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Old 06-19-06, 07:29 AM   #1
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Young Kids and Helmets

Hi, does anybody have any suggestions for getting a one and a half year old kid to wear her helmet?

My daughter loves bicycles, and wants to ride in the bike seat I got for the back of my bike, but she absolutely refuses to wear her helmet. If I try to force it onto her, she just screams and pushes it off. Then she cries because I won't let her into the child seat. She's so young, that there's really no reasoning with her. I don't feel comfortable letting her go without it.

How did you guys get your kids to wear their helmets?
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Old 06-19-06, 10:50 AM   #2
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Mom / Dad,

This is the first of 1000s of battles that will last for decades. You must firmly establish that you make the rules, not the kid. No helmet, no ride... no kidding. If you cave in, you'll never get a helmet on her. Don't cave it. Be the grown up.

Also, YOU must wear your helmet, kids are excellent hypocrisy-detectors.

My kids, 9 and 14, both wear helmets without complaint. Hardly any of my 14 year olds friends do. He also uses lights at night, and rides vehicularly in the streets (yes!).
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Old 06-19-06, 11:01 AM   #3
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I have found that my kids will do something that they don't want to do in order to get something they do want.

"Do you want to ride?"

Yes...

"Well, then you have to put on your helmet. No helmet, no ride." (And be prepared to stand there until the cows come home. Screaming, crying, rending of garments, writhing on the ground.... doesn't matter.)
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Old 06-19-06, 11:55 AM   #4
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Hopefully it will work itself out. Ya, you just have to stand firm.

To speed the process, try getting her excited to ride. Go through all the steps that get her excited to go outside and ride (shoes, drinks, special toy...whatever). Go out with your spouse and child and get ready to go. If she wants to get on without the helmet let her know that no helmet no ride. If she refuses after you give her your standard number of chances then let her know that you will be going riding without her. Have your spouse hold her hand (prevent her from collapsing hard and injuring herself) while you mount and ride off. Go riding for at least 10 minutes, 15 might better. The point is to give her enough time to come out of the fit stage so that you can try again if you want. When you no longer want to ride come home and let her know that the ride for the day is over and that she missed her chance. It is amazing how much they understand at 18 mos. . Take the screaming pain now or suffer under many more circumstances than this.

The point of the above scenario is that it puts you into a situation where you determine the environment and control the outcomes. It shouldn't take long.

If you do get the helmet on her, check for comfortable fit as best you can, such as padding on the velcro points, not too small, etc. They may be aggravating factors.

Mine were not/have not been as combative as yours. To answer your question, what did I do? I just told them they had to wear one when they ride their bike or tricycle. I don't recall any major battles over it. If there were then they were resolved when they agreed to wear the helmet within a few minutes.

Good Luck. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 06-19-06, 01:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
I have found that my kids will do something that they don't want to do in order to get something they do want.

"Do you want to ride?"

Yes...

"Well, then you have to put on your helmet. No helmet, no ride." (And be prepared to stand there until the cows come home. Screaming, crying, rending of garments, writhing on the ground.... doesn't matter.)
Agreed, no helmet=no ride. My son finally asked to wear his helmet after fighting us on it for a while. We do let him ride his bike on our street (it's a cul de sac street with 16 homes on it and very little car traffic) but now after seeing Daddy put his helmet on EVERYTIME I go out for a ride I think he's decided that if Daddy does it that he wants to do it too.

My son will be 4 years old in August.
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Old 06-19-06, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd

Also, YOU must wear your helmet, kids are excellent hypocrisy-detectors.
Repeated for emphasis. It reinforces that it's just what you do when you ride a bike. As much as turning the pedals.
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Old 06-19-06, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
"YOU must wear your helmet."
I am amazed at how many people miss this simple point.
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Old 06-19-06, 03:38 PM   #8
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Sometimes when I'm out on the trail and I see a kid with a helmet and a parent without, I like to give a loud, friendly "Hey kid! Nice helmet!" And I rap mine with my knuckles and wave.

And sometimes I'm feeling a little snarky and I add "Where's your dad's helmet?"
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Old 06-19-06, 04:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
Also, YOU must wear your helmet, kids are excellent hypocrisy-detectors.
I used to ride helmetless, then my daughter had a slow speed(sub 5 Mph), crash that broke her helmet in several places. Her teeth came together so forcefully that one of her front teeth broke off. After we got home from the hospital, she made me promise to always wear my helmet. We can even learn from our kids sometimes.
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Old 06-21-06, 03:28 PM   #10
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Um, an obvious point, but might've been missed... is the helmet comfortable? Perhaps it's too small and hence too tight?
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Old 06-22-06, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by same time
Hi, does anybody have any suggestions for getting a one and a half year old kid to wear her helmet?

My daughter loves bicycles, and wants to ride in the bike seat I got for the back of my bike, but she absolutely refuses to wear her helmet. If I try to force it onto her, she just screams and pushes it off. Then she cries because I won't let her into the child seat. She's so young, that there's really no reasoning with her. I don't feel comfortable letting her go without it.

How did you guys get your kids to wear their helmets?
+1 on making sure it fits properly. However, assuming that there are no issues with the helmet itself, a great book on parenting says it best:

"A temper tantrum is like a Broadway show. If there's no audience, the show closes."
Making your Children Mind Without Losing Yours
  1. Wear a helmet yourself. EVERY TIME YOU GET ON A BIKE.
  2. Make it clear. No helmet, no ride. End of discussion.
  3. Temper tantrum = you walk away (as long as it is safe to do so, if not, just ignore it and go on about your business)

Kids don't like rules that seem arbitrary. One thing we did right (quite accidentally since we are first-time parents) was establish "The First Rule" as soon as she could understand any rule. The First Rule is "Don't get hurt." It is a rule that any child who understands the spoken word can understand and appreciate the sense of, and one that made a great way to work with any other rule.

Once my daughter understood that "No helmet = No bike ride" is a direct result of The First Rule, we never had a problem with it. Same with car seats, climbing on unstable furniture, etc...

In fact, after my daughter took a heck of a tumble on her bike and chewed the heck out of her helmet, none of the other parents in the neighborhood had a problem either. All it took was one of the neighbor kids saying "Jeez, look at your helmet! That coulda been your head!" It seems everyone got the message.

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Old 06-22-06, 12:47 PM   #12
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Thanks, everyone - I guess I just need to be patient and persistant.

I know the helmet does fit her well. She tried it on in the store, and wore it a couple of times at home (I would put my helmet on, she would put hers on, and we'd go around the house like that). Then, all of a sudden, she decided she never wants to wear it again.

She sees me wearing mine all the time, and she's dying to ride on the bike, so I'll bet she'll change her mind soon.
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Old 06-22-06, 01:00 PM   #13
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Thanks, everyone - I guess I just need to be patient and persistant.

I know the helmet does fit her well. She tried it on in the store, and wore it a couple of times at home (I would put my helmet on, she would put hers on, and we'd go around the house like that). Then, all of a sudden, she decided she never wants to wear it again.

She sees me wearing mine all the time, and she's dying to ride on the bike, so I'll bet she'll change her mind soon.
Kids are like that.
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Old 06-22-06, 09:29 PM   #14
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I started taking my daughters riding in a bike trailer when they were, roughly, 13 months and 3 years 1 month. I always wear a helmet. I suppose it's the old ER nurse in me. Anyway, the night before I tried the trailer out, I had the older child put on her helmet, while I put mine on, and we put the baby's helmet on and chased around the house. Of course, giggles broke out at all the chasing and tickling, and the baby has liked wearing hers since. She is now 2 years old, and all I have to say is "Let's go riding," and she runs and gets her helmet and hands it to me. If your daughter is so opposed to it, you might give it a break for a month or so, and then try again later. At that age, their tastes in what they want to do change as quickly as their appetites!
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Old 07-23-06, 07:48 AM   #15
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VICTORY!

This morning, she decided the helmet wasn't so bad. So, I buckled her into the bike and off we went! She loved the ride, and I'm the happiest father in the world!

Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement.
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Old 08-05-06, 09:51 PM   #16
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YEAH for you and your daughter! Enjoy!
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Old 08-09-06, 07:18 AM   #17
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You think your happy now? Wait until she can ride beside you.
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Old 08-09-06, 07:32 AM   #18
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Just wait until she cuts in in front of you and overlaps wheels with you!


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You think your happy now? Wait until she can ride beside you.
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Old 08-10-06, 06:42 AM   #19
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Helmets

I bought my 2 year olds (tomorrow!!) helmets when they were 18 months, so they could be like daddy. Now we bought them Likeabikes. The helmets hang on the bikes and the boys know now that the cannot get on the bike without their helmet. Check 'em out!!

I can home from work on my bike and they were on the playground. They saw me and jumped on their bikes and they followed me around for an hour.
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Old 08-19-06, 12:14 PM   #20
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Have you thought about trying to find a rear view mirror to attach to her helmet? I usually end up driving from the DC area to Louisiana to visit family with just me, my 20 month old son, and my puppy dog. It's amazing how much having a little mirror at that age will distract them. My son is also going through an anti-carseat stage and I've found that handing him a mirror will distract him enough for me to get him buckled in and then he usually forgets he's in his carseat for an hour or so.

We just got our trailer today, and I think I'm going to see if letting him wear his helmet around the house works. He also loves to do things in front of a mirror, so I might also try to get him used to putting on his helmet in front of the mirror when we're getting ready.
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