What to do about helmet in bike trailer - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 06-17-2010, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 1, she is fine with her helmet when she is on her tricycle, but we just got a bike trailer and she freaks out about wearing her helmet in it. We actually thought she was unconscious the first time we put her in it with the helmet on, she slumped to one side and was not responding to us. Apparently it all has to do with the use of the helmet.

So I am wondering what to do about this. I am a mom who ALWAYS makes my kids wear their helmets. I was thinking about putting a pillow behind her back so her head wasn't pushed forward with the helmet on. I need ideas on how to keep her safe and comfortable.

We only ride on the sidewalks in our neighborhood for short rides. How can i make this work?
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#2 of 30 Old 06-18-2010, 12:12 AM
 
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No advice, just looking forward to the responses. Our DD is also 1 and is not wild about the trailer/helmet setup. In our situation, I think it is more the trailer that makes her nervous and the helmet is just an added oddity.

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DD1 (06/09), Twin DD2 and DS1 (born 3/12- 6 weeks early due to IUGR)

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#3 of 30 Old 06-18-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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How flat is the back of the helmet? The flatter the better because it does push their head forward uncomfortably. My DD got a different helmet and it made a big difference.
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#4 of 30 Old 06-18-2010, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The helmet is actually really flat in the back. We have two different brands and have the same problem with both.

She loves the trailer, just need to figure out the helmet thing.
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#5 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 01:22 AM
 
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Maybe try one of those u-shaped neck pillows, liek the kind you use on the airplane.

I would for sure require the helmet even in the trailor!
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#6 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 03:26 AM
 
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Doe's your trailer have a seat which allows room ro a helmet? Ours is supposed to (and does slope back at the top of the seat) but DS at 3.5 is only just tall enough that his head reaches into it. If yours is similar maybe a cushion to sit on would move her head to a more comfortable position.

I have also been know to pack DS in with cusions on either side since he often falls asleep in the trailer. It looks really uncomfortable when he slumps off to one side.
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#7 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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Do you let her use the helmet outside of the trailer? My son liked to wear his around the house when playing and so was much more receptive to wearing it in the trailer.

ETA: I see that she wears it on her tricycle. Please disregard.
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#8 of 30 Old 06-20-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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My dd is 3.5 and is a good helmet wearer but i jus wanted to say that you shouldnt be riding your bike on the sidewalk it is illegal in some places and isnt a good practice
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#9 of 30 Old 08-05-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LaughingHyena View Post
Doe's your trailer have a seat which allows room ro a helmet? Ours is supposed to (and does slope back at the top of the seat) but DS at 3.5 is only just tall enough that his head reaches into it. If yours is similar maybe a cushion to sit on would move her head to a more comfortable position.
I had this exact problem when trying out the bike trailer for the first time. DS isn't crazy about the helmet to begin with, and then when he's in the trailer, he can't keep his head upright because of the helmet pushing against the back of the seat. Laughing Hyena, which trailer do you have, that has a space for the back of the helmet?

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#10 of 30 Old 08-06-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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Laughing Hyena, which trailer do you have, that has a space for the back of the helmet?
It's a burley, I think the d lite. It's an older model, I don't think I could justify buying a new one even though I use it most days for the school run.
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#11 of 30 Old 08-06-2010, 08:22 AM
 
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I appreciate that you are trying to instill good practice of Bike Riding = Helmet Wearing. But consider for just one moment that a bike helmet is designed to protect the skull from a fall off a bicycle. Your DD, while strapped in the bike trailer, is neither on a bicycle nor in danger of falling off of one. A bicycle helmet is not a crash helmet. It probably will not protect the skull if you are plowed into by a car, no matter where the rider is situated. Some people have argued that if a small child is wearing a helmet in a trailer, the weight of the helmet and the positioning of the child actually puts your child more at risk for neck injuries if a mishap occurs.

Your trailer, equipped with a 5 point harness? Designed with a roll bar type structure? Child is enclosed entirely by cloth/screening to keep arms/legs in and sand/dirt out? Hitch is designed so if even bike goes down the trailer stays upright on its own wheels? Trailer sits low relative to axle? If these things are true, than your child is relatively safe. No activity is inherently 100% safe, but this is all about risk assessment.

As prefaced, I am completely supportive of parents who practice safe bicycle riding. You, of course, are wearing your helmet to demonstrate this, which is the best way to reinforce this rule with your child. If it were me, however, and my child was that uncomfortable in the trailer with the helmet on that s/he is going catatonic on me, I would give up the helmet on the LO while explaining Every Single Time that Mommy wears her helmet because she is on a bike and needs to be safe and that Baby is safe because she is in the trailer.

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#12 of 30 Old 08-06-2010, 08:39 AM
 
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Your trailer, equipped with a 5 point harness? Designed with a roll bar type structure? Child is enclosed entirely by cloth/screening to keep arms/legs in and sand/dirt out? Hitch is designed so if even bike goes down the trailer stays upright on its own wheels? Trailer sits low relative to axle? If these things are true, than your child is relatively safe. No activity is inherently 100% safe, but this is all about risk assessment.
I agree. Now, if you were putting her in a trailer that did not have a 5pt harness and the roll bar, among other things, then I would probably feel differently. But with trailers that are designed not to flip when the bike does and have saftey features if it actually does, I don't think you have as much to worry about.

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#13 of 30 Old 08-06-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mumofboyz View Post
I appreciate that you are trying to instill good practice of Bike Riding = Helmet Wearing. But consider for just one moment that a bike helmet is designed to protect the skull from a fall off a bicycle. Your DD, while strapped in the bike trailer, is neither on a bicycle nor in danger of falling off of one. A bicycle helmet is not a crash helmet. It probably will not protect the skull if you are plowed into by a car, no matter where the rider is situated. Some people have argued that if a small child is wearing a helmet in a trailer, the weight of the helmet and the positioning of the child actually puts your child more at risk for neck injuries if a mishap occurs.

Your trailer, equipped with a 5 point harness? Designed with a roll bar type structure? Child is enclosed entirely by cloth/screening to keep arms/legs in and sand/dirt out? Hitch is designed so if even bike goes down the trailer stays upright on its own wheels? Trailer sits low relative to axle? If these things are true, than your child is relatively safe. No activity is inherently 100% safe, but this is all about risk assessment.

As prefaced, I am completely supportive of parents who practice safe bicycle riding. You, of course, are wearing your helmet to demonstrate this, which is the best way to reinforce this rule with your child. If it were me, however, and my child was that uncomfortable in the trailer with the helmet on that s/he is going catatonic on me, I would give up the helmet on the LO while explaining Every Single Time that Mommy wears her helmet because she is on a bike and needs to be safe and that Baby is safe because she is in the trailer.
This is our approach. I think some it it also comes down to where/how you ride. I know some people don't like the riding on sidewalks approach, but- particularly when riding with a sibling- it may be the safest place. Here, we don't have sidewalks, but we do have loads of car-free roads.

Neither of my boys tolerate a helmet in the trailer, and I am comfortable with the safety features of the trailer. If they were in a carrier mounted ON the bike where there was a risk of falling they would wear a helmet. In the trailer, they do not.
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#14 of 30 Old 08-07-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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i'm in the no helmet in trailer group.

i have my dc wear helmets in almost all situations ( bike, razor type scooter, even tricycles) but not in a trailer due to the position it puts the dc's head forward

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#15 of 30 Old 08-07-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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I always made the kids wear helmets in the burley- but we live in a very bike-friendly city and are always biking on roads with cars.

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#16 of 30 Old 08-08-2010, 12:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mumofboyz View Post
I appreciate that you are trying to instill good practice of Bike Riding = Helmet Wearing. But consider for just one moment that a bike helmet is designed to protect the skull from a fall off a bicycle. Your DD, while strapped in the bike trailer, is neither on a bicycle nor in danger of falling off of one. A bicycle helmet is not a crash helmet. It probably will not protect the skull if you are plowed into by a car, no matter where the rider is situated. Some people have argued that if a small child is wearing a helmet in a trailer, the weight of the helmet and the positioning of the child actually puts your child more at risk for neck injuries if a mishap occurs.
Yep, this is our point of view as well. We didn't use a helmet with our daughter in the bike trailer as there was NO chance of her falling out and her head hitting the pavement.
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#17 of 30 Old 08-09-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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DD is 1, she is fine with her helmet when she is on her tricycle, but we just got a bike trailer and she freaks out about wearing her helmet in it. We actually thought she was unconscious the first time we put her in it with the helmet on, she slumped to one side and was not responding to us. Apparently it all has to do with the use of the helmet.

So I am wondering what to do about this. I am a mom who ALWAYS makes my kids wear their helmets. I was thinking about putting a pillow behind her back so her head wasn't pushed forward with the helmet on. I need ideas on how to keep her safe and comfortable.

We only ride on the sidewalks in our neighborhood for short rides. How can i make this work?
What we did was put DS in an infant bucket car seat! He had pretty much outgrown it for car use (not technically outgrown, but looked all squished) so we moved him into a rear facing diplomat in the car) and installed it in the trailer. He loved it and usually fell asleep while we went on bike trips. We only rode it on the bike path and only were on the road on teh way to the bike path. We occasionally took it down the street to the local coop grocery store, but that was only when he was older and did okay with the helmet instead.

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#18 of 30 Old 08-09-2010, 09:58 AM
 
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What we did was put DS in an infant bucket car seat! He had pretty much outgrown it for car use (not technically outgrown, but looked all squished) so we moved him into a rear facing diplomat in the car) and installed it in the trailer. He loved it and usually fell asleep while we went on bike trips. We only rode it on the bike path and only were on the road on teh way to the bike path. We occasionally took it down the street to the local coop grocery store, but that was only when he was older and did okay with the helmet instead.
I don't know about your bike trailer, but mine says specifically not to do this on the warning/saftey label and I've seen numerous websites say that is not safe. (though maybe you have a trailer in which this is acceptable, holly?)

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#19 of 30 Old 08-09-2010, 01:22 PM
 
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I don't know about your bike trailer, but mine says specifically not to do this on the warning/saftey label and I've seen numerous websites say that is not safe. (though maybe you have a trailer in which this is acceptable, holly?)
I'm not really sure as it was second hand and we did not get the instruction manual. I felt okay doing it because we were not using the bike in traffic, only on a bike path. So in my mind, worse case senario is DH or I fall off our bike and maybe at the worst the bike trailer falls over (although i think they are pretty much designed not to) and since he was strapped into his infant seat, it seemed like a "pretty safe" combination....

We did this when DS was 10 months old ish i believe...he has a late summer bday and we wanted to take hiim on the bike path for long bike rides so that is the best we could do. They don't reallly make helmets for kids that young and it's probably not best for their neck to be holding them up that young either...
I'm sure someone will come on and say it wasn't safe, but we did what worked for us and it felt pretty safe.

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#20 of 30 Old 08-09-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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I also don't make my child wear a helmet in the Burley. It just looks way too uncomfortable, and as others have said, with the 5-pt harness and roll bar, I'm comfortable with the risks. We also always use helmets when on a bike or scooter.
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#21 of 30 Old 08-10-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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I agree. Now, if you were putting her in a trailer that did not have a 5pt harness and the roll bar, among other things, then I would probably feel differently. But with trailers that are designed not to flip when the bike does and have saftey features if it actually does, I don't think you have as much to worry about.
Same.

My kids don't wear their helmets in the trailer. They're completely enclosed and we only ride on the bike trail where we possibly come into contact with one or two bikers/rollerbladers...that's it. They always wear them when riding alone and of course if I had them in a bike seat I would definitely put the helmets on. It was just too uncomfortable looking when they had them on in there. Common sense IMO.

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#22 of 30 Old 08-10-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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My dd is 3.5 and is a good helmet wearer but i jus wanted to say that you shouldnt be riding your bike on the sidewalk it is illegal in some places and isnt a good practice
We always ride our bikes with the trailer on the sidewalk! I think it is much safer than the street. I always think people who ride on the streets to be kinda weird.

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#23 of 30 Old 08-10-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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We always ride our bikes with the trailer on the sidewalk! I think it is much safer than the street. I always think people who ride on the streets to be kinda weird.
Riding on the sidewalk is illegal here. You might want to check where you live.

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#24 of 30 Old 08-10-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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We always ride our bikes with the trailer on the sidewalk! I think it is much safer than the street. I always think people who ride on the streets to be kinda weird.
It's illegal here too. I can see why you would want to ride with the trailer on the sidewalk, it looks so vulnerable on the street. There is someone around here who rides with one (in the street) and it's been fine, they have a huge flag on the trailer.

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#25 of 30 Old 08-10-2010, 07:00 PM
 
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I would rather have my children enjoy the bike rides and want to do it more often. One of my girls wears a helmet in the trailer, one does not. We also have a burly.

However- I almost always make everyone wear a helmet in the Madsen. To me it feels dangerous not too. The only exceptions have been once when my then 2 year old just would not keep it on. I kept stopping and putting it back on and realized that I was never going to get home before dark and she and I were both getting overly frustrated, so I let it go. She's never fought it since then.

The other time was at the bus stop on our little dead end street and a bunch of 5 & 6th grade kids challenged me to ride with 4 of them in the madsen. Their parents were there and we were just goofing around, moving slowly, etc.

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#26 of 30 Old 08-13-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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The issue is most likely what the PP's said, that the helmet pushes her head forward uncomfortably. This happened with DD until we put some pillows in the trailer. We put a small one right behind her back, which pushes her forward enough that there's space behind her head for the helmet. That way, if she falls asleep, she can lean back comfortably and not have to slouch forward. The helmet actually seems to support her head while she sleeps. She used to fight it all the time, until I realized that the straps were too tight and loosened them. D'oh! Now she likes to wear it all the time!

I think the PP's are right about the relative uselessness of a helmet in a trailer, but I'm also aware that people already think I'm a crazy-dangerous parent to be riding a bike with my baby at all, so if she has a helmet on then I get at least a few less negative comments about it.

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#27 of 30 Old 08-13-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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We always ride our bikes with the trailer on the sidewalk! I think it is much safer than the street. I always think people who ride on the streets to be kinda weird.

Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in most places. Its a danger to pedestrians, it is much more dangerous for you on the bike when crossing streets and for traffic because it confuses them as to what you are doing. You are much safer on the street, riding with traffic, obeying traffic laws. If you are not comfortable riding in the street there are a lot of bike clubs that give classes on street riding safety. Obviously you wouldn't want to ride on a high traffic street with no shoulder or bike lane if you have a trailer.
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#28 of 30 Old 08-13-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Riding on the sidewalk is illegal in most places. Its a danger to pedestrians, it is much more dangerous for you on the bike when crossing streets and for traffic because it confuses them as to what you are doing. You are much safer on the street, riding with traffic, obeying traffic laws. If you are not comfortable riding in the street there are a lot of bike clubs that give classes on street riding safety. Obviously you wouldn't want to ride on a high traffic street with no shoulder or bike lane if you have a trailer.
I always ride on the sidewalk as I live in a small town and DS1 is only 6, riding in front of me on his own bike. Have never checked if it's illegal but I've never been stopped. There's no bike lane in town, however.

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#29 of 30 Old 08-14-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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Some tips on how to ride on the road safely: http://bicyclesafe.com/
If you insist on riding your bike on the sidewalk, here are some safety tips just for you: http://commutebybike.com/2008/07/09/...-the-sidewalk/

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#30 of 30 Old 08-16-2010, 12:57 PM
 
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I would be scared to ride on the sidewalk I feel like traffic wouldn't notice me and if I were to cruise though a street crossing a right or left turning vehicle might hit me. If you're in the street tend to notice you.
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