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  1. #1
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    Sleeping in a child trailer

    Hello,
    I'm considering taking my 9 month old son on a 90 minute ride in his trailer, but it'll be around his nap time so I'm pretty sure he'll want to fall asleep. On his last trip the back of the seat caused his helmet to push forward which didn't seem too comfortable so I wonder if he'll be able to sleep. He didn't complain about it, he seemed quite happy, it just didn't look comfortable.

    We have this trailer and you can see that the back of the seat runs from the floor to the top and doesn't have an indent for his helment.

    So my question is, does anyone have any tips on how to make this more comfortable for him? I'm considering padding him out with cushions but I'm sure people out there have experience of better methods.

    Thanks in advance,
    Steve (and Edward)

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    Riding with a sleeping child is a BAD idea! Just think of how relaxed his neck muscles get when he's in his crib: when he's in that trailer, his head's going to be flopping around like a dead fish. There is way too much of a risk of brain/neck/back injuries; and the worst thing is that you would have no idea that he was injured!

    And 9 months is a little young... Our 10-month old is already walking, but I think a trailer ride is still too harsh for him. Just think, every bump in the road, he experiences at about 10 times the force you do. You need to give him time for his neck and back muscles to be strong enough to hold him up. I'd suggest waiting at least until a year, so that he can develop a little more, especially since you're giving him a helmet. When his head is pushed forward, that's putting a LOT of stress on his neck (and then add in the force from bumps!), and a 9-month old just isn't muscular enough to deal with it.

    But if you're going to do it anyway, you need to support him with padding. And make sure that the padding is as securely fastened in place as he is. Remember that for him, it isn't about comfort; it's about safety.

    As for how to do it: we've used rolled-up nursery blankets in the past; we strap them to the sides of the trailer and the harness, and then to one another in back, so that it holds his head up pretty firmly while still allowing him to look around a little. Since he's got that helmet on, you'll want to put something under his torso and neck as well; maybe a square-cut piece of cushion foam from an upholstery store?

    I'd suggest taking a look here for baby bicycle safety information.

  3. #3
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    um, maybe this isn't such a good idea. Thanks for the link, it's certainly food for thought.

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    9 months sounds young but you know your child better than anyone on the internet .

    Options in no particular order:
    1) Towel or padding behind the child to move the neck forward and create a virtual helmet space
    2) New trailer that has a helmet pocket
    3) Go without the helmet
    4) Seat the the child in a child carrier and strap the carrier in the trailer seat (likely will have to be without the helmet)
    5) Child seat that attaches over the rear wheel or on the top tube, although I am not sure if they have space for the helmet but I think they do

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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman
    4) Seat the the child in a child carrier and strap the carrier in the trailer seat (likely will have to be without the helmet)
    I hadn't thought of this option. If you do decide to go ahead, and you can secure the seat well enough, this might be the way to go. (Also, let us know if it works!) Most child carriers provide much better ergonomic support than a trailer will, and if yours has plenty of padding inside, it might dampen the road vibrations/shocks significantly. We have a Graco Snugride, and all it has is a thin surface pad between kiddo and plastic, so I don't think that particular model would provide much benefit.

  6. #6
    Amferny 50 tooth Cannon's Avatar
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    +1 on the 9 months too young thing. They have heavy heads and weak neck muscles. with all the extra stuff you need to McGiver the trailer, perhaps a kid seat is a better idea.
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    When I saw the name of this thread I got this crazy image of someone traveling a long distance on bike and trying to figure out a way to modify a kids trailer so that they could sleep in it at night. Im a little disapointed that its about a child in a child trailer, but I AM inspired.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HighRollaMerola
    When I saw the name of this thread I got this crazy image of someone traveling a long distance on bike and trying to figure out a way to modify a kids trailer so that they could sleep in it at night. Im a little disapointed that its about a child in a child trailer, but I AM inspired.

    That's what I thought too! It would be pretty sweet... maybe we should start a thread on that...
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  9. #9
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    ok, after a bit more reading the plan has changed. Although he's been holding his head up for a few months and seems pretty sturdy to me, it seems irresponsible to take a risk with him. So we'll wait until he's 12 months before taking him in the trailer.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Now, how can I rig up the trailer so that I can sleep in it.

  10. #10
    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve2k
    ok, after a bit more reading the plan has changed. Although he's been holding his head up for a few months and seems pretty sturdy to me, it seems irresponsible to take a risk with him. So we'll wait until he's 12 months before taking him in the trailer.
    While you should do what makes you comfortable, I know a gazillion people who put their children in trailers at nine months. Personally, I don't think I would go 90 minutes, but I had no problems with 10-15 minute trips with my kid.

    I chose not to use a helmet, since we went on quite streets and paths, and the helmet just adds more weight to her head. Just be careful with bumps. As for napping, judicious placement of pillows and rolled up blankets should do the trick.

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcl8a
    While you should do what makes you comfortable, I know a gazillion people who put their children in trailers at nine months. Personally, I don't think I would go 90 minutes, but I had no problems with 10-15 minute trips with my kid.

    I chose not to use a helmet, since we went on quite streets and paths, and the helmet just adds more weight to her head. Just be careful with bumps. As for napping, judicious placement of pillows and rolled up blankets should do the trick.
    My kids were in a trailer at 1 month! We put them in a child seat that was laying down and well strapped into the trailer (you need to take the cloth seat down but that's a simple task.) My oldest daughter even made the trip from Kremmling, CO to Steamboat (a distance of about 70 miles) at 7 months old. She was even nursing. Kid slept for 99% of the ride.

    And to show that there were no ill effects, she's just finishing her junior year in college.
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  12. #12
    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    And to show that there were no ill effects, she's just finishing her junior year in college.
    And her GPA is...?

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcl8a
    And her GPA is...?
    High enough she could graduate in the fall of 2007...but she wants to take advanced basket weaving
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  14. #14
    Senior Member sekaijin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevLaVaca
    Riding with a sleeping child is a BAD idea! Just think of how relaxed his neck muscles get when he's in his crib: when he's in that trailer, his head's going to be flopping around like a dead fish. There is way too much of a risk of brain/neck/back injuries; and the worst thing is that you would have no idea that he was injured!
    Just saw this thread, now that it is linked from this one.

    Sleeping kids in strollers and trailers sometimes look contorted, but (once they're past SIDS age) my feeling is: "if they're asleep, then by definition they're comfortable." Our pediatrician has said as much.

    On long rides last summer, my kids would fall asleep in the trailer and slouch over each other, and their helmets would knock together making a loud racket. Granted they were ages 5 and 3, not babies. Going on a year later, they seem none the worse for wear.

    Now we also have a new baby who's 7 months old, but I'll wait till next summer to put her in the trailer.

  15. #15
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    I agree that if the kid is asleep, he's comfortable but option four (baby seat in the trailer) is a good one. Babies are pretty tough but if something's not quite right they'll sure let you know.

  16. #16
    Senior Member acroy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbattle
    I agree that if the kid is asleep, he's comfortable but option four (baby seat in the trailer) is a good one. Babies are pretty tough but if something's not quite right they'll sure let you know.
    +1 on asleep = comfy. We tried the seat in the trailer but it was unsteady and raised the center of gravity. we started towing at 6 weeks, baby lying down transversly in the trailer, with both sets of straps holding him in, no helmet. No issues, kid loved it, usually sleeps. when he was at 5 months we did the Hotter n Hell ride (25-miler for us).

    now he's 15 months, sits up, and wears a helmet. still loves it. HH100 2007 here we come! (metric century for us this time)
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