Note July 2010: The Bell Boomerang has been discontinued. Reviewers say the Bell Boomerang is the best bike helmet for toddlers. It gets the highest score in one independent crash test for its superior head protection, and the stretchy interior helps ensure a snug fit. Even though it's a bit expensive for a toddler bike helmet, both experts and parents have good feedback on the Bell Boomerang. There are only eight vents, so this helmet only receives fair ratings for ventilation. In addition, the rear of the helmet protrudes slightly, which prevents children from leaning their head back in a stroller or bike trailer. Some parents posting to online review sites say this annoys their children. The Bell Boomerang fits head sizes between 18.5 inches and 20.5 inches in circumference; if your toddler has a very small head, check out the Specialized Small Fry. This helmet accommodates heads as small as 17.25 inches in its toddler version.
The best comparative review of the Bell Boomerang comes from ConsumerReports.org. In their detailed test, they evaluate the helmet on impact absorption, fit, ventilation and ease of use. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute also provides a brief overview of the Bell Boomerang toddler helmet. There are not very many owner-written reviews available, but a few parents leave feedback at Amazon.com.
ConsumerReports.org is the most thorough reviewer we found of bike helmets. Although their coverage of adult bike helmets is severely out of date, this recent report on kids' helmets covers more than a dozen models, with ratings for impact absorption, fit and ease of use. The Bell Boomerang is one of three toddler helmets under scrutiny.
Review: Kid & toddler bike helmets, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, July 2009
2. Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute
The Bell Boomerang has a rounded profile that resembles adult helmets -- analysts at BHSI say this is the best type of design, with fewer sharp edges that could snag in a crash. The soft foam visor and pinch-proof buckle are also highlighted.
Review: Bicycle Helmets for the 2009 Season, Editors of Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, June 27, 2009
3. Bicycling Magazine
This quick review praises the Bell Boomerang for fit, a pinch-proof buckle and safety certifications, but editors note that kids might be tempted to peel off the helmet's shell.
Review: Bell Boomerang Helmet Reviews, Editors of Bicycling magazine
More than 15 parents have commented on the Bell Boomerang. While a few think it is a great helmet, others say it's too small for toddlers under a year old and the no-pinch buckle did occasionally pinch.
Review: Bell Boomerang Infant/Toddler Bike Helmet Reviews, Contributors to Amazon.com
The one review here notes that the pinch-proof buckle doesn't work as advertised, but that the padding and fit system are good.
Review: Bell Boomerang Pro -- Infant/Toddler Helmet Reviews, Contributors to MTBR.com