Why a Properly Fitted Helmet is Crucial for Safety
When it comes to our kids’ safety out on the ice, a properly fitted hockey helmet is absolutely crucial. Unlike a bicycle helmet, for example, a hockey helmet needs to protect against fast-moving pucks, flying sticks, and contact with the boards and other players. When a helmet doesn’t fit right or lacks proper safety certifications, it puts our child’s health at serious risk of concussion or other head and neck injuries. So how can we make sure our kid’s head is protected in the heat of a hard-fought hockey game?
Take Time to Try On Different Brands and Sizes
The most important step is to actually try on helmets in person before buying. Every manufacturer uses slightly different sizing and shape, so don’t rely on size charts alone. Visiting a well-stocked hockey shop lets you experiment to find the brand and fit that works best for your player’s head size and shape. Trying on helmets gets kids involved in the process too, making sure the fit feels snug but comfortable. If sizing up for growth room, err on the side of snugness over looseness for optimal protection.
Prioritize Certifications Like HECC and CSA
Always look for hockey helmets certified by standards organizations like HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). These rigorous safety tests confirm that the helmet can withstand the repetitive impacts and extreme forces encountered during hockey. Many brands advertise their helmets as “HECC approved” or “CSA certified” right on the packaging or product descriptions. Buying uncertified helmets, especially used ones with unknown histories, risks serious injury down the road.
Customize for Style, But Don’t Sacrifice Safety
Today’s helmets offer cool custom graphics, colors and decals so kids can show their personal style on the ice. This customization can help get reluctant young players excited about wearing protective gear. But resist the urge to compromise on fit or safety features just to get flashy decals or designs. Models with solid safety certifications should always take priority over pure aesthetics. Also, avoid external add-ons like Mohawk attachments that alter the helmet’s protective capabilities.
Manage Costs Without Compromising Protection
Hockey gear expenses can pile up quickly, but don’t let price alone dictate your helmet purchase. Lesser-known brands found in big-box stores may seem like a bargain, but the construction quality and safety testing is unlikely to match premium hockey brands. Search for last year’s models on sale, buy used/refurbished, or look for holiday sales from major brands like Bauer, CCM and Warrior. These tactics keep costs down without sacrificing essential safety features and certifications.
Choosing the Perfect Helmet Starts With Your Player’s Head
Finding that just-right helmet match for your child starts with carefully measuring their head. Wrap a soft measuring tape around the widest part of their head, just above the eyebrows and ears. Compare this length and width to sizing charts for youth hockey helmets. Kids’ heads grow rapidly, so consider sizing up if they are near the top end of a size range. Oval-shaped heads often fit best in CCM or Reebok helmets, while rounder heads tend to favor Bauer’s more circular fit.
Trying It On Is the True Test
Head measurements alone can’t guarantee a great helmet fit for your young athlete. The in-person testing process rarely disappoints! Have your player put on candidate helmets and gently shake their head around. Their skin should move, but the helmet should stay put. Next, carefully grasp the helmet and try moving it around with your hands. For best protection, the fit should feel snug with little to no side-to-side or front-to-back movement.
Listen for Your Child’s Feedback
Resist the urge to overrule your kid’s comfort preferences, as long as basic safety needs are met. A helmet stuffed uncomfortably tight with sizing pads might pass your shake test, but feel miserable out on the ice. Take the time to listen to your young player’s feedback during the fitting process too. Finding a helmet that feels like a natural extension of their head will make them more likely to wear it consistently and get the most protection.
Prioritize the Fit First, Style Second
Today’s hockey helmets offer ample opportunity for custom graphics, colors and other flair. But remember – fit and safety certifications should take priority over aesthetic preferences. Avoid sacrificing proper fit to get the coolest decals or colors. Your local hockey shop can usually order custom color and graphic kits to personalize a helmet after you’ve nailed down the ideal size and model.
Give Growing Hockey Players Helmets That Grow Too
Kids grow fast, and their hockey gear needs to keep up. Many helmet models now offer expansion room or removable fitting pads to add space as your player’s head expands. Buying a helmet with sizing flexibility ensures you won’t need to replace it mid-season. Bauer’s helmets include tool-free adjustment systems that extend the helmet interior with a simple turn of a dial. CCM helmets often use a Velcro-adjusted occipital pad at the back of the head to allow size expansion.
Hand-Me-Downs Can Save Money
Gently used hockey helmets passed down from older siblings or teammates can offer cost savings for growing kids. But confirm any pre-worn helmet still meets current safety standards, with intact exterior shells and no inner foam cracks or deterioration. Avoid older helmets lacking modern concussion-prevention innovations like impact-absorbing liners and shells. Prioritize safety over savings when considering used helmets for your young athlete.
Buy a Helmet That Ages With Your Player
Many parents choose to fit helmets with room to grow, avoiding frequent replacement costs. While it may require more re-adjustment, a properly sized “big” helmet still protects better than an ill-fitting small one. Seek out helmets with innovative fit systems that expand in multiple directions as your player’s head grows. Removable pads and liners allow customization over time. Your local hockey shop can help identify the best “grow into it” helmet investment for your child.
When shopping for the right hockey helmet to protect your kid, focus on fit, safety certifications, comfort and adjustability. Prioritizing proper protection now will instill good safety habits that keep them healthy and active on the ice for life.
Determining the Right Helmet Size for Your Player’s Head
As hockey season gears up, making sure your child has protective equipment that fits properly should be a top priority for parents. And when it comes to gear, a properly fitted helmet is the most important piece. Taking the time to measure your child’s head and find the right helmet size will go a long way in keeping them safe on the ice.
The helmet should fit snugly all around, with no gaps between the foam and the player’s head. Ill-fitting helmets can potentially shift during play, exposing parts of the head or failing to properly absorb impact. Follow these essential tips to find the perfect helmet for your young hockey player:
1. Measure Carefully
When sizing a helmet, the most critical measurement is the circumference of the head just above the eyebrows and around the widest part of the skull. Use a flexible cloth tape measure for accuracy. Have your child stand up straight and wrap the tape comfortably around their head. Make sure not to pinch in or angle the tape – you want a flat, level measurement. For growing kids, it’s wise to add about an inch to allow for growth over the season.
2. Consult the Size Chart
Once you have the measurement, compare it against the helmet brand’s size chart. Charts vary between manufacturers, so be sure to follow recommendations specifically for that brand. The helmet should fit very snugly when new – it will loosen up over time. If in between sizes, size down for the tighter fit. Remember that helmets are designed to fit close to the head.
3. Test the Fit
Have your player try on the helmet for a test fit. The helmet should sit one inch above the eyebrows in front. Adjust the side straps so the helmet fits snugly from front to back and side-to-side. Next, adjust the chin strap so no more than one or two fingers fit under it when fastened. The jaw line should feel comfortably cupped by chin padding. Ask your child to wiggle the helmet from side-to-side – minimal rotation indicates a good fit.
4. Check Vision
A properly fitted helmet won’t obstruct vision. Have your player look side-to-side and up-and-down while wearing the helmet. Make sure their field of vision isn’t blocked. The helmet should sit just above the eyebrows. Cage, visor and lens attachments should align properly with the eyes and nose too.
5. Assess Snugness
The helmet should feel very snug all over the head before being worn in. You want a tight fit with hockey helmets so they don’t shift on impact. Have your player shake their head yes and no – the helmet shouldn’t slide. Also ask them to flex their neck forward to their chest and then tilt their head side-to-side – minimal helmet movement should occur.
6. Examine the Foam
Press around the inside of the helmet with your fingers to assess the foam. It should feel firm and resilient. Check for any cracks or deterioration. The foam disperses impact, so it must be in good condition without compression issues. Replace the helmet if the foam is damaged or doesn’t spring back quickly.
7. Consider Comfort
A snug fit is crucial for safety but comfort also needs consideration, especially since young players keep helmets on during long practices and games. Avoid pressure points by making adjustments and getting feedback from your child. New helmets also break-in over time. Ensure proper air circulation by selecting helmets with multiple vents if needed.
Finding the right youth hockey helmet takes effort but getting the perfect fit will provide peace of mind. Following these tips and taking the time to measure carefully will have your young player heading into the hockey season with a safe, comfortable helmet that offers maximum protection.
Features to Look For: Protection, Ventilation, Visor, and More
As hockey season approaches, parents know it’s time to shop for new gear. And one of the most important pieces is a properly fitted helmet. Your child’s hockey helmet is their main line of defense against head injuries, so you’ll want to choose one designed specifically for youth players. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which helmet offers the best protection and comfort? Here are 7 must-know tips for finding the perfect youth hockey helmet for your young athlete this season.
1. Look for Safety Certifications
First and foremost, make sure any helmet you’re considering is certified by reputable organizations like HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). These certifications mean the helmet has passed rigorous safety and performance testing standards. The HECC sticker will tell you exactly what safety standards the helmet meets. For example, “HECC 3.0” refers to the latest certification standards. You may also see helmets labeled as “Heads Up Certified,” meaning they offer advanced concussion and head injury protection beyond traditional standards.
2. Select the Right Size
It may seem obvious, but taking the time to find the right size helmet is critical. Youth hockey helmets are sized according to head circumference, not age, so always measure your child’s head before shopping. A helmet that’s too large can shift and expose parts of the head, while one that’s too small can create uncomfortable pressure points. The helmet should fit snugly all the way around, with no gaps between the padding and the head. Allow room for a little growth, but refrain from buying a size up. Most helmets come with removal padding pieces that allow you to customize the fit as needed.
3. Opt for Maximum Ventilation
Proper ventilation keeps kids cooler and drier during intense gameplay. Look for helmets with vents across the front, back, and sides. Vents along the brim help eliminate fogging when masks are worn. Mesh or perforated vent covers also enhance air flow while preventing debris from entering. Consider buying helmets with sweat-wicking, anti-odor, and machine-washable interior padding for maximum comfort and hygiene.
4. Include Visor Protection
Integrated visors are a must-have for youth hockey helmets. Clear polycarbonate shields guard the entire face – eyes, nose, mouth, and teeth – from flying pucks and sticks. Many are also treated with fog-resistant and scratch-resistant coatings for improved visibility. Look for visors that snap on and off easily for cleaning between games. For those who wear glasses, make sure the visor accommodates glasses and offers sufficient peripheral vision.
5. Evaluate Overall Construction
Tap on the helmet and listen for dull thuds rather than hollow echoes. Solid internal construction and dense foam padding absorb shock better. Examine the outer shell for durability. Polypropylene copolymer materials resist cracking in cold rink temperatures. Dual-density Vinyl Nitrile is another top helmet material that combines rigid outer plastic and softer inner foam. Finally, check that all adjustment mechanisms, chin straps, and hardware pieces are high quality and securely riveted.
6. Consider Adjustability Features
Youth come in all shapes and sizes, so adjustable helmets accommodate growth spurts and variations in head shapes. Look for wheels or sliding mechanisms in the back that expand the width. Removable comfort pads allow you to customize the fit. Chin straps with multiple attachment points ensure a snug fit. Some helmets feature an adjustable tool-free halo or ring system that cradles the head for a personalized feel.
7. Choose Age-Appropriate Styles
While safety should remain the top shopping priority, also consider your child’s preferences for colors, graphics, and stylistic features. Youth hockey helmet styles range widely – some feature bold customizable color combinations while others opt for a more sleek, professional look. Many youth models include popular hockey team logos and graphics. For an extra cool factor, some manufacturers offer helmets with intricate designs that change color in sunlight. Others incorporate flashing LED lights into the back brim for visibility. No matter the style you choose, make sure it gets your young athlete excited to hit the ice!
Finding the perfect youth hockey helmet takes a bit of research and diligence. Keep these tips in mind, take proper measurements, and thoroughly inspect all features and components. Comfort, ventilation, adjustability, safety certifications, quality construction, face protection, and age-appropriate styling should all be considered. With the right helmet, your child will feel confident and protected out on the rink this season. So take the time to equip them with gear made specifically for their age, size, skill level, and preferences. That way they can focus on building skills, making friends, and creating lifelong hockey memories.
Getting the Best Deal: New vs. Used Youth Hockey Helmets
As hockey season gears up, parents face the perennial question – is it better to buy a new or used helmet for your young player? With safety being the number one priority, it can be tempting to opt for a brand new helmet right out of the box. However, gently used helmets can offer excellent protection at a fraction of the cost. Here are some tips for getting the best value when shopping for youth hockey helmets this season.
Check for Certifications
Whether buying new or used, be sure any helmet you purchase is HECC or CSA certified. These certifications mean the helmet model has passed rigorous impact tests and meets safety standards for ice hockey. Don’t rely on generic “hockey helmet” labels – look for an intact HECC or CSA sticker inside the helmet.
Assess Overall Condition
Gently inspect the helmet for any cracks or damage, especially around the ear covers, chin strap rivets and facemask clips. Even if certified, structural damage can reduce safety. The helmet liner should be fully intact. Normal wear like scratches or fading is fine as long as foam is not exposed.
Consider Fit and Adjustments
A snug fit is crucial, so assess size and adjustment range carefully. For used helmets, replace old, hardened comfort pads to get a secure fit. Ensure the chin cup aligns properly and the chin strap adjusts snugly. Replace cracked strap clips or frayed straps if needed.
Used Helmet Deals and Dangers
Checking used gear listing sites can uncover lightly-used helmets for half the cost of new. However, it’s risky to buy used helmets sight unseen. Inspect carefully for cracks or deterioration if buying used. Meet in person whenever possible. It’s safest to buy used from people you know and trust.
New Helmet Features and Technology
New helmets often boast improved safety features like enhanced shock absorption, better ventilation and antimicrobial linings. Higher-end models utilize innovative materials like aerospace-grade composites and Kevlar. Leading brands also refresh styling more frequently.
Get the Right Size
Unlike a loose bike helmet, hockey helmets must fit snugly. Measure your child’s head and consult size charts, erring on the smaller size if in between. Most youth helmets feature adjustable inner linings to fine-tune fit. Ensure their helmet is comfortable but very snug when strapped.
Prioritize the Right Protection
Focus on vital protective elements rather than flashy extras. Opt for a helmet with expanded rear coverage for nape protection. Make sure it’s compatible with cage-style facemasks for younger players. Only buy from major certified brands you recognize and trust.
Set a Reasonable Budget
While it’s tempting to go high-end, mid-range helmets around $50-100 provide excellent safety. Prioritize fit and condition over premium features. Consider splitting costs with used and budgeting more for a new helmet as your player grows.
Don’t Use a Hand-Me-Down Helmet
Avoid using an older sibling’s outgrown helmet. Fit is critical, and materials degrade over time. A few new parts don’t make an old helmet safe. Get a helmet that fits your child now, not hoping they’ll grow into it.
Properly Maintain the Helmet
Follow manufacturer guidelines on cleaning pads and straps. Avoid harsh cleaners or chemicals. Replace comfort pads regularly for hygiene and fit. Store the helmet in a ventilated, temperature-controlled area to prevent damage.
Replace After Any Significant Impact
If your child takes a major hit to the head, replace the helmet immediately even if it looks intact. The foam materials crumble on impact and can’t fully protect from the next blow. Don’t take chances – a new helmet is cheaper than an injury.
Finding the right hockey helmet need not be a daunting or hugely expensive task. Focus on fit, protective elements and overall condition rather than ancillary features or brand prestige. With some diligent inspection and smart shopping, you can equip your young athlete with effective, affordable head protection this season.
Top Brands for Reliable Construction and Durability
When it comes to protecting your child on the ice, not all hockey helmet brands are created equal. The top brands combine innovative designs with stringent safety testing and premium materials to offer both reliability and durability. As you shop for youth hockey helmets this season, here are some of the leading brands known for their trusted construction.
As the #1 helmet brand in hockey, Bauer utilizes composite foam and advanced protection systems like Poron XRD and MX3 for top-tier shock absorption. Bauer helmets feature robust outer shells and tool-free adjustment systems for a custom fit. The Bauer RE-AKT helmet offers a comfortable fit with pro-level protection.
CCM helmets are trusted by pros like Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid. Using impact-absorbing Vinyl Nitrile and EPP foams, CCM combines protection with lightweight comfort. The CCM Resistance helmet has a steel alloy cage for hardness and ventilation for breathability. The snug fit Dual Density liner optimizes stability.
Warrior emphasizes both durability and ventilation in their innovative helmet designs. The Alpha and Covert lines utilize the Viconic mesh shell for multi-impact protection and Four-way moisture channeling to keep players cool. The dial-adjust system creates a stable, customized fit.
STX uses cutting-edge materials like liquid crystal polymer and dual-density VN+PE foam for advanced impact absorption with a comfortable feel. The Stallion 500 helmet has a Pro-formed shell shape optimized for stability and visibility. The precision-fit system prevents rotation or shifting during play.
True Hockey focuses on foam technologies and adaptive protection for changing impact levels. The APEX helmet uses advanced starch-based foams that stiffen on impact and Contego padding that adapts its response. The suspended liner design allows customized height and fit adjustments.
Cascade offers versatile helmet options from the budget-friendly M11 to the top-end S. Using innovative Poron XRD foam, Cascade helmets offer pro-level protection across price points. The Seven Technology liner system adapts to head shape for a secure, comfortable fit.
Known for durable yet comfortable helmets, Easton uses patent-pending suspension and adjustment systems for unrivaled fit. The E700 helmet has the AdjustFit system with micro-adjustable padding and a pro-preferred lower profile. It’s sized for growing kids.
Reebok hockey helmets feature high-grade foam protection paired with durable polycarbonate shells. Building off football helmet designs, the 9K model has a dual-density liner and Free-Flex adjustable cheek pads for increased comfort and breathability during play.
Specializing in custom pro-quality helmets, Otny uses CAD technology and 3D head-scanning for precision fit. Otny XRD foam absorbs repeated impacts. The Otny custom process allows parents to select colors and design elements for full personalization.
While parents want helmets that protect, durability and adjustability ensure kids get optimal use from their investment. Seeking out leading hockey brands is the best way to get a helmet built to withstand repeated frozen slap shots while keeping your young athlete comfortable and stable on the ice.
Customizing Your Kid’s Helmet with Cool Graphics and Colors
While safety comes first when selecting a youth hockey helmet, letting your child pick fun graphics or colors makes them more excited to wear their new gear. Most leading brands now offer customization options from pre-designed graphics to fully personalized looks.
Pick Pre-Designed Graphics
Many helmet brands like CCM, Bauer and Warrior allow you to select colorful pre-designed graphics to give your child’s helmet some flair. Graphics often feature hockey terms, cool numbers or bold patterns in vibrant hues. This adds style without the cost of fully custom work.
Coordinate Graphics with Fav Team
Does your aspiring NHLer have a favorite pro team? Select helmet graphics that coordinate. Get Flyers orange and black graphics for a Philly fan or Penguins gold and black if they love Crosby. Matching your kid’s lid to their beloved team makes it more meaningful.
Add Personal Touches
For full customization, many companies let you submit personal images and text to create one-of-a-kind helmet graphics. Add your child’s number, name or nickname. Upload a family photo, special illustration or meaningful image. DIY online designers make it easy.
Select Favorite Colors
Most leading hockey brands offer helmets in an array of colors so you can find just the right hue. Bold brights like neon green, vivid blue or fiery red make a helmet pop. Or go classic with bold black, bright white or primary colors like red and blue.
Use Colors to Be Visible
Lighter helmet colors can help coaches and teammates spot your mini-mate on the ice during fast-paced play. Opt for white, yellow, orange, lime green or light blue for high visibility. Use reflective details for even more contrast.
Show Team Spirit
Encourage team bonding by coordinating helmet colors across your player’s squad. Get the whole team blue and orange lids, or purple and black for example. Take team photos at the start of the season to showcase your squad colors.
Change Colors as They Grow
As kids outgrow helmets each year, changing colors keeps things fun and fresh. Go from a red helmet one season to blue or neon yellow the next. New colors help build excitement for getting new gear.
Add Stickers for Quick Change
Stickers offer an affordable way to quickly change up helmet style. Swap out existing stickers for new faves or cover blank spaces. This lets kids refresh the look without buying a new lid.
Unleash your kid’s inner artist by letting them design their own helmet graphics with markers, stickers or decals. Use paint pens to add numbers, names or fun shapes. Let them get creative with their gear.
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to customize your child’s hockey helmet with colors, graphics and touches that reflect their passion and personality. While always keeping safety top priority, a customized helmet boosts their confidence and excites them to hit the ice.
Maintaining and Caring For Your Child’s Helmet Properly
A youth hockey helmet only provides full protection if it’s properly maintained and cared for. Follow manufacturer guidelines and pro tips to keep your child’s helmet in peak condition all season long.
Clean and Sanitize Regularly
Clean the helmet liner and pads frequently with mild soap and water to prevent buildup of sweat, oils and grime that can degrade materials. Sanitize using approved hockey gear disinfectants. Replace worn pads for best fit and hygiene.
Avoid Chemicals and Solvents
Never use harsh cleaners, chemical solvents or abrasive pads on the helmet – they can damage protective foams. Heed any cleaning cautions from the manufacturer. Bleach and alcohol can degrade shell strength.
Check Chin Straps and Hardware
Inspect chin straps for fraying, tears or stretched out elastic. Replace damaged straps immediately. Check that metal buckles, clips and adjusters function properly and replace any with issues. Tighten any loose rivets or screws.
Examine Shell and Liner
Carefully inspect the outer shell and inner liner before each use for any cracks, dents or deterioration that could reduce protection. If damage is spotted, replace the helmet immediately.
Adjust and Tighten Properly
Make sure your child’s helmet is snugly fitted before each use. Check that sleeve, side, back or other adjusters are tightened appropriately. Chin straps should fit snugly under the chin. A loose helmet reduces protection.
Replace After Major Impacts
Any big hit requires immediate helmet replacement, as protective foams are crushed on impact and can’t provide equal protection again. Don’t take any chances – swap out for a new lid.
Don’t Apply Stickers or Paint
Paints, adhesives and some stickers can degrade helmet shell strength, so avoid DIY decorating. Use easy-to-remove decals instead if you want to personalize. Paint pens likewise weaken protection.
Use Proper Storage Conditions
Always store helmets in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight when not in use. The heat and UV exposure from the sun can accelerate deterioration of shells and foam liners over time.
Retire Old Helmets Promptly
As helmet materials degrade naturally over time, don’t keep using prior years’ helmets once past their useful life. Follow manufacturers’ guidelines on when to retire worn gear for your child’s safety.
Taking proper care of your child’s hockey helmet ensures it provides reliable impact protection all season long. Simple regular maintenance checks, cleaning and component replacements as needed will keep their helmet in top shape to withstand the rigors of youth hockey play.
When to Replace Your Youth Hockey Helmet for Maximum Protection
To keep your child safe on the ice, it’s crucial to know when it’s time to swap out their old helmet for a new one. Hockey helmets degrade over time and use, so follow these tips to identify when replacement is needed.
After Any Major Impact
The first big rule is to immediately replace any helmet that sustains a major blow. Hard impacts crush the protective foam liners irreversibly. The compromised foam can’t absorb the next impact, so err on the side of safety with a new lid.
Check Expiration Dates
Hockey helmets contain materials that degrade over time. Most have expiration dates stamped inside indicating when they should be retired. If there’s no expiration date, plan to replace after no more than 5-7 years of use.
Inspect for Damage
Carefully examine inner and outer parts of the helmet regularly. Look for cracks, deep scratches, fraying, buckle damage or any pieces breaking off. These structural issues mean replacement time.
Ensure Proper Fit
An older helmet worn as kids grow may become too loose to stay firmly in place during play. A helmet that shifts excessively needs replacing, as proper snug fit is lost.
Upgrade After Rule Changes
Hockey associations sometimes increase safety standards, causing new helmets to be designed accordingly. If your child’s helmet is outdated per current rules, an upgrade is likely due.
Swap Out Due to Wear and Tear
Normal wear and tear including lots of scratches, dings or deteriorating shell materials indicates a helmet that should be retired. Performance and materials break down over time.
Don’t Use Siblings’ Hand-Me-Downs
Never use older siblings’ outgrown helmets. Older helmets worn again do not provide the same level of protection. Get your young athlete a helmet sized just for them.
Replace to Get New Features
New helmets often add advanced features and materials. If your child’s helmet lacks innovations you want for their protection, an upgrade makes sense.
Swap for Hygienic Reasons
Replace worn comfort padding in older helmets regularly. However, after a few years, full replacement is best for hygiene and to maximize protection.
While it may seem wasteful, remember that youth hockey helmets are protective gear with a limited lifespan. Follow guidelines carefully and replace helmets at the first sign of deterioration or damage. Your child’s safety comes first.
Helmet Safety Standards to Ensure: CSA, HECC, ASTM/SEI
When buying a hockey helmet for your child, be sure to look for proof that the model meets key safety certification standards. While styles and features may differ across brands, respected certifications indicate reliable protective construction.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has rigorous standards for hockey helmets used in competition. CSA tests aspects like impact absorption, penetration resistance, strap strength, field of vision and more. A CSA sticker inside the helmet indicates it meets requirements.
What CSA Covers
For certification, CSA evaluates helmet abilities including: – Impact absorption from multiple angles – Shielding from penetration – Stability during wear – Visibility and clear sight lines – Chin strap durability – Ease of adjusting fit
CSA Standards Summary
Key specs per CSA hockey helmet standards include: – Drop impact tests from 3 ft. with less than 300g peak force – No penetration by a metal spike with up to 277 ft-lbs of force – Stable enough to stay on head during shaking – Clear sightlines without blocking peripheral vision – Chin straps that withstand 178 lbs of pull force
The Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) is an independent organization focused specifically on standards for hockey gear. Their certification means rigorous procedures were followed in helmet development and production.
What HECC Covers
HECC certification evaluations include: – Multi-impact protection from key angles – Durability during temperature/humidity changes – Strength of shell, liner, fasteners – Field of vision from eye openings – Projectile penetration resistance – Ability to stay on head when hit – Chin strap strength
HECC Standards Summary
Key HECC hockey helmet certification specs require: -Passing impact tests at 7 mph from multiple angles – Protection after 20 temperature cycles from -4 to 122 F degrees – No breakage of structural parts up to 150 ft-lbs force – Face opening minimum 9 inches horizontal – Withstanding 6.5 mph puck impacts – Staying on head when hit with 86 lbs from front, side, rear
ASTM International establishes voluntary technical standards for many products including sports helmets. The Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) tests and certifies equipment meets ASTM and other safety standards.
What ASTM/SEI Covers
ASTM/SEI certification assessments on hockey helmets cover aspects like: – Shock absorption from direct impacts – Shell penetration resistance – Chin strap strength/function – Field of vision from eye openings – High temperature operation – Hardware durability
ASTM/SEI Standards Summary
ASTM/SEI hockey helmet requirements include: – Predictable impact absorption levels during lab drop testing – No penetration to inner liner from 1 kg weighted spike dropped from 2m height – Chin straps that remain fastened after 220 lbs pull test – Face opening minimum 5 inches vertical by 10 inches horizontal – Performance after exposure for 4-6 hours to temperatures up to 115°F – Durable shell, seams, rivets that don’t crack under pressure
Following CSA, HECC and ASTM/SEI standards ensures hockey helmets provide excellent protection. When buying for your child, look for respected certifications over flashy features or discounts.
Trying On Helmets in Person for Comfort and Fit
While it may be tempting to simply order hockey helmets online to save time, it’s strongly recommended to have your child try on helmets in person. Proper fit and comfort are crucial for protection, and trying helmets at the store ensures the best match.
Head Size Varies
Kids’ head sizes can vary a lot in the same age range. Generic size charts are useful starting points, but the best way to get the right fit is to physically try on helmets. Each style and brand fits slightly differently.
Head Shape Matters
Beyond raw head circumference, factors like head shape, ear placement and profile affect ideal helmet fit. Helmet liners are designed around generalized head shapes. Trying helmets on allows you to find the most natural shape match.
Test Comfort and Pressure Points
No matter how safe a helmet might be, if it’s uncomfortable your child will resist wearing it. Trying helmets on lets kids test comfort factors like liner feel, ear coverage, and potential pressure points before buying.
Adjust and Tighten Properly
It takes hands-on adjusting to ensure a snug helmet fit. Things like rotating forward, tightening rear adjusters, aligning ear covers and customizing internal padding are only possible when physically present.
Chin Strap Should Fit Snug
A chin strap that seems too loose or tight in the store likely means that helmet size isn’t optimal. Trying helmets provides the chance to properly position and adjust chin straps for just the right snug fit.
Assess Vision and Visibility
Trying helmets on lets kids test unobstructed peripheral vision and ensure the eye opening allows good sight lines. Viewing capabilities can vary quite a bit between helmet models and sizes.
See Graphics and Colors in Person
While kids may fall for flashy colors and graphics online, seeing designs firsthand helps set realistic expectations. On-shelf visualization also helps select colors for high visibility on the ice.
Consult Sales Associates
In-store sales associates often have specialized product and fitting knowledge. They can suggest brands, styles and sizes based on your child’s needs and proportion factors. Their expertise can prove invaluable.
Making the small effort to visit a store and try on hockey helmets yields big returns in terms of fit, comfort, safety and performance. Don’t rely on guesswork – be hands-on to find the right helmet match.
Boys vs. Girls Hockey Helmet Features and Sizing
When buying youth hockey helmets, keep in mind that helmet needs and fits often differ between boys and girls. The best helmets account for girls’ distinct proportions, athletic characteristics and safety priorities.
Girls tend to have smaller heads on average than boys of the same age. Many brands offer helmet sizing down to 6.5” circumference for girls vs. 7” for boys. Trying on helmets is still recommended, as head size varies individually.
Adjustment Options Matter
With smaller sizes, having more adjustment options helps customize fit for girls. Opt for helmets with adjustable interior padding, multiple snap positions, and adjustable rear sizing for the best snug fit.
Prioritize Secure Chin Straps
A chin strap that fits poorly can be distracting. Look for girls’ helmets with adjustable length straps and snap positions to get a tight chin cup fit. Properly fitted straps keep the helmet securely in place.
Focus on Sleeker Profile
Many girls prefer helmets with a smooth, low-profile rounded shell rather than the aggressive styling of boys’ models. Sleeker helmets also pair better with women’s hockey hair styles.
Opt for Lighter Weight
Due to smaller average neck strength, lighter helmets are ideal for girls to reduce strain. Leading girls’ models use impact-absorbing foams to cut weight while retaining protection.
Consider Visibility Needs
Bright colors like white or light blue make girls more visible on the crowded co-ed ice. Girls models also avoid dark tinted cage bars that can reduce sightlines for small players.
Manage Long Hair
Many girls tuck long hair into the nape opening when playing. Try larger “ponytail openings” and smooth inner shell edges that won’t catch or pull hair when putting on the helmet.
Accent with Custom Graphics
Many girls enjoy customizing helmets with sparkles, flowers and unique designs reflecting their personal style. Opt for a model that offers fun graphic options.
The ideal hockey helmet offers a fused fit, visibility, and comfort. Seek gender-specific features and sizing to give your young female player the best protection and confidence on the ice.
Prioritizing Your Child’s Preferences Within Your Budget
Finding the ideal hockey helmet for your child involves balancing safety, fit, features and cost. While staying within your budget, here are some tips to factor in your young player’s preferences.
Style and Looks Matter
Kids care about how gear looks, so involve them in picking colors and designs. Offer a few style options in your budget so they feel part of the process. This gets them excited to wear it.
Favorite Brand Counts
Like pros, kids become attached to brands. Consider stretching your budget a little to get their top choice brand. Ensure it still meets safety certifications and fit needs.
Graphics Personalize It
Pre-designed graphics or custom options make a helmet uniquely theirs. Within budget, look for ways kids can personalize the look such as adding their number or nickname.
Kids’ opinions on color matter – as long as brightness and visibility are considered too. Guide them to colors that stand out on the ice but that they find cool.
Comfort is Key
No helmet works if it’s uncomfortable. Involve kids in trying on helmets and getting the fit right. Ensure any style they prefer maintains secure adjustability and comfort.
Used Gear Can Work
Gently used helmets that meet safety specs significantly reduce costs. Kids may prefer used gear that allows you to afford a style or brand they really want.
Cage vs. Shield Preference
Some kids strongly favor cage or shield face protection. If budget allows, factor in their desired face cover style.
Consider Growing Room
If your child is on the cusp of sizing, they may favor a helmet with fit room they can “grow into” a bit to maximize use. But ensure proper fit now.
Involve Them in Decisions
Talk helmets, try on options, and explain your budget. They’ll often understand financial limits if part of the decision process. Compromise if needed.
Your child feeling positive about their hockey helmet choice will make them more compliant wearing it. Balancing their opinions with budget, fit and safety priorities takes communication – but is worth it.
Integrated vs. Cage Facemasks: Pros and Cons for Youth
Selecting protective face gear for your child’s hockey helmet involves deciding between integrated visors or traditional full cages. Understanding key differences helps pick the best option.
Integrated visors combine the mask and helmet in a single molded piece. Pros include excellent visibility, reduced weight, and a sleek style kids love. Cons are less full-face protection and rotation risks on big impacts.
Traditional cage masks attach to helmets separately. Pros are full facial coverage, proven durability, and rotation resistance. Cons are potential visibility impediments and a bulky feel/style.
Cages protect more facial area including mouth, chin and even neck. Integrated visors leave lower parts of the face exposed. Visors can still cover eyes, nose and upper cheeks.
Tinted polycarbonate visors typically offer better optics and peripheral vision over wire cages. But some cages are optimized for visibility too. Visors fog more easily during play.
Separate cages allow more custom helmet fitting since mask and helmet adjustments are independent. Integrated visors require concurrent adjustment.
Cages fit most helmet models from various brands. Integrated visors are designed for specific helmet makes and may not be interchangeable.
Cages are proven to resist helmet rotation forces on impacts slightly better. But both offer robust protection when properly fitted.
Open cages allow more airflow. Visors can heat up and fog more during intense play. Newer visor models feature improved ventilation.
Styling and Appearance
Sleek visors have aggressive, “pro” styling many kids find cooler. Cages have a traditional bulky “old school” look.
Integrated visors are lighter than traditional cages, reducing neck strain. But modern cage designs have lessened weight gaps.
For most young recreational players, cage masks remain ideal for full protection. But new integrated visor tech makes them another safe option parents can consider.
Helmet Accessories: Ear Covers, Visors, Cages, and More
Today’s hockey helmets offer a range of add-on components to enhance protection, visibility and comfort. Here are some key accessories to consider when outfitting your young player’s new lid.
Helmet ear covers help cushion impacts to this sensitive area. They also keep ears warmer in cold rinks. Make sure ear pads have slots if your child wears hearing aids during play.
Full cages protect the entire face while allowing ventilation and visibility. Stick with HECC/CSA certified cages from reputable brands that withstand impacts and resist rotation.
Tinted polycarbonate visors offer excellent vision but less facial coverage than cages. Visors fog more easily during play. Anti-fog treatments and airflow vents on some models reduce fogging.
Clear polycarbonate splash guards attach to cages to prevent mouth or eye injuries from sticks, pucks and skate blades entering the mask. Ensure they don’t obstruct sight lines.
Tinted pull-down sun visors that attach to cages reduce glare from bright arena lights. Visible blue tints work well indoors. Make sure visaors easily flip up when entering dark game zones.
Some helmets allow swapping thin stock chin straps for thicker “chin cup” straps. Chin cups provide more comfort and better grip inside masks during play.
Sticky fabric skins allow applying graphics over a helmet for quick custom looks. They easily remove without residue. Ensure skins don’t obstruct vent holes.
Pre-cut sticker kits let kids decorate blank helmets with numbers, logos or creative designs for individual style. Switch designs each season for something new.
Tinted Shield Lenses
Aftermarket tinted shield lenses make bubble visors usable in bright conditions. Blue mirrored or amber lenses provide glare reduction while maintaining visibility.
Upgraded Facemask Clips
Plastic clips securing cages to helmets can crack over time. Upgraded aluminum or steel clips add durability. Some meet HECC standards for competition.
Enhance fit, visibility and style with compatible helmet accessories from reputable brands. But don’t overload with add-ons that could impact safety in any way.
Teaching Your Child Proper Helmet Safety On and Off the Ice
Buying the right helmet is only part of the battle – you also need to teach your young player good helmet habits. Reinforce proper wear and care to ensure their helmet provides maximum protection.
Lead by Example
Have your child watch you correctly put on, adjust, fasten and take off your own helmet. Describe what you’re doing and why as you demonstrate good technique. Kids learn best by example.
Snug Chin Strap
Explain how a chin strap holds the helmet stable during falls and hits. Instruct them to pull straps snugly under the chin every time. Check strap tightness yourself as part of equipment checks.
Teach your player to set the helmet straight on their head with the front just above the eyebrows. They should pull their hair back away from eyes and strap snaps. Kids often rush helmet positioning.
Make sure your child knows how to tweaker their unique fit – things like adjustable interior pads, rear snaps, removable comfort foams and rotating dials. Confirm adjustments before each ice session.
No Lifting or Removing
Remind kids never to take their helmet off during practice or games. Explain it protects their head even when play is stopped. Strictly enforce this vital rule.
Care During Transport
Teach your player to carry (not wear) their helmet using the chin strap when in transit so it doesn’t fall and suffer unseen damage. Kids often absentmindedly swing helmets around.
Proper Storage Conditions
Instruct your child to store their helmet in a safe, dry area away from direct sunlight and excessive heat that could degrade components.
Avoid Helmet Impacts
Tell kids not to “test out” their helmet by bumping heads, hitting it, dropping it or throwing it. The foam liner compresses slightly on every impact.
Personal Helmet Only
Due to hygiene and sanitation, teach your player not to loan out or swap helmets with teammates. Using only their personal helmet ensures proper fit.
Consistently communicating good helmet habits makes your young athlete an expert at maximizing their most important piece of protective gear.