What age is safe for a baby in a bike seat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I'm considering getting one of those child bike seats that attaches to my bike behind my seat for Emily. She's almost 7 months old and sitting pretty well on her own. I have a Burley trailer that DS goes in and I'd like to start riding him to school instead of driving but I think baby is too small to sit in a trailer (plus the one we have is only big enough for one child). School is 2.5 miles from home and there are quiet side streets and bike paths the whole way there so the only time we'd be on busy streets is just crossing them at intersections. I'm thinking this would be a good way to get some exercise since I'm having trouble fitting it into my day with baby still napping 3 times.
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#2 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 10:24 PM
 
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Well, the trailers are much safer. Some of them even have inserts that you can buy and add for smaller babies.

That said, DD loved her bike seat. I think that if you're going to use one the main criteria to make it as safe as possible is that the harness fits properly and the helmet fits correctly (and you already said that your DD is sitting up.)

Have fun!
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#3 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 10:30 PM
 
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A lot depends on getting a proper fitting helmet. If you have that, and the baby can sit up fine, then the baby is old enough.
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#4 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 10:39 PM
 
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I'm not sure if it's safe. I read that it wasn't safe until 12 mos, because the jolting of the bike can hurt their little brains. I would look into it more. My daughter didn't like the bike seat until approx 18 mos.

I do know Chariot trailers have infant inserts.
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#5 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 10:44 PM
 
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I didn't realize that they were safe at all. What happens if you crash?

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#6 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 11:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slabobbin
I didn't realize that they were safe at all. What happens if you crash?
Well it's a continuum. By that logic, cars aren't safe either, coz what happens if you crash?

I take my daughter everywhere on a bike seat. I'm comfortable with the degree of safety.
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#7 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 11:51 PM
 
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Yeah, I felt nervous about the idea of a crashing on a bike, until I realized the same could happen with a car...

I'm hoping to get a bike seat for my baby too, and shes 13 months old.

I don't like the bike trailers, actually.... I don't like how they're enclosed and so low to the ground. That said, I've never actually tried using one.... but I prefer the infant seat on the bike.
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#8 of 28 Old 02-13-2006, 11:59 PM
 
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We were told by some bike safety experts that a babe needs to be at least 12mo in order for a helmet to fit properly and the body to be developed enough to hold a head with a helmet on it. DS started in a trailer around 15mo. He didn't really like it. This past summer, around 26mo he liked both the seat and the trailer.

good luck!
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#9 of 28 Old 02-14-2006, 12:03 AM
 
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On helmets, I got a great Louis Garneau helmet for her. It was spendy - about $50 Canadian, but it has a wheel inside that makes it infinitely adjustable. So it fit her at 12 mos, and it still fits her at almost 2.5. And it stays on. We got it at a bike shop. Well worth it!
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#10 of 28 Old 02-14-2006, 12:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moochie Mamma
I'm not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I'm considering getting one of those child bike seats that attaches to my bike behind my seat for Emily. She's almost 7 months old and sitting pretty well on her own. I have a Burley trailer that DS goes in and I'd like to start riding him to school instead of driving but I think baby is too small to sit in a trailer (plus the one we have is only big enough for one child). School is 2.5 miles from home and there are quiet side streets and bike paths the whole way there so the only time we'd be on busy streets is just crossing them at intersections. I'm thinking this would be a good way to get some exercise since I'm having trouble fitting it into my day with baby still napping 3 times.
Oh, about 12 or 15.

Years.
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#11 of 28 Old 02-14-2006, 07:08 AM
 
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I had this problem lasty year, most of the bike seats I found said from 6 or 9 months but things I read online (sorry I don't have links anymore) said that before 12 months the bouncing around was too much for them. In the end we couldn't find a helmet that fit before 12 months so we started then with some short journeys.

I seem to remember reading that the way that the seat attached to the bike made a difference in how much the baby gets jolted. I think the ones that fasten onto a luggage rack over the back wheel were worse than the ones that have a bracket that attaches below the saddle. Again I've lost all my links so maybe someone else can confirm or deny
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#12 of 28 Old 02-14-2006, 10:25 AM
 
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12 monthes. I talked to out ped and another dr. when my ds was a baby. THey said it was because the spine can not absorb the shock from the bouncing movement and can cause serious back damage. I think this could lead to problems with supporting the head.

An alternative- you can put children under one in an infant car seat in a trailer. Ask the people at your bike shop to help you arrange the set up.

Last spring, summer and fall we rode our bikes all over town and I towed the dc in a tailer together. I was amazed they did not hurt each other and they preferred it to the car. I quit for awhile after getting a chest cold and have not had the stamina to tow in the cold and ice. I really miss riding and look forward to warmer weather.
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#13 of 28 Old 02-14-2006, 12:46 PM
 
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We started dd at around 11 months....that is when a helmet started to fit properly. We have the type of kid's seat that goes in front of the driver. I like that because I can keep an eye on her. It said 8+ months but I felt dd was too floppy st that age. Plus the helmet thing. Now that dd is 2.5, we are going to switch to either a trailer or a behind the seat setup. She is so big now that it is hard for me to get my arms around her to reach the handle bars. And she likes to "help" me switch gears.... That will be a problem because now I can have a backpack on which makes errands easier. I will have to look into a front basket or something.

CB - Why 12-15 years? I don't think bike riding is statistically any more dangerous than car travel even with all of the safety devices.
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#14 of 28 Old 02-15-2006, 09:26 AM
 
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I used both a bike seat (mounted on the frame, not the rack) & a trailer when cycling with my kids when they we younger. When I had only one child, I used the seat from about 11 or 12 months, I think. I didn't know about the neck/back thing, tbh, it's just that she was too small to fit into the seat properly up to that point. I cycled with her in the seat until I was about 7 months pregnant or so with DS. After he was born, I took a break from cycling because I couldn't really work out how to solve the 2 small children on one bike problem- I missed riding a lot!! But then at some point I learned about bike trailers- from Mothering Mag, actually, now that I think about it.....

I think DS was about 15 months & DD was 3 1/2 when I bought the trailer..... one of the best buys I've ever made, imo. I used that alone until dd finished preschool when she was 5 1/2. When she went into Year 1, I mostly used the car- in part because life was chaotic & horrible with me being an uni full-time that year, & also because she was still unable to ride her bike without training wheels.

When DD started year 2, she started riding her own bike to school (on the footpath, not the busy road!). DS rode in the old bike seat for that year (his pre-school year). He knew how to ride a bike without training wheels at that time, but I was too scared to try riding with two kids on two separate bicycles. Plus with DS in the bikeseat for a year, I was able to teach DD one-on-one the way to ride safely, & so I now feel I don't have to watch her every move on the bike..... With the new school year just starting, I'm finally game enough to ride with each kid on their own bike. And it's been pretty okay so far.... and we'll get better at it, & faster, as we gain more experience riding together on 3 bikes.

It's been a long & varied path to getting my children fully mobile on bicycles in their small city environment. But it's been well-worth all the lessons & effort....

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#15 of 28 Old 02-15-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama
Well it's a continuum. By that logic, cars aren't safe either, coz what happens if you crash?

I take my daughter everywhere on a bike seat. I'm comfortable with the degree of safety.

I think the risk is MUCH higher than in a car. It's like comparing a car to a motorcycle. Unless your car is a convertible that is. There isn't anything to protect your child's body in a crash on a bicycle. How old is your son? Is there a bike seat that would work for him? Is he old enough to ride his bike alongside you? So that the baby can be in the trailor?

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#16 of 28 Old 02-15-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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Hi at our shop the official age is 12 months for bike seat or trailer.

the back of the bike seat is not safe. not only is there the whole what if you crash , which is far more dangerous and far more likely than crashing your car in so many ways. it is very bad for thier back as they are directly over the rear hub and thier spines absorb all the shock of the rear wheel. All that said, they should be able to sit up with a helmet (ANSI and ASTM certified for saftey- go to a bike shop and get one with "universal fit") without thier head tipping forward or exerianceing fatigue. Look for one with a 5pt harness and recess for the back of the helmet, foot rest and wheel guard. Look at spending $80-$150 for a good seat. If you have a single trailer already I would sell it (burleys have a very good resale value and get a double with the mmoney you are looking at spending on a good seat.)

About the 12 month thing, think car seats. your baby doesn't sit forward facing until a year and they should, for the same reasons in in any vehicle including a bike. Youmay only pedal at about 10 miles per hour but oncwe a car hits you the impact force willbe about the same or greater. There is only one trailer wth a rear fcing infant insert (chariot) and that is the only one recommended for children under a year.

another option is a mid mounted top tube child seat (companion carrier) but your kids has to be able to sit up well with reasonable balance and upper body control. they sit between your leg and arms (you offer some stability but they can't recline or lean ) the benifits are that if you have to bail you can take them with you, thier spine is not over a wheel and it doesn't change your center of balance making it less likely you will fall. However you do have to be constantly aware of your passenger and keep them on the seat.

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#17 of 28 Old 02-16-2006, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the info everyone- I think I'll just keep walking for now and put off biking with her until she's quite a bit older. Sounds just too scary!
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#18 of 28 Old 02-16-2006, 09:16 AM
 
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Oh, please don't be scared off riding bikes with your kids!!! It's good fun, I promise!! It just sounds like you need to wait a bit longer until your DD is old enough to go in a seat or trailer. At that stage, your Ds may be confident enough to ride on his own bike whilst you have the baby on the bike with you. (this is dependant on the roads/bike paths where you live, of course!)

I have never had a crash with the bike seat (touch wood), but i did tip the trailer over once when I clipped a kerb after taking a corner too fast. Thank god it only had groceries in it at the time! But i did almost give a heart attack to the poor old lady who saw the whole scene from her chair on her front verandah. I had to jump up quickly & shout 'Don't worry! It's only milk & bread!' Also, when riding, I teach my kids to assume that every car can't see you, so you have to do everything to avoid them. I teach them which ways to look at every crossing, & insist that they stop & check for cars at every driveway when we are on the footpath. DD has clued into the fact that if the gates are closed, then she only has to look toward the road for potential cars. (therefore, she only has to slow down at these driveways.... according to her anyway! ) And I expect it will take many more years of mama's escort & teaching service before I feel comfortable turning them loose on their own.

Anyway, that's enough from me! I'm a bit of a bike freak, can ya tell?? :

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#19 of 28 Old 02-16-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers
I think the risk is MUCH higher than in a car. It's like comparing a car to a motorcycle. Unless your car is a convertible that is. There isn't anything to protect your child's body in a crash on a bicycle. How old is your son? Is there a bike seat that would work for him? Is he old enough to ride his bike alongside you? So that the baby can be in the trailor?

-Heather
Every 13 minutes a death is caused by a motor vehicle accident (http://www.car-accidents.net/car-accident-stats.html)

An average of 16.5 cyclists per million die every year in the U.S. (For motorists, it's 22.3 motorists per million.) (National Safety Council 1988)

I would think that speed is a huge factor making cars and motorcycles much more dangerous. Plus when a car crashes, all that 'stuff' that you'd think would protect you becomes a trap to crush and mangle...I would think that it would be much better to be thrown clear with a helmet on than be stuck inside a flaming chunk of steel wrapped around a tree (ok...maybe I pay too much attention to the 6:00 news....)

Also, when you are on a bike you are much more agile and able to avoid accidents in the first place.
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#20 of 28 Old 02-16-2006, 03:02 PM
 
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this is an interesting thread. I love to bike and have been eagerly awaiting this summer when dd will be old enough (12-16 months) to go in our Chariot trailer. We understood that it was unsafe before 12 months even with the infant insert. I have weighed the risks of biking in the same way some others have and feel v. comfortable in our very bike friendly city.
Now after reading this thread, I'm a bit confused. What is the safest option? Lilyka--are you saying a seat is better than a trailer?
I'm interested in hearing what's safest for dd as we plan to do a fair amount of cycling this summer (if she's willing )
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#21 of 28 Old 02-17-2006, 07:11 AM
 
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This is an interesting website that may help answer some of your questions, Jesse.

http://www.ibike.org/education/infant.htm


That page also includes a rough comparison of trailers vs. seats.

Quote:
Child seats create a higher center of gravity than trailers so in terms of physics and stability they have a high risk. But we haven't heard of enough accidents involving either to say that any higher risk is statistically significant. The smaller the child, and more proficient and safety conscience the cyclist, the more the risk for a child seat is reduced to about the same level as for a trailer. Road and traffic conditions can also affect risk. Some road and traffic conditions favor trailers and other conditions favor child seats. Road and traffic considerations may be a more significant factor than stability issues so it can't be said that one method is not better than the other in all situations.
Looks like there are some other interesting pages too, such as 'teaching a kid to bicycle'. I think I'm going to have to explore further. hth.

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#22 of 28 Old 02-17-2006, 07:14 AM
 
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*oops* double post.

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#23 of 28 Old 04-25-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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I live in L.A., and I am a working professional. Due to parking, I ride my bike. Here is what I did. My baby is now 8 months old, but I found the fix awhile ago. I took a bike trialer, and the Graco travel system baby seat and used heavy duty tie down straps to secure the base of the seat. Todate, the set up is a tank, I have actually rolled the trailer with out the baby and the result is zero movement of the seat. It is a make shift set up, but without question, it works. Plus, my baby loves the ride!

need more info,

emial mr at: maggertas@aol.com
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#24 of 28 Old 04-25-2006, 08:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megincl
We were told by some bike safety experts that a babe needs to be at least 12mo in order for a helmet to fit properly and the body to be developed enough to hold a head with a helmet on it. DS started in a trailer around 15mo. He didn't really like it. This past summer, around 26mo he liked both the seat and the trailer.

good luck!
megin
We've been told the same thing... a baby isn't old enough to be in either a seat or a trailer, and wearing a helmet until minimally 12 months.
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#25 of 28 Old 04-25-2006, 11:14 PM
 
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Our doc said not until 12 months, and he is pretty relaxed about nearly everthing (even said I could turn our car seats forward facing before a year), so we waited.
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#26 of 28 Old 04-25-2006, 11:31 PM
 
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I would wait for a year, probably (though that idea with the baby carseat and tie-downs in a trailer probably isn't any more dangerous than riding around in a car).

For me the trailer vs. seat choice was a no-brainer, because we have and take advantage of bike-on-bus. A bike with a seat can go on the front of the city bus; a trailer cannot.

The seat we use cost $30 new at Toys R Us. It's made by Bell, a company that also makes bike helmets (and more expensive seats). It doesn't have as extensive a frame around it, but as DD is at 2 1/2 very petite I think we'll still get plenty of mileage out of it.

That said, I need to find some saddle racks that will fit with my seat. There is room for DD to sit with me wearing a fully loaded backpack, but she sometimes complains about the view, and getting groceries home can get heavy. I often put her diaper bag over the back of the seat (except at night because it would block the reflector and light), but we really need more cargo capacity!

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#27 of 28 Old 04-26-2006, 12:55 PM
 
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http://www.bhsi.org/little1s.htm

Funny, i was just researching this topic the other day.

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#28 of 28 Old 04-26-2006, 12:58 PM
 
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