Recreational Helmets

November 07, 2006

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff is participating in voluntary standards activities related to recreational helmets and headgear. Staff is participating in ASTM F08.53 Headgear Subcommittee activities to develop requirements and guidelines for recreational helmets. The subcommittee currently maintains several standards for headgear/helmets for a variety of sports, including biking and mountain biking, roller skating, skateboarding, snow sports, baseball, football, and soccer.


In 1994, Congress directed CPSC to develop a mandatory safety standard for bike helmets to replace multiple voluntary standards. Beginning in February 1999, all bike helmets manufactured or imported for sale in the United States are required to meet a federal safety standard set by CPSC. The standard ensures that bike helmets adequately protect the head and that chin straps will be strong enough to prevent the helmet from coming off in a crash, collision or fall. In addition, the standard requires that helmets intended for children up to age five cover more of the head to provide added protection to the more fragile areas of a young child's head. Bicycle helmets must also carry a label stating that they meet CPSC's safety standard.  


Additional Information

Safety Alerts:

 - CPSC Urges Bicyclists to Wear Helmets (pdf)

Incident Data:

 - Consumer Product Safety Review - Fall 2005 (pdf)

- National Bike Helmet Use Survey

- Consumer Product Safety Review - Winter 2003 (pdf)


Voluntary Standard and Code Activities:

 - ASTM Headgear and Helmets Subcommittee meeting (pdf), November 10-12, 2004

- Staff Request for a Task Group to develop an ASTM voluntary standard for head impact sensors (pdf)

CPSC Staff Reports, Memoranda and Contracts:

 - Which Helmet for Which Activity (pdf)

- Hazard Screening Report: Sports Activities and Equipment (Excluding Major Team Sports) (pdf)

Mandatory Standards:

 - Safety Standard for Bicycle Helmets; Final Rule 16 CFR Part 1203 (pdf)


ASTM International

 - For further information concerning standards for recreational helmets and headgear, contact Katharine Morgan at or ASTM International at

Contact CPSC

 - For additional information or to comment, please contact

- Join a voluntary standards Email Subscription List