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  1. #1
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    Kids in a trailer how young is ok

    My wife and I had a daughter on Dec 1st. I have negotiated three months off work between my job and a promotion this will be April to June. Hence our daughter will be four months old. We were considering cycling from the Baltic sea to the Mediterranean on a tandem with the baby in a trailer.

    I have read that the kid should be a year old before being put in a trailer, that there is a risk of bruised brain from vibration. Is this just ultra conservative, precautionary principle stuff or is there a real risk on good smooth roads.

    I have plenty of friends who use trailers with young babies but these tend to be round the houses trips of a few hours not weeks on the road.

    Does any one have good solid info on this ie have you done it. Any info much appreciated.

    All best

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    I don't know of what science or practical research it may be based but like you have read much from manufacturer's recommending baby should be at least one year or able to hold their head up on their own before riding in a trailer.

    Personally, we put a car baby seat into our trailer, strapped it in and put our baby in it to go out from when she was a few months old. I figured (and I may be wrong!) the ride was similar to being in a pram or push chair, especially if you're careful about riding on good surfaces (which you are when you are pulling such a precious thing behind you) and keep the tyres soft to give a little suspension. We did lots of day rides and then used the same configuration for a 350 mile two week tour one cold Easter when baby was just 6 months old. And it was great.

    Sure, some people see it as reckless and will tell you not to do it, people certainly did with us, but I do think there is a lot of ultra conservative thinking about this and manufacturer's needing to cover themselves too. Like any aspect of parenting, you need to assess the risks as best you can, and consider the benefits to you and the child, reduce and control what risks you can and then get out there and show your kids the world. It's certainly better than putting them in a car seat and driving around.

    Stuart
    www.familyonabike.org

  3. #3
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    I assume both you and your wife have done long distance touring before and you have tandem experience. You did not say the reason for the trip; sightseeing, long planned trip, whim, take baby to see friends/relatives, etc. The trip should not be about getting the baby out because the baby will get about nothing out of it other than some story you tell her that she can tell to others.

    I would think your biggest problems will be:
    - lack of exercise for the baby while strapped into the carrier
    - chances of prolonged vibrations on bad roads
    - maintaining baby comfort through weather swings

    As noted above, I also do not know of any study regarding trailer riding for babies. There are only manufacturers and doctor recommendations. It will be up to you to decide how much of these things are acceptable risks.

    How many hours a day do you think you can ride with the baby? I would say car trips are almost the same except that the environment is better controlled. We have done 14 hour car trips with babies under 1. However the most we would do a day is 8 hours and those hours were broken up into ~2 hour segments, and we did not do that for weeks on end. You already know that babies regulatory systems are not that good. They don't shed or make heat as efficiently as kids.

    Given the distance of the trip, you are great candidate for a trailer with suspension. Chariot carriers are the only ones I know that do have suspension.

    Sounds like alot of fun and ambitious. Just have a backout plan to use before things go wrong or if the trip becomes no fun/not worth it.

    Hopefully there will be someone with long distance touring with kids experience to chime in.

    Good luck. Write back with what you decide to do.

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    You could always use a traditional car seat for the baby, strap them in and bungee it suspended in the trailer. Unless your vibration created some weird harmonics that caused the carseat/baby to start yo-yoing up and down like crazy, it seems like it would be a pretty comfortable ride.

  5. #5
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    You have a baby. That is your job now. You can tour again in a few years, until then realize that you are a parent now. Your wants and desires come second. And for god sake don't be dragging a 4 month old around in a trailer anywhere let alone on an extended tour.
    Last edited by Portis; 01-30-08 at 05:51 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis View Post
    You have a baby. That is your job now. You can tour again in a few years, until then realize that you are a parent now. Your wants and desires come second. And for god sake don't be dragging a 4 month around in a trailer anywhere let alone on an extended tour.
    I have to agree with Portis. And, speaking as an ER RN, it is generally the viewpoint of pediatricians that a baby does not have strong enough neck muscles to support his or her head when in a trailer should something unfortunate happen, until they are one year old. I've never done the baby carrier in a trailer thing, and really can't imagine that would be too safe.
    Stealth Bike Pilot

  7. #7
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    There is something called The Sacrifices of Parenthood. Wait until next summer at least. No way should you even consider putting an infant on a bike or bike trailer!
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

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    gota agree with these last posts, give it a year or so. A 4 month old wont be able to let you know that they are experiencing severe discomfort or even lift thier head if they are being strangled by an over tight zipper. Brain damage or death would make for a lousy bike tour, dont you think? I had to wait 2 years for my two kids to get old enough to go on an extended ride, it was hard but they are worth it.
    Take it easy...

  9. #9
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    I put 'infant bicycle trailer' into pubmed and only came up with this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

    'infant bicycle' had 211 hits that I didn't have time to go through.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    I put 'infant bicycle trailer' into pubmed and only came up with this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1...ubmed_RVDocSum

    'infant bicycle' had 211 hits that I didn't have time to go through.
    Nice link HW. I like how they statistically estimated the total. I guess you are about 4 times more likely to have an injury with a child seat than a trailer but that does not attest to the per mile rate or factor in the conditions . I.e., were the trailer and seat riders doing the same type and amount of riding on the same types of roads and congestion? I guess it is just like motorcycles, keep the sticky side down and watch for other drivers .

  11. #11
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    There's certainly a range of views here for you to consider. Personally, I don't get parenthood as sacrifice, more like one long game of risk assessment.. with no training, a few facts and lots of opinion to help you on your way. So here's a bit more opinion in the interest of balancing up the debate.

    If you decide to take to the road with your baby, in some ways that first year is one of the easiest - their needs are simple - to be fed, kept comfortable and clean and be loved. Come to think of it, that would be just perfect for me too. When we tour long distance with young kids, we play a whole different touring game. It's not about doing the miles or serving hours in the saddle, it's about travelling together as a family. We choose quiet routes, ride for an hour at a time then stop, relax and regroup. We do maybe two or three of these short legs per day, and overall end up going slow, stopping more and getting to spend a lot of time with each other off the saddle. We let the needs of the baby/children shape the journey and timing, often riding when they're tired and stopping to play when they're re-energised (and you're less so). The trailer is a great little playroom/caravan for one. We've done this with one, then two and now three children from babies to age 6 on journeys from day trips to six month tours covering 4000+km and much in between.

    I can't help feeling that it's a lot more healthy way to travel than putting a baby in a car for four, six , eight hours or more. But that's just my opinion.

  12. #12
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    This question comes up a lot, I know I asked it about a year ago, it's worth searching there was some good information in the replies from people.
    My decision was that I would wait until he was a bit older.

    I didn't like the idea of him falling asleep, having his neck all relaxed and then me having to apply the brakes sharply or go over a bump. I also couldn't really hear him if he was unhappy.

    I'm hoping this summer we'll be able to do some longer trips on the bikes; he now has a trailer and a seat that goes on the handlebars and loves the short trips we do.

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