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  1. #1
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    How do You Keep a Helmet on a Little Guy?

    I searched the forums and found no threads on this topic, but I can't imagine I am the only person to ask this, but here goes...

    I got the bike trailer and a helmet fitted perfectly for the 1 year old. In the store, he loved the helmet and squealed in delight! I was pleased.

    I get the trailer together and put the baby in it. So far so good.

    Then I get the helmet on, and he won't keep the darn thing on, which I expected. It's at the point that he tries so hard to yank it off that the chin strap chokes him and I have to get the helmet off quickly before he hurts himself.

    So I gave in and rode around the block a few times without a helmet on him and I felt extremely guilty about it. I always wear a helmet myself and I would prefer if he wore one, but if he's going to choke himself, well, I guess I have to choose the lesser of two evils.

    I guess I could try to wait before riding with him, but on the trails I see significantly older children also screaming about their helmets, so time might not make it better--I would think it would make it worse. He wore a corrective helmet for a flat spot on his head which weighed more than his bike helmet, so it's not an issue of weight and neck/head support for him. He started taking the corrective helmet off, too, and the doctor said he was going to hurt himself, so we stopped using it a tad early.

    There is no helmet law for cycling in MN, no matter what age, so I am breaking no laws, but I would still prefer to use a helmet with him in the trailer if anyone has any advice for keeping the darn thing on him.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Ours didn't like them wither. I relaxed helmet use in the trauler since it has a top frame to where it if rolled over teir head wouldn't hit the road or anythhing anyway, basically the trailer is like a big helmet. when we moved our olders from the trailer to a seat he was told no helmet no ride and after a couple times he understood.
    We did replace the bike style helmets with the skateboard style which are simple round ones rather than the streamlined bike ones which stick back in the rear to hit the seat backs.

  3. #3
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    I'm having a hard time w/ my 4.5 yr old; her previous helmet was weird, it was oblong sideways so too wide but not long enough. We tried 2 other kids helmets at my preferred LBS, a red one was just generally too big, and a blue one fit exactly perfectly, sat right down on her head exactly as it should. But, it was blue, so there was that barrier to getting it onto her hread.

    So we went to another shop, just out of curiosity, and they did have a pink one, sold, no questions asked. And it will fit her perfectly but it will also fit her tilted back up. It's weird, it looks like it's designed to wear it pushed back, like kids like it, and then there's a label on the box saying don't wear it that way! So anyway, it's pink so it passes the put on the head test, the next question is how much rasslin' it will take to keep it at the right angle for forehead protection.

    I have to say, in a good trailer, strapped in with harness and lap belt, and then a rollbar on top, I don't really see the helmet as crucial, so I never got tooooo bent out of shape when she would slide it around. But it's never to early to get them in the habit. And now she's moving out to a trail-a-bike and dome-shielding seems a lot more crucial so now I need her to wear it correctly.

  4. #4
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    Like the hat and sunglasses, it's all in the sales pitch.


    But my sample size is only one kid, so what do I know?

  5. #5
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    I don't own a trailer, but if you start letting your child ride in one without a helmet, you are not going to get them to use one in the future (until they fully understand why they have to use one at the age of 4, I would say.) Since your child is only 1, I don't think you are going to be able to get your child to use a helmet. But don't give up. Every time you go out for a ride, put it on. Eventually, the time of use will increase and they will get use to it. Good luck.
    As for using one while riding a bike when they get older, I would say be firm (no helmet no bike). Kids naturally want to be free so wearing a helmet makes them feel constricted. You should definitely let your child choose the helmet instead of buying one. All kids have a preference and will be more likely to wear one if they can choose it themselves.
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Folder4life View Post
    I don't own a trailer, but if you start letting your child ride in one without a helmet, you are not going to get them to use one in the future (until they fully understand why they have to use one at the age of 4, I would say.)
    Ours was three when we moved him out of the trailer. A couple time of "no helmet=no ride" and he understood.

  7. #7
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    Ya, I have been at least attempting to put the helmet on him at each ride the past few days, and I will continute that method.

    I understand the "no helmet - no ride" idea, too, but by then he will be understanding the English language a little more than he does at 12+ months.

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    Thats where we had the problem, the 12-18 month range where they are in the trailer and don't really understand. We would just put it on and put them in the trailer and the helmet would eventually come off. But each ride the helmet would stay on longer and longer.

  9. #9
    On the road to health. Griffin2020's Avatar
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    I have found that the best way to keep the helmet on is superglue...but it is a pain to get the durned thing off after the ride...

    j/k, nothing of value to add...

  10. #10
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    I have been sticking the helmet on the 1 year old as he walks around the house, and he is at the point now where he pulls once on the helmet and gives up, and will keep the helmet on! I can't believe it.

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    Long, sharp nails

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    My kids are in their 20s now, so I don't have recent experience with this, but what I can tell you is that there was never a choice.
    I've heard people say this same thing about car seat belts: "My 4-year-old won't wear it." I'm an open-minded parent and usually tried to give my kids a part in decisions that affected them (or at least the appearance of a part, so they felt they were involved). But I'm not going to debate safety with a child.
    One is a tough age to impose discipline (and just wait until he's 2), but what choice do you have?
    Incidentally, please be sure the helmet sits square on the head, not tilted back yokel-style the way kids seem to wear them. I spent 30 years as a newspaper reporter and covered many bike crashes where kids wearing improperly fitted helmets smacked their foreheads on pavement. The helmets were useless, because they covered the one part of the head that was least likely to hit the pavement.

  13. #13
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    Helmets are a strangulation hazard for small children. Never let him wear or play with a helmet unsupervised.

    Quote Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
    I have been sticking the helmet on the 1 year old as he walks around the house, and he is at the point now where he pulls once on the helmet and gives up, and will keep the helmet on! I can't believe it.
    Last edited by phinney; 07-26-09 at 08:41 AM. Reason: clarity

  14. #14
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    krazyglue worked for this guy

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    we let our 1-y/o choose her helmet, and even when I'm pushing her on her trike she wears it and loves it. she knows that if she doesn't wear a helmet, she doesn't go anywhere, and I've cancelled rides for non-compliance. she wears it in the wagon and whatever else she's in and is open.

    create the habit early to avoid problems in the future problems. makes me so mad to see kids riding on the street with no helmet on.
    gravity, friction, physical exhaustion: these are the demons you must slay in order to be a cyclist.

  16. #16
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    My 2-yo daughter has no problem keeping her helmet on. However putting it on is tough. She finds it ticklish each time me or my wife tries to put it on. But once it's on, she's ok with it.
    We tried to have her look up pointing to a bird or plane. That way her chin will face up. However that window of opportunity is only a few seconds. Any strategy to put helmet on a child who thinks it's a ticklish game?
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  17. #17
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    Helmets often interfere with the seat in the trailer. If they are securely strapped in, what will they hit their head against if it tips over? I dont think a hemet is necessary in a bike trailer. Does he have to wear the helmet in the car seat? For a bike or trike, I agree with the rule. no helmet, no ride.

  18. #18
    too old for bike shorts? cyclehen's Avatar
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    I think it's no helmet, no ride. Rolling over is not the only threat-- collision with a car or another cyclist could also happen. I'm a physical therapist who has worked with kids with severe head injuries, and know that you really really really don't want to go there. If you can't keep the helmet on, wait a while and try again. If you are not consistent, i will only be harder later to make it happen.
    +1 on the importance of proper fit and supervision.

  19. #19
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    I didn't read all replies so if it was already mentioned sorry, I put the helmet on my daughter before we even took her out for a ride. I can't remember the exact age but she had just started standing so about 8-9 months old. At times she didn't want to wear it so we let her know that if she wanted to ride to the park or around the block the helmet had to be on. As you can imagine we had a few fits and time outs. This is no different than any other behavior correction we have had to make with her. But now she wears her helmet with no trouble and will remind me to put my helmet on for that ride around the block.

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    Try letting him play with it in the house like a toy. Put yours on and let him mimic. Make it playtime. Extend the time until he's comfortable with it. Then try snapping it on and let him get used to that too. When he no longer resists, take him for a ride!

  21. #21
    On the road to health. Griffin2020's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    For a bike or trike, I agree with the rule. no helmet, no ride.
    So, everytime he/she gets on the trike, the helmet goes on?

  22. #22
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    Our daughter's problem with the helmet was that the back of the trailer seat pushed her head forward and down into an uncomfortable position.

    We put a Boppy pillow around her waist. It supported her back a little and gave her enough space to move her head around.

    We did this from 12 months until 21 months or so. At around that age she was big enough to be comfortable in the trailer with the helmet and without the Boppy.

    Additionally, a quality helmet will help. We bought her a Trek Lil' Dipper (in pink, natch) and she loves it. She also uses it on her Stryder bike without a problem.
    I clicked on "view first unread" for this?

  23. #23
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    My 14mo. old doesn't have an issue wearing it in the trailer, but refuses to wear it off the trailer for sufficient time for me to adjust it for best fit. I've done neighborhood rides without it too before I got a helmet for him as I believe the trailer and harness system in the Cougar provide good roll over protection. One reason I got the helmet was social pressure.

    I don't think that one should equate riding a bike and riding in a trailer for teaching a helmet requirement.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7speed View Post
    Our daughter's problem with the helmet was that the back of the trailer seat pushed her head forward and down into an uncomfortable position.

    We put a Boppy pillow around her waist. It supported her back a little and gave her enough space to move her head around.

    We did this from 12 months until 21 months or so. At around that age she was big enough to be comfortable in the trailer with the helmet and without the Boppy.

    Additionally, a quality helmet will help. We bought her a Trek Lil' Dipper (in pink, natch) and she loves it. She also uses it on her Stryder bike without a problem.
    We went and bought skateboard style helmets because they didn't stick back behind the head as far as a bicycle helmet, the LBS had them and recommended them, seems they were aware of the issue already.

  25. #25
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    (I realize this thread is a couple weeks old...)

    I have our 2 year old wear a helmet in the bike trailer. The 7 year old too, when she came along for the trek cancer ride. To help with the younger one, we have a little ritual for putting on her helmet (she calls it a "hat") that involves patting her helmet (open handed - on the top) and then she does mine, and we do this back and forth a couple of times. Makes it a bit of a game. Also, yes, in the trailer the backrest makes the helmet push forward on her head and is uncomforable. Solution? A small pillow that came with her bedding. It's about 10x10 and leves her enough room beween her and the seat back for the helmet, and is thin enough so it doesn't push her off the front of the seat. Now when we look through cycling magazines she says "is that you daddy?" "no, that's not me- that's someone else" "he's on a bicycle?" "yup, and see? He has his hat on" "yep!"

    she has to have her helmet on to ride her scooter, tricycle, or fisher price bicycle outside.

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