If you or your child is riding a bike, you need a good helmet. And while you may already have one, Consumer Reports warns bike helmets don’t last forever and yours may need to be replaced.
Consumer Reports’ Kevin Loria says bike helmets are most effective at preventing injury when fitted and adjusted correctly and the helmet itself hasn’t been injured.
“If you’ve been in a crash, you need to replace your helmet as soon as possible,” he said.
A helmet can look fine after a crash, but there could be damage in the helmet that you can’t see.
Even if you’ve never been in a crash, you may still need to replace your helmet. Consumer Reports experts say you should replace your helmet every five years or so, since the protective foam and plastic materials can break down over time.
Another way to tell if it’s time to replace: Give the helmet a good, thorough examination inside and out.
”One obvious sign is if you see any cracks in the foam,” said Loria. “A more subtle sign you may need a new helmet is if the colors have started to fade. It’s likely a sign that the helmet could have been weakened by heat and sun exposure over time. And check the chin straps too to make sure they’re in good shape.”
So, if you’ve done these checks and it’s time for a new bike helmet or you just want to upgrade. These two scored well for adults in Consumer Reports’ tests:
The two helmets Consumer Reports recommends for children are:
One helmet, the Dimensions Kids Bike Helmet with Bluetooth Speakers sold at Walmart, failed Consumer Reports’ chin strap retention test which means the helmet could get pushed out of position during an accident so that it no longer offers protection.
According to Consumer Reports, if your child already has this helmet, only use it until you can replace it with a new one as soon as possible. Sakar International, the manufacturer of the helmet, told Consumer Reports that it had not seen any major failures in its tests or heard from consumers about any complaints related to retention strap issues.
After Consumer Reports first contacted Walmart, the company temporarily stopped selling the helmet while Sakar conducted further testing, but Consumer Reports confirmed it was back on sale by July 29.