A good quality helmet that is much easier to adjust than other helmets.
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: One of our favorite "budget" helmets, the Noodle is well built, easy to use, and often sells for under $20.
SIZE: 47 – 52 cm
ADJUSTMENT SYSTEM: Dial-adjust
47 – 52 cm
|Number of Vents||
Child (18 mo. – 4 yr.)
|Internal Adjustment System||
Pros & Cons
- Great quality for the price
- One of the lightest helmets on the market
- Adjustable-fit dial for easy adjustments and a snug fit
- Internal pad is one piece - less likely to get lost!
- Excellent ventilation
- Incorporated visor to protect eyes and face
- Dual-colored buckle makes buckling easier
- Hardshell construction isn't as durable over time
The Joovy Noodle may be a basic, affordable helmet, but it’s one of our favorites for toddlers and young pre-schoolers. With many features not typically found on the typical budget helmet, the Noodle is well built and particularly easy to get a great fit on your child. It also features high-quality, sweat-wicking pads that are a sweet upgrade from any other pads we’ve seen on a toddler-sized helmet.
Coverage and Size
The Joovy Noodle comes in two different sizes – Small (47 – 52 cm) and Medium (52 – 56 cm). We used the small for this review. There are very few helmets that are CPSC 1+ certified, and the Joovy Noodle is one of them. CPSC 1+ helmets have extended coverage to offer extra protection that can be especially beneficial for 1-year-olds and young toddlers.
But while the Noodle is CPSC 1+ certified and wildly popular for toddlers, be sure to measure your child’s head circumference before you order. The Joovy’s (size small) minimum head circumference is 47 cm, but we have seen a few little ones with heads as small as 44 or 45 cm.
For example, when my daughter turned 1 year old, her head circumference was 45 cm, which placed her in the 50th percentile for head size. The Noodle was too big for her at the time, but the XS Giro Scamp with a range of 45 – 49 cm, was a great fit. As she’s about to turn 2, her head circumference is now 47.5 cm, allowing the Noodle to fit snuggly and safely on her head.
Just remember that head size and helmet fit is very kid-specific. There will be 1-year-olds that fit great in the Noodle. There will also be kids that won’t fit until months or years later. Always be sure to measure your child’s head before you buy.
Joovy Noodle on 2 and 3 Year Olds
While the Noodle offers plenty of rear coverage, the helmet is a little bulky and pointed in the back. This is very common for many helmets and is not an issue if the helmet is being used exclusively for a child riding a bike.
However, because the helmet does not have a “flat back”, it’s less suitable for use in a trailer or child bike seat. A flat back prevents the back of the child’s head from being pushed forward, which can lead to an uncomfortable ride, and can also be unsafe if it shifts the helmet forward on your child’s head.
If you do plan on riding with a trailer or bike seat, the Noodle may still be an option depending on the design of your trailer or seat. With a bike seat, if the seat has a swooped upper back to allow for space for a child’s helmet, the Noodle should work just fine.
With a bike trailer, check to see if the trailer has a loose, rear mesh panel along the back seat of the trailer. This allows a helmet to recess into the back of the seat.
If you’re unsure, you could also consider a helmet with a flatter back (like the Giro Scamp) for use in a trailer or seat.
As you can see below (on the left), the Noodle’s pointed back touches the back of the child bike seat. This particular seat (Bellelli Pepe) has minimal space for a helmet, compared to other child bike seats like the Thule RideAlong Lite.
In the image on the right, you can see that the Noodle would be an issue in that trailer if it didn’t have the loose mesh behind it. It could also be a problem as the child grows taller than the mesh backing.
The dial-adjust system on the Joovy Noodle is on par with any of the higher-end systems we’ve used. It’s actually easier to use than some.
The beauty of the Noodle’s dial-adjust knob is that it is set much lower on the helmet, and therefore significantly easier to reach. Even when wrestling a squirming toddler, the knob is easily accessible and can quickly be adjusted to ensure a snug fit.
As a comparison, the dial-adjust on the Giro Scamp it set up higher on the helmet, much closer to the foam core. Reaching the knob requires you to reach up, and slightly inside, the helmet to turn the knob. While slight, it’s just enough to make the Scamp harder to adjust than the Noodle.
Joovy Noodle vs. Giro Scamp’s Dial-Adjust
Side Straps, Chin Strap, and Buckle
Beyond the dial-adjust, the chin straps of a helmet are essential to adjust to ensure a properly fitted helmet for your child.
To keep a helmet properly positioned on a child’s head, the front and rear side straps on both sides of the helmets should be adjusted so that they come together to form a “V” at the base of the child’s ear. The “V” shape of the straps on the Noodle is a bit wider than is standard. While we’ve found that the helmet still stays in place well, it is a little more difficult to set them correctly the first time. Like with any helmet the front or rear straps will likely need to be fed through the black plastic slider in order to properly position the “V”.
The Noodle comes with a chin strap pad, but it’s really too long to be useful for most kids wearing this helmet. With the pad being 3″ in length, the chin strap has to be adjusted pretty long for the pad to fit over it without covering the buckle. We just ended up taking it off.
The buckle on the Noodle is also parent-friendly as it is dual-colored, with one side red and the other black. As a result, the buckle is much easier to spot and check to ensure it is properly secured. It’s little details like these that we really appreciate. Anything to make putting a helmet on a toddler easier is a win in our book!
The internal pads on the Joovy Noodle are hands-down the best pads we’ve seen in a toddler helmet. For the price point, we were honestly a little blown away.
Beginning with the material – they are high-quality, sport performance fabric that wicks sweat away. And although that feature alone would put these pads in a category of their own, here’s another parent win: the primary pad system is one piece.
Why does this matter? Toddlers rip pads out of helmets all the time. And then you can’t find them when you need them! This large, single pad is much more difficult for a toddler to remove. And because it’s much larger, the chances of it getting lost are pretty low if your child does manage to rip it out.
There is a second, smaller pad in the rear of the helmet that’s attached to the dial-adjust. Most helmets don’t have padding for the rear of the head, so there’s another point for the Joovy Noodle!
Pads on Joovy Noodle vs. Bell Sidetrack
Construction, Vents, & Visor
Weight: At 224 grams, the Joovy Noodle is one of the lightest helmets on the market. The lightweight Giro Scamp, by comparison, is 232 grams. This helmet is easy for a young child to wear and still be able to control their neck and head movements, as was demonstrated in all of our testers.
Construction: Hardshell helmets have a solid foam piece covered by a plastic shell that’s glued/taped into place. We don’t prefer hardshell helmets because the plastic covers tend to crack, warp, or just come unglued over time. They also usually have much more exposed foam, which can get damaged more easily.
As a comparison, in-mold helmets (like the Scamp and Sidetrack) are specially constructed to allow the foam core and outer shell to be molded together. As one piece, in-mold helmets are much more durable as well as more expensive.
Vents: The Joovy Noodle is one of the best ventilated helmets on the market! With 14 vents, we can’t guarantee your child’s head won’t sweat, but it’s going to be a much better situation than most other helmets with just six to eight vents.
Visor: A built-in visor is a nice-to-have feature for protecting little eyes from the sun. However, it’s a must-have feature for protecting foreheads and faces from face plants. This little 23-month-old was recently walking on her balance bike, but managed to fall over and tumble face first into a jagged rock wall. The visor of her helmet prevented any part of her head or face from making contact with the wall. In this mom’s opinion, a built-in visor is a must for little ones.
The Joovy Noodle is in a unique category because its features are sometimes basic, but sometimes high-end. When it’s on sale (often for just $16 or $17), it’s an insane bang for your buck and you should buy it immediately! At its normal selling price of around $30, it’s a quality helmet that won’t disappoint, but there are other better-quality helmets in that price range. The $35 Giro Scamp, for example, has durable, in-mold construction, a flat back, and a less bulky design.
To view a full selection of helmets for babies and toddlers, check out our 10 Best Helmets for Babies and Toddlers page.