properly.

Helmets are required by Oregon State Law for people biking under 16 years of age. The following tips can help you ensure that your and your child's helmets will stay in place and protect their head in the event of a crash. 

An illustration of a child with a properly fitted helmet: it is two finger widths above their eyebrow and the straps fit snugly, making a "V" just under the ears.
A properly fitted helmet
  • You should never allow your child to wear a helmet that is cracked or damaged. The helmet is compromised and may not protect your child.
  • When the helmet is sitting on your child's head (even when it's not buckled) it shouldn't move very much when shaking their head "yes" or "no."
  • The widest part of the helmet should rest against the back of their head.

Remember the TWO-V-ONE Rule!

  • Make sure the front of the helmet isn't tilted back. Only 2 FINGERS should fit between your eyebrows and the bottom of the helmet.
  • The side straps should form a V SHAPE just below the ears.
  • Adjust the chin strap so only 1 FINGER fits between your chin and the strap. You want it to be snug, but still have a good amount of movement for opening your mouth wide to sing and say hello.

Watch out for the signs of an improperly fitted helmet

  • Tilting: Wear your helmet level on your head, about two finger-widths above your eyebrows.
  • Loose Straps: Make sure the straps are snug. Only about two fingers should fit beneath the chin strap.
  • Wrong Size:Your helmet should fit snugly and not rock side-to-side. Foam pads usually included with the helmet or internal adjusters can assist with fine-tuning.
  • Backwards: The widest part of the helmet should rest against the back of your head.
Four helmets fitted improperly: One is tilted to the back of the head, one is too large for the head, one has straps that are too loose, one is backwards
Improperly fitted helmets

Additional information:

You should replace your helmet after any crash and whenever you see signs of damage. According to the Center for Disease Control, "Bike helmets are designed to help protect the rider’s brain and head from one serious impact, such as a fall onto the pavement. You may not be able to see the damage to the foam, but the foam materials in the helmet will crush after an impact. That means that the foam in the helmet won’t be able to help protect the rider’s brain and head from another impact."