In North Carolina all riders under the age of 16 are required to wear protective headgear.
In addition, the law places responsibility upon parents or legal guardians of the minors.
Here is the relevant statute (edited):
§ 20‑171.9. Requirements for helmet and restraining seat use.
With regard to any bicycle used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public right‑of‑way:
(a) It shall be unlawful for any parent or legal guardian of a person below the age of 16 to knowingly permit that person to operate or be a passenger on a bicycle unless at all times when the person is so engaged he or she wears a protective bicycle helmet of good fit fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any parent or legal guardian of a person below the age of 16 to knowingly permit that person to be a passenger on a bicycle unless all of the following conditions are met:
- The person is able to maintain an erect, seated position on the bicycle.
- Except as provided in subdivision (3) of this subsection, the person is properly seated alone on a saddle seat (as on a tandem bicycle).
- With respect to any person who weighs less than 40 pounds, or is less than 40 inches in height, the person can be and is properly seated in and adequately secured to a restraining seat.
Violation of this section is an infraction in North Carolina.
An infraction is a noncriminal violation of law not punishable by imprisonment.
Unless otherwise provided by law, the sanction for a person found responsible for an infraction is a penalty of not more than one hundred dollars ( $100.00).
The proceeds of penalties for infractions are payable to the county in which the infraction occurred for the use of the public schools.
In the case of a first conviction for violation of this law, the court may waive the fine upon receipt of satisfactory proof that the person responsible for the infraction has purchased or otherwise obtained, as appropriate, a protective bicycle helmet or a restraining seat, and uses and intends to use it whenever required under this section.