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I almost killed my 6yr old this morning

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I almost killed my 6yr old this morning

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Old 09-12-07, 07:42 AM
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Junkdad
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I almost killed my 6yr old this morning

Not to be overly dramatic, but I have come here to seek solace after one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

I have been riding to school with my kid for a few years, and this year my younger son started Kindergarten. It's a little too far for him to ride his own bike so i got a Trail-a-bike.

I have been having a little trouble with the connection from the trail-a-bike to my bike, and this morning when I inserted the bracket and pin, the bracket wasn't in far enough so the pin didn't actually go through the bracket.

About a quarter mile from home the trail-a-bike disconnected from my bike and my son took a vicious fall. Thanks goodness he is okay. he has scrapes on his knees, hand, and face. He thought it was his fault!

I don't think he wants to get on a bike again for a while, but that should be the least of my worries.

Have pity on this careless dad...
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Old 09-12-07, 08:04 AM
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As a father of two (soon to be three), I can sympathize about how awful you must feel.

On the other hand, you can take solace that this cautionary tale will probably keep many others from making the same mistake. As parents, we've all made mistakes involving the safety of our children. Most of the time we're pretty lucky, sometimes not so much. The truly important thing here is to learn from your mistake and communicate to your wee one that you made the mistake (but it sounds like you already did this).

I'm very happy to hear that your kid wasn't more seriously injured.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:07 AM
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Glad to hear your son is okay, but I have to ask, what did you tell your wife and how did she respond?
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Old 09-12-07, 08:09 AM
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Oy.
Worst. Feeling. Ever.

You have my sympathy. I'm glad it wasn't worse.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:14 AM
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I left my wife a message. Haven't talked to her yet. I'm guessing she won't let us ride again for a loooong time. But, that's the least of my worries. She's pretty understanding, but I expect her to be very disappointed in me.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:18 AM
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That will make him tougher. Glad he is ok. Keep at it with your cycling endeavors.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:31 AM
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I'm really sorry to hear that, but I'm glad he's OK. My wife walks my son to school but I occasionally ride with him to the neighborhood pool. He gets quite a sense of accomplishment out of it since there are a couple of hills between our home and the pool. I take the opporunity to teach him to (a) keep to the right of the roadway, (b) stop at stop signs, and (c) signal turns. I still have to keep a very close eye on him during this short ride but he seems to get a lot out of it.

How far is the ride and how old is your son? Does his bike have gears?
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Old 09-12-07, 08:32 AM
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Oh man. My Dad went through a similar thing with me. There was a steep, steep, hill to get back on the rails-to-trails path (Illinois Prairie Path). I had a decidedly heavy Schwinn tornado (with steel fenders and a foot long motocross style seat) I hit the hill with speed, but lacked enough power to crank the bike to the top. I was standing on the pedals trying to go forward and rolled backwards down the hill until I crashed in the gravel at the bottom. He was SO upset that my BIKE was the cause of the crash. If I had hand brakes instead of coaster brakes, I could have stopped ON the hill.

I dunno. It wasn't that bad. Later that summer I could pull that hill. (I just had to come in from a different angle as fast as I could.

In summary. I remember the crash. I remember how bad my Dad felt. I don't blame him. It just happened.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:34 AM
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My daughter just turned 4. I looked into a trail a bike, but was concerned that cognitively she may not be ready to grip the handlebars for the duration of the ride. I have a fear she'll let go. Is 6 a good age to start her? She has a little training wheel bike.
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Old 09-12-07, 08:39 AM
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I've almost killed my kids twice, while driving. It's a horrible feeling. I analyzed what I had done wrong, and tried to make some general rule I could remember and follow to make that same thing less likely to happen. In your case, maybe a rule would be to double-check the pin, and then generalized to double-check anything critical to safety.

(My new rule for driving is never make any change of plans that results in a sudden change of direction while driving.)
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Old 09-12-07, 08:55 AM
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I'm glad your kid is okay. I can guess that now fixing that pin will be real high priority.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:00 AM
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My wife took my son to school on the Trail A Bike one morning, and didn't put in the linking pin in AT ALL. My son took a spill but he was ok. Things happen.

I'm considering putting some kind of 2nd link on there as a failsafe, but haven't figured it out yet. Maybe a cable lock or something...
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Old 09-12-07, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for all the comments!

I will certainly learn from this!
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Old 09-12-07, 09:10 AM
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Hang in there, and don't think for a minute that was the last fall he'll have on a bike! They are all learning experiences.

Last year while we were all riding my daughter waited until we said ok to cross the street and she crosses the wrong street at the 4 way in the wrong direction right in front of a moving car even after checking both ways herself! We freaked and luckily the car wasn't speeding. These things happen, don't dwell on it too long and don't freak out too much cause it will cause more fear than the accident itself.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:15 AM
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Kids fall down all the time. Nature gave them a resilience we can only dream of.
We all make mistakes, you just need to learn from them.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:18 AM
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I have a two and a half year old son, and any time something happens where he gets hurt, it makes me sick to my stomach. We as parents want to protect our "babies", because that what we are supposed to do, and when something goes wrong, our fault or not, if you're like me, you just feel sick.

I understand how you must feel, and I'm happy your son is o.k.

My guess, is that you'll NEVER make that mistake again ... that is what your experience is about. "Live and learn" as the old cliche goes. It just sucks when we learn at the expense of our kids.

Maybe the "fail-safe" mechanism that Lucky07 is talking about, is something the manufacturer should be developing ... probably a safety chain like used on a trailer hitch for a car or truck would help. At least the trailer wouldn't come completely unhinged.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:24 AM
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Been there done that (sort of). I completely sympathize and felt as horrible as you do.
Mine was with a trailer. I put it together and went around the block to get used to it. On the first ride with my new hybrid and the new trailer I forgot to buckle my son in. Plus, not being used to the change in cornering and center of gravity I tipped it. Poor kid was scrapped up on his elbows and knees a bit. More traumatized than anything. I ended up pushing the bike home while carrying him.
I felt like a complete arse.
It took me several weeks to get him back in it.
Several years later he does more to hurt himself than I ever could.
Still I f'd up and felt horrible (still do). Now I take my time, there is no reason to rush with a kid.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:38 AM
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I don't have a kid but I'm certain that's just an awful feeling.

The thing about little boys though is that this is certainly not the last scrapes/bruises/abrasions you'll find on him. Good luck getting blood out of his clothes for the next several years.

I'm sure, in the end, he's none the worse for wear. Another day in the life of being a little boy.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:46 AM
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Maybe you could use this to teach him about bike safety. Explain what happened with the link pin. From now on have him go over all the connections with you. Like a pilot and co-pilot thing. You could do a safety check before every ride - every thing from the helmet down to the safety pin. And then get back on the bike right away.

I would think that the more time that passes from that episode to when he actually gets back on the bike, the more he will associate bicycles with that spill. But, it may just take time and him seeing other kids having fun on their bikes before he wants to get back on one himself.

Even if he doesn't get back on right away, you could let him help you attach the trail-a-bike and watch you ride it around the block a few times.

Don't beat yourself up though. Scrapes, bumps, bruises, a chipped tooth or two, the occasional broken limb, and sometimes worse, is all a part of a boys childhood.
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Old 09-12-07, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jcwitte View Post
Maybe you could use this to teach him about bike safety. Explain what happened with the link pin. From now on have him go over all the connections with you. Like a pilot and co-pilot thing. You could do a safety check before every ride - every thing from the helmet down to the safety pin. And then get back on the bike right away.

I would think that the more time that passes from that episode to when he actually gets back on the bike, the more he will associate bicycles with that spill. But, it may just take time and him seeing other kids having fun on their bikes before he wants to get back on one himself.

Even if he doesn't get back on right away, you could let him help you attach the trail-a-bike and watch you ride it around the block a few times.

Don't beat yourself up though. Scrapes, bumps, bruises, a chipped tooth or two, the occasional broken limb, and sometimes worse, is all a part of a boys childhood.
Im really glad your sons OK, but I think before you can use this as a tool for teaching safety, you should/could admit to your child that it happened due to you not being safe I know some of you wont like this reply but its the truth, that trailer should have been checked and double checked BEFORE you sat your boy in it It'll show him that everyone makes mistakes, including dad, and he'll be more likely to admit HIS mistakes in the future Im not trying to make you feel bad and apologize if I do, its not my intention, my intentions are for you to make sure it never happens again by teaching your son to check and double check both the trailer and the bike, and showing him that, in some situation, its OK to make a mistake and own up to it
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Old 09-12-07, 10:25 AM
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Yeah the first thing I did was show him how I made the mistake.

It is actually a trail-a-bike, not a trailer


I got the trail-a-bike second hand from a friend, and the seatpost shim was the wrong size for my bike. While getting the seatpost attachment on my bike, I slightly deformed the hitch just enough to make it difficult to push the two pieces together.



I thought the hitch was all the way on and inserted the pin, but the pin didn't go through the hitch. I spent some time today investigating and fixing the part, and this won't happen again. Too late though!
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Old 09-12-07, 10:30 AM
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I was the one with the trailer issue. Trust me, my son knows that his dad makes mistakes.
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Old 09-12-07, 10:50 AM
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Good for you for owning up to your son right away - I think that's a really important part of this whole incident.

I have a 2.5 year old daughter, and I get how you feel...

Hope your son is able to get back on the bike soon - perhaps, if he is a little hesitant, can you get him to help you connect the trail-a-bike and do an overly dramatic double-check so that it's re-enforced in his mind that the previous mistake has not been repeated? If you get him to check it over (regardless of whether he's properly able to or not, it's him helping you and him feeling like he's making a difference - which is important), to include him in the process, it might help out a lot more.

DJ, oof - wow. I almost forgot to strap my daughter in AND get her helmet on two seperate occasions - she's getting old and wise enough now to remind me/help out - sometimes I'm so frantic with getting everything together and hitched up that I forget the simpler important things.
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Old 09-12-07, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Lucky07 View Post
My wife took my son to school on the Trail A Bike one morning, and didn't put in the linking pin in AT ALL. My son took a spill but he was ok. Things happen.

I'm considering putting some kind of 2nd link on there as a failsafe, but haven't figured it out yet. Maybe a cable lock or something...
I don't yet have a trail-a-bike, but I like your thinking... I use a Little Tykes kiddie trailer thing, and I always use a secondary car-intended "strong" bungee as a backup safety strap in case the trailer hitch ever screws up.

I've only ever had the trailer come off once, when going to pick my daughter up, so luckily she wasn't in it at the time - but the safety strap it came with and my secondary bungee made this affair much less of a big deal.
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Old 09-12-07, 11:29 AM
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Glad your kid isn't hurt. I wrecked once while towing our trail-a-bike. The front wheel slipped off the sidewalk and hit a muddy spot at the same time I tried to steer back onto the sidewalk. Me, my son, and bike went down on the right side. My son was OK, he was ready to get back on the trail-a-bike and ride again, but it bent the derailleur hanger on my bike.
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