Infant in a Bike Trailer? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-10-2009, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are a one car family, and I'm interested in getting a bike to ride around with 5 mth old DS around town for entertainment as well as for errands. There are great bike paths next to the roads (think really wide asphalt side walks), and some side walks I'd be riding on, never in the road.

I plan to get a bike trailer, with a 5 point harness in it, as well as a super light weight helmet designed for babies.

DS is big for his age, if that matters: 19 pounds, 27 inches (?).

I've read multiple threads on here about the differences in bike seats versus trailers, as well as several websites these threads pointed to, which detail safety on bikes/in trailers for LOs.

It seems at least one company makes infant seats for trailers, as an extra insert, but most of the descriptions I've read about bike trailers don't indicate an age range.

How young is too young? DS has great head control, and has for at least two months now. We would be riding exclusively on paved trails/side walks, with few bumps, though I'm sure there will be occasional bumps.

I plan to ask the pediatrician what her thoughts are, considering his head control, before we go riding, too, just to have all the bases covered.

Finally, my question is, Are there options for putting infants in bike trailers? Are certain trailers designed for infants, with the harnesses small enough for them?

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Old 06-10-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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I dont have any links but I have read that the minimum age is 1 year. I definately would not do it that young. And if it is the infant insert I am thinking of, that is only for use as a stroller, not a bike trailer, until at least 1 year.
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:43 PM
 
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I am interested in this too. I had even thought about placing the infant car seat in the trailer somehow. I haven't seen one in person to even know if that is an option though. We have 2 kids, 2.5 y/o DD and currently 3 mo old DS. DH doesn't drive so it would be him on the bike. Ideas?

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Old 06-10-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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We use a bike trailer for our kids but I wouldn't use it that young. The number one thing is that it is jarring. even on paved trails my 2 yo is bobbing around in there and when he falls asleep forget it, I freak out.
But we don't have an infant insert or anything like that and the seat is very upright, maybe it's different with some kind of accessory.

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Old 06-10-2009, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am interested in this too. I had even thought about placing the infant car seat in the trailer somehow. I haven't seen one in person to even know if that is an option though. We have 2 kids, 2.5 y/o DD and currently 3 mo old DS. DH doesn't drive so it would be him on the bike. Ideas?
A friend has one, and I've seen it from afar. I don't think you could put an infant carrier and another child in it.

I did see infant inserts made by the trailer companies that accommodate another child next to them.

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Old 06-10-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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Everything I've seen says it's not safe before a year.

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Old 06-10-2009, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We use a bike trailer for our kids but I wouldn't use it that young. The number one thing is that it is jarring. even on paved trails my 2 yo is bobbing around in there and when he falls asleep forget it, I freak out.
But we don't have an infant insert or anything like that and the seat is very upright, maybe it's different with some kind of accessory.
The infant seats I've seen are called "slings" and they hang from the top bar, which may reduce some of the jostling while riding.

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Old 06-11-2009, 01:12 AM
 
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I wouldn't use a trailer for a five-month-old without putting the baby in an infant car seat.

I do think it's wise to read all of the anti-biking-with-infants information that there is out there before making your own informed choice.

I started biking with ds3 when he was 8 months old, using the iBert seat on the front of my bike. It worked very well for us. My sister is now using the same seat with her 7-month-old. I am considering starting to bike with our fourth baby starting when he's about 3 months old (following the lead of what's recommended in the Netherlands, where biking with babies and children is the norm). If I decide to ride with him when he's that young, he will be in an infant car seat installed in the front of my dutch cargo bike.

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Old 06-11-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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I think the general recommendation is one year-when they have good head control and can get a safe fit with the 5 point harness. Now, in my bike trailer, it's hard to get a good and safe fit. The straps are just not as easy to maneuver as they are in a car seat. I started using my bike trailer when my youngest was almost 2. I used the harness to keep her from standing, but that is all it is good for.

Now, if you really need to be biking your infant around (like a one or no car situation) I have heard that some people actually buy a cheaper car seat and physically attach it into the trailer - like fastening it to the trailer with screws and such. I don't know the specifics but it certainly sounds like a safer alternative.

ETA: I just did a quick Google search and found some threads on carseat.org about this very subject. Not many people feel an "installed" car seat in the trailer is safe at all.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:54 AM
 
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The infant seats I've seen are called "slings" and they hang from the top bar, which may reduce some of the jostling while riding.
I've seen these slings. The one I saw said it was for use with the stroller attachment for ages 6 weeks and up.

I also saw someone using one with a 3 or maybe 6 week old (but what's the diff?). They said he was as happy as could be and slept the whole time. They rode for 6 miles round trip on pavement and sidewalks.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:15 AM
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The most important thing is that your child needs to use a helmet, and their bodies aren't strong enough to hold a helmet until they are older. I know in Sweden, where most people bike (not as a hobby, as transport), the medical association (something like the AAP) recommends 9 months to a year.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:45 AM
 
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Chariot and Trek recommend that babies be at least a year old before the trailer is used as a bike trailer.
I think the insert is used only if it is in jogging stroller mode.
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Old 06-11-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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The most important thing is that your child needs to use a helmet, and their bodies aren't strong enough to hold a helmet until they are older. I know in Sweden, where most people bike (not as a hobby, as transport), the medical association (something like the AAP) recommends 9 months to a year.
But if the baby were to be secure in an infant car seat, the helmet would be somewhat redundant, wouldn't it?

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Old 06-11-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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Chariot and Trek recommend that babies be at least a year old before the trailer is used as a bike trailer.
I think the insert is used only if it is in jogging stroller mode.
Burley has the same recommendation.

That said, I know two families who have had their tiny infants (4ish weeks) in Chariot trailers with the sling/hammock inserts. No helmets. And I have seen several other families with infant car seats installed in trailers.

Friends of our family who run a bike shop say the child should have good head control whilst wearing a helmet before you take them on a bike, sometimes kids get that at 7-8 months, sometimes not until over a year.

Our son rode in a Burley trailer behind our bikes from 9.5 months.

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Old 06-11-2009, 03:36 PM
 
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The most important thing is that your child needs to use a helmet
Sorry. Not true if they are in a trailer.

If the child is secured in a 5-point harness within the confines of the aluminum or steel frame of the covered trailer, they do not need to wear a helmet. The helmet is to protect a child's head in case of a fall off of a bicycle. Secured in the trailer, the child is not going to suffer a fall. You can check your local laws concerning bicycling with children.

You might check out this recent discussion on similar topic:
http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...=#post13725866

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Old 06-11-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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The most important thing is that your child needs to use a helmet, and their bodies aren't strong enough to hold a helmet until they are older. I know in Sweden, where most people bike (not as a hobby, as transport), the medical association (something like the AAP) recommends 9 months to a year.
IMO, this is not important at all. Especially if they are in their infant carseat in a trailer. Does your child wear a helmet in the car? In most places where people ride bikes as their primary mode of transportation, nobody wears helmets, including little children and babies.

http://www.ski-epic.com/amsterdam_bicycles/
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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We used a bucket car seat starting when dd was very young. It was more secure and comfortable for her then than now at 2 she rides in the regular sling seat and it is a pretty rough ride for her. I'd rather have her in a car seat still. The harness in the bike trailer doesn't seem secure enough to me. The helmet seems redundant and is very uncomfortable for her to wear while in the bike trailer.

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Old 06-14-2009, 04:35 AM
 
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I think the concern more about having children under a year in these things would be shaken baby syndrome.
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Old 06-14-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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I think the concern more about having children under a year in these things would be shaken baby syndrome.
That is purely hypothetical (it's never been reported), and doesn't really make sense to me if you think about the amount of force involved in shaken baby syndrome. It would be hard--maybe even impossible--to replicate that in a bicycle trailer even on an incredibly bumpy road. In other countries, it is common for people to bike with their babies, and if "shaken bike baby syndrome" was a real thing, I'm sure there would be warnings against it. Also, a 12-month-old is not immune to the real shaken baby syndrome, so if the bike version was real, why would it then be OK for people to start biking with their 12-month-olds?

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Old 06-15-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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When DS was little, we rigged the bucket car seat into the bike trailer. Worked great, and it seemed very safe.

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Old 06-15-2009, 03:10 AM
 
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That is purely hypothetical (it's never been reported), and doesn't really make sense to me if you think about the amount of force involved in shaken baby syndrome. It would be hard--maybe even impossible--to replicate that in a bicycle trailer even on an incredibly bumpy road. In other countries, it is common for people to bike with their babies, and if "shaken bike baby syndrome" was a real thing, I'm sure there would be warnings against it. Also, a 12-month-old is not immune to the real shaken baby syndrome, so if the bike version was real, why would it then be OK for people to start biking with their 12-month-olds?

Lex
I believe the idea is putting a helmet on a child who doesn't have the neck strength to support a helmet and the head shakes violently back and forth from the extra weight on it is the hypothesis here but since no one really makes helmet small enough for little babies...

That said, I would put my baby in a trailer in a baby sling because they aren't really secured well in case of a trailer roll over (like if it was swiped by a car) they could slam into the road . They aren't strapped to a seat like a bigger kido is...I would think using a car seat negates that risk if it is actually strapped in...

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Old 06-15-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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I've been struggling with this same issue. As other posters have noted, virtually all of the recommendations are to wait for one year. However, this seems to be more based on fear of liability than on science. I have yet to see a single shred of actual evidence supporting this position, but nobody wants anything to do with a lawsuit involving a baby.

Regarding the "shaken baby syndrome" fear: again, I haven't seen any evidence supporting this theory (nor, in fairness, countering it). However, if it were truly a problem I would think it would apply equally to jogging with a baby, and nobody recommends against that (or at least the recommended ages are much younger). Most well designed helmets are exceptionally light, and as the range of motion we're considering here is quite limited, it's hard to imagine the helmet making a great deal of difference.

Babies vary widely in their development. In my case, my 7.5 month old is very strong for his age. He could hold up his own head at 2 weeks, was sitting unsupported at 4 months, crawling at 5 months, and is now nearly walking. I have no concerns at all about his safety in a good bike trailer (or at least none that don't equally apply to my three-year-old). Many babies at this age are still quite floppy and just learning to sit. If that were my situation I might think twice. I think in the absence of any actual research on the matter it is up to each parent to make a judgement call.

My biggest problem is finding a small enough helmet. They exist, but are very hard to find, especially here in Canada. And while I'm not sure the helmet really adds a great deal in terms of safety (given a secure 5-point harness and a roll cage), it would be hard to explain to my 3-year-old why her brother doesn't need to wear one.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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I think the concern more about having children under a year in these things would be shaken baby syndrome.
But plenty of other things shake way more than a bike (Jumperoos come to mind) and they don't say not to use those before one. So if a baby is old enough, has enough head control, etc for things like that why not a bike?

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:59 AM
 
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This has some good information to read:

http://www.bhsi.org/little1s.htm
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Old 06-17-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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Here's how we did it when DS was about three months old:
The car seat was hooked in there super tight. I felt like it was quite safe.

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Old 08-13-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:58 PM
 
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Thank you so much for doing this! I have been noticing lately with our newborn that he does get quite "jostled" when I'm walking on smooth pavement and he's in the sling. It's nothing that I worry about, but I was guessing that it's probably MORE jostling than riding in a bike would be. And no one is telling you not to walk with your baby in a sling for fear of "shaken baby syndrome." I was contemplating making a comparison video (i.e. on of him in the sling and one of him in the car seat in the bike), but your methods are even better!

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Old 08-14-2009, 12:10 AM
 
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I have a bike trailer that the recommended minimum age is 12 months. It seats two children. My oldest was fantastic in it - he was 2 when we got it. My youngest HATED it when I tried her at 1 year old. The bike shop said the reason for the age is not that they only need to support their head, but their head with a helmet on it. This was obviously difficult for her to do even though she had a lightweight baby helmet.

We stopped using it with her last summer, tried again this summer and she loves it much, much better. It doesn't seem as awkward for her to ride in anymore.

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Old 08-15-2009, 11:36 PM
 
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Children are supposed to be at least one year before riding in a bike trailer. They aren't even supposed to make bike helmets for infants. Has to do with neck strength.

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Old 08-16-2009, 02:25 AM
 
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I have a bike trailer that the recommended minimum age is 12 months. It seats two children. My oldest was fantastic in it - he was 2 when we got it. My youngest HATED it when I tried her at 1 year old. The bike shop said the reason for the age is not that they only need to support their head, but their head with a helmet on it. This was obviously difficult for her to do even though she had a lightweight baby helmet.

We stopped using it with her last summer, tried again this summer and she loves it much, much better. It doesn't seem as awkward for her to ride in anymore.
If they are in a trailer, why do they need a helmet? I use a bike seat, and also a trailer from time to time - the trailer is enclosed. It would be like wearing a helmet while in your car to me.
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