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babies and bikes

Old 08-02-13, 07:12 AM
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babies and bikes

Howdy,

So I am not completely car free, but working towards it. My second child is due this winter and am wondering at what age is it ok to let him ride in the trailer with my other son?

Thanks,

Micah

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Old 08-02-13, 07:43 AM
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The usual recommendation is 1 year or until the child can support their head well-- don't forget the helmet weight. My son started at 9 months with an added infant head support pillow thingy in a Chariot Cougar. I think that we still have the support thing so if you have a Chariot trailer, I'd be happy to pass it on.
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Old 08-02-13, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by amdoo
The usual recommendation is 1 year or until the child can support their head well
Really? How do parents who are car free (using bicycles as transportation) transport their infants for medical appointments and such? Do they not make trailers/seats for transporting infants like they do for cars?
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Old 08-02-13, 09:58 AM
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IAMAMRA, I ask this question and got some very thought provoking answers. One to consider is are there any local laws? Some states have a one year old restriction. Another consideration is the posibility of shaken baby syndrome. May not show up for years. I know there are some here that have done it from infancy with no problems but if not nec. why take the risk. Many foriegn country's like Dutch and Netherlands, this practice is probably common but with less danger from motorist. To me, it is no more than using a jogging stroller and jogging. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-02-13, 10:15 AM
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Oh and another thing that I had not thought of is public trans. Cabs don't have baby seats and not sure what is legal on trains and buses. Years ago when my kids were litlle, we used a nice trailer and didn't even think about it but times and info has come a long way.
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Old 08-02-13, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Tony N.
IAMAMRA, I ask this question and got some very thought provoking answers. One to consider is are there any local laws? Some states have a one year old restriction. Another consideration is the posibility of shaken baby syndrome. May not show up for years. I know there are some here that have done it from infancy with no problems but if not nec. why take the risk. Many foriegn country's like Dutch and Netherlands, this practice is probably common but with less danger from motorist. To me, it is no more than using a jogging stroller and jogging. Good luck with your decision.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is mostly caused by physical abuse. I don't think the vibrations on a bike would be comparable to the forces of shaking a baby.

Personally, I doubt if a bicycle causes more vibrations to a baby than a stroller on the sidewalk, or even carrying the baby in arms, with every footfall being a sudden deceleration. I'm not convinced that a bicycle is worse for a baby than even an automobile. I don't have any figures to back this up, but neither does anybody else (that I can find). It's something to wonder about.

Originally Posted by Tony N.
Oh and another thing that I had not thought of is public trans. Cabs don't have baby seats and not sure what is legal on trains and buses. Years ago when my kids were litlle, we used a nice trailer and didn't even think about it but times and info has come a long way.
on city buses, infants children need to be out of the stroller and held by parents. I see that a lot of parents carry their baby everywhere in a car seat, including when walking or on the bus. I have no idea how much protection an unsecured car seat provides. Here's a link talking about taxis:
https://www.taxifarefinder.com/newsro...oung-children/
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Old 08-02-13, 10:50 AM
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They do make fairly protective child seats, including some designed for infants. Wide cushy tires would certainly help a lot with vibration, but crashing would certainly not be good for an infants developing body, so you'd want to be fairly sedate and risk averse in your riding style.
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Old 08-02-13, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by storckm
They do make fairly protective child seats, including some designed for infants.
Could you provide some links? I have been searching and can't find any child seats that don't say they are designed only for children able to keep their head up while wearing a helmet.
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Old 08-02-13, 12:18 PM
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Here is a link for a few. It appears that the recommended age is 12 months and up. See the reviews for particular information. I am sure that the internet is full of these sites, these are just the ones that I saw first, I hope it helps in some way.
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Old 08-02-13, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by LexKing
Here is a link for a few. It appears that the recommended age is 12 months and up. See the reviews for particular information. I am sure that the internet is full of these sites, these are just the ones that I saw first, I hope it helps in some way.
LexKing. Thanks for the link; however, those have the same issue I mentioned. They don't work with infants (or whatever the term is for the period from birth to about a year). I am truly curious what parents of really young children do to take their infants to the doctor, etc.. if they are without a car and rely on bicycles for transportation. Since it doesn't appear that any devices are made to safely transport children that young.

None of the carfree people I personally know are in this situation, but none of them would be able to rely on public transit (too limited in origins and destinations) to accomodate routine child medical care not to mention more urgent (but not emergency) care.
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Old 08-02-13, 01:36 PM
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PlanoFuji

I would be interested to know about the younger children's carriers as well. I have not been able to find 0-12 months seats listed. Everything that I have seen is for 12 months and up. It would appear that if someone makes a car carrier for a child less than 12 months, then surely someone makes a bike carrier for the same age bracket. Good luck with your search. You may have to settle for something like this.

Last edited by LexKing; 08-02-13 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 08-02-13, 05:59 PM
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I agree about the Portababy type of carrier. I also agree with Roody about the shaken baby but it was brought to my attention by a BFer that was just concerned. 30 years ago, I used a backpack to carry my little girl on afternoon rides on my back and now I shudder at the thoughts of some civilian calling DSS on me. :-) She was old enough to hold her head up and enjoy the ride. I have also heard of child bike carts that have a sling type of arrangement for small babies but can't find it now. Also our Sams Club has a cart that has adjustable springs which is also a joggin stroller for about $200. I'll get the name of it next trip. I read somewhere (internet) recently about a couple that took their very young baby (can't remember age but he was nursing still) tent camping in a bike cart and it was great. Wife/mommy blogged about it. Think they used the child/baby car seat strapped in the cart plus cushions f neck support.
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Old 08-04-13, 11:07 AM
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Apologies if this is a bit off topic...

My wife had to be hospitalised around 2 months after giving birth this year. I needed to take our newborn son in to see her. Stupidly I drove (a borrowed car) to save time getting to the hospital...

Driving carefully down a straight road, someone on the inside lane decided to do a u-turn right in front of me without looking...

The scariest moment of my life was to be involved in that car accident. Thankfully nobody was hurt including my newborn son. Luckily I was travelling well under the speed limit. If I had been doing the speed limit (80km/h), then I would say the accident would have been fatal.

I have no idea why people think taking babies in cars is somehow so much safer. There's risk in everything.

I found the best means of travel with our newborn was on the train. If you're by yourself, it's so much easier to attend to the newborn in the pram. As well, baby bjorn style carriers that carry your baby on your chest are also ideal. He enjoyed looking at people, out the window and could see me or my wife as much as he wanted.

Anyway, after that incident we're happy to remain car free.

If I needed to take our 6 month old in a bike carrier then I would ride slowly, just a bit more than walking pace and away from cars as much as possible.

I would have gotten a bike trailer, however my wife much prefers walking.
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Old 08-04-13, 03:35 PM
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It has been years and things have changed a lot since this was a concern for me but today that have better trailers than they did when I hauled my son in one. we had some super trick car seat designed by GM that looked like a survival pod from some sci-fi movie. I built a trailer to fit the car seat. Today you just need a kid trailer and a floorboard and you can mount many good infant carriers. Here is just one example.

https://www.amazon.com/Maxi-Cosi-Mico...nfant+car+seat

The reason I suggest adding a floorboard is because most modern car seats need something to mount to. A cloth bottom just doesn't work. Still I doubt my wife would let me take an infant on a bike even in a trailer under 6 months old. Cold and wet weather can be another topic all together. And hot weather needs to be taken into consideration.
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Old 08-04-13, 04:31 PM
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I know I've seen pictures of infants in bicycle seats (see here, here, here, here, and here), but I haven't been able to find any models designed for infants. I've heard that in other lands, carrying a child in a sling or backpack is common, and I've seen it done here too.
I haven't been able to find the picture I have in mind, but if I remember it correctly, it was a seat in between the front handlebars where a baby could lie down.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:10 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/Yepp-Mini-Bicy...rds=child+seat

This dutch seat is said to be ok for 9 months old babies.
Actually it is not that different from those that are 12 months and over. But CYA disclaimers inthe US tend to be bloated.
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Old 08-04-13, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji
LexKing. Thanks for the link; however, those have the same issue I mentioned. They don't work with infants (or whatever the term is for the period from birth to about a year). I am truly curious what parents of really young children do to take their infants to the doctor, etc.. if they are without a car and rely on bicycles for transportation. Since it doesn't appear that any devices are made to safely transport children that young.

None of the carfree people I personally know are in this situation, but none of them would be able to rely on public transit (too limited in origins and destinations) to accomodate routine child medical care not to mention more urgent (but not emergency) care.
It's been a few years (almost a quarter-century), but when I was the parent of an infant we did a lot of walking to such things. We lived, on purpose, near the local hospital in a small city that could be walked end-to-end in about 90 minutes. There was maybe a five minute edge to driving to the hospital over walking and if an issue had arisen that was serious enough that five minutes mattered we would have called for an ambulance. It was a twenty minute walk to our pediatrician's office.

Our ancestors have more years invested in walking than our species has existed for. I'm not going to give up on it completely just because it is easier to pedal a bike.

By the way, we never did put our son into a trailer. When he was two years old he began riding stoker on a tandem; he just rested his feet on a stand. A year or two later that tandem was rebuilt as a rear-steer tandem with a kiddie crank and that's how he rolled for a few years, except when he wanted to ride his own bike. When we took the inter-city train we brought a whymcycle and rode double (once he was three years old). (A whymcycle is a scooter with the rear hub off-center so that the rear of the bike goes up and down as you move. It is propelled by a rhythmic pumping motion.)
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Old 08-07-13, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji
LexKing. Thanks for the link; however, those have the same issue I mentioned. They don't work with infants (or whatever the term is for the period from birth to about a year). I am truly curious what parents of really young children do to take their infants to the doctor, etc.. if they are without a car and rely on bicycles for transportation. Since it doesn't appear that any devices are made to safely transport children that young.

None of the carfree people I personally know are in this situation, but none of them would be able to rely on public transit (too limited in origins and destinations) to accomodate routine child medical care not to mention more urgent (but not emergency) care.
Walk (with stroller), take public transit (with stroller), call a taxi? In emergencies, there is a thing called an "amberlamps" or something that comes and gets you from your house and brings you to the hospital. Shocking, I know.

Some people carpool or ask relatives/friends for help too. Most cities have a car share program now too. One other option is to request a house call, I know it can be done where I live.

Also, your town has pretty crappy public transit if it doesn't go to medical centres..

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Old 08-07-13, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by kmv2
Walk (with stroller), take public transit (with stroller), call a taxi? In emergencies, there is a thing called an "amberlamps" or something that comes and gets you from your house and brings you to the hospital. Shocking, I know.
Your sarcasm is noted (and quite childish). I was asking from legitimate interest. In most of the US, walking and public transit are not really options. Taxi's are certainly an option but can get extremely expensive very quickly. Since children under 1 need to see doctors suprisingly often for non-ambulance (which are also EXTREMELY expensive) level reasons I am curious how car-free folks can accomplish those trips since apparently none of the bicycle child carriers are designed for children under 1 year...

Yes, it is shocking how rude folks on this forum are. One would think that riding bicycles would improve moods, which evidence indicates is not the case.
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Old 08-07-13, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji
Your sarcasm is noted (and quite childish). I was asking from legitimate interest. In most of the US, walking and public transit are not really options. Taxi's are certainly an option but can get extremely expensive very quickly. Since children under 1 need to see doctors suprisingly often for non-ambulance (which are also EXTREMELY expensive) level reasons I am curious how car-free folks can accomplish those trips since apparently none of the bicycle child carriers are designed for children under 1 year...

Yes, it is shocking how rude folks on this forum are. One would think that riding bicycles would improve moods, which evidence indicates is not the case.
Don't ask a silly question if you don't expect a silly answer.

Taxis can get expensive quick, yes.. but so can owning a car. One or two ~40km round trip taxi rides here equates to about a month of just the cost of a month's auto insurance. Also, multiple alternate solutions noted.

Correct me if I'm wrong in my assumption but I don't picture the average "car free" parents living in a rural nowhere, 50 miles from the nearest town. I'd like to hear from them also.
It annoys me when they are portrayed as hapless rubes for not owning a car. Your questions imply that.
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Old 08-07-13, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by kmv2
Don't ask a silly question if you don't expect a silly answer.
In fact it wasn't a silly question. Shame you seem unable to get over your apparent chip on your shoulder.

Originally Posted by kmv2
Taxis can get expensive quick, yes.. but so can owning a car. One or two ~40km round trip taxi rides here equates to about a month of just the cost of a month's auto insurance. Also, multiple alternate solutions noted.
In my town (one of the largest urban areas in the US), I would drop over $40 for a cab ride to/from my doctor, which is a trip of about ten miles. No transit is available for that trip, and if I chose a doctor on a transit line, it would require changing bus routes at least once and make the travel time approach two hours each way. Transit in this country is geared to get people to/from work places and doctors seem to locate in non-transit areas in much of the country (with a couple of exceptions).

So with the relative frequency that children require doctors visits, or simply visiting relatives and friends. Taxi's don't seem to be a viable option.

Originally Posted by kmv2
Correct me if I'm wrong in my assumption but I don't picture the average "car free" parents living in a rural nowhere, 50 miles from the nearest town. I'd like to hear from them also.
It annoys me when they are portrayed as hapless rubes for not owning a car. Your questions imply that.
Yes you are wrong in most of the assumptions you appear to have made.
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Old 08-09-13, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji
In my town (one of the largest urban areas in the US), I would drop over $40 for a cab ride to/from my doctor, which is a trip of about ten miles. No transit is available for that trip, and if I chose a doctor on a transit line, it would require changing bus routes at least once and make the travel time approach two hours each way. Transit in this country is geared to get people to/from work places and doctors seem to locate in non-transit areas in much of the country (with a couple of exceptions).

So with the relative frequency that children require doctors visits, or simply visiting relatives and friends. Taxi's don't seem to be a viable option.
I think the yes/no decision on needing a car is pretty simple. Add up the number of doctor visits. Factor in the number of family and friend visits. Multiply this by the average cab fare.

Then compare to the cost of an automobile, factoring in all expenses.

In your case, the car might win out, but in other cases, perhaps not. In my experience (years ago...) I went through several length periods without a car. I found the pre-school period to be a lot easier than when the kids start interacting with others.

Had I lived in a city with good infrastructure support (including Zip cars, services close by, other parents in the same boat...) the later years might have been easier.
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Old 08-09-13, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by PlanoFuji
Your sarcasm is noted (and quite childish). I was asking from legitimate interest. In most of the US, walking and public transit are not really options. Taxi's are certainly an option but can get extremely expensive very quickly. Since children under 1 need to see doctors suprisingly often for non-ambulance (which are also EXTREMELY expensive) level reasons I am curious how car-free folks can accomplish those trips since apparently none of the bicycle child carriers are designed for children under 1 year...

Yes, it is shocking how rude folks on this forum are. One would think that riding bicycles would improve moods, which evidence indicates is not the case.
If we take that from a geographical standpoint, then it is accurate that most of this nation is indeed relatively sparsely developed. However, since we are talking about people and where they live, this should be looked at from a weighted average based on population density. Looked at that way, your contention is not in line with reality. Simply put, the overwhelming majority of Americans live in places that have pretty high population densities and adequate public transit and walking infrastructure; there's a lot of land in Wyoming and Montana, but not many people so those few people's transit woes don't mean much to most Americans.

Even when I lived in Texas with a child under age two, we had no problem getting around town and to the physician's office without resorting to using a car. This isn't as difficult as you seem to imagine it is, but it is on the other side of the looking glass for many people who have been convinced that their car addiction is necessary. It wasn't that long ago that a typical American household had one car for two adults and three children. In many of those households the car was used by the breadwinner to commute and the other parent handled those physician appointments and such without a car. It's amazing how far we have fallen in just two generations of marketing.
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Old 08-09-13, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
If we take that from a geographical standpoint, then it is accurate that most of this nation is indeed relatively sparsely developed. However, since we are talking about people and where they live, this should be looked at from a weighted average based on population density. Looked at that way, your contention is not in line with reality. Simply put, the overwhelming majority of Americans live in places that have pretty high population densities and adequate public transit and walking infrastructure; there's a lot of land in Wyoming and Montana, but not many people so those few people's transit woes don't mean much to most Americans.

Even when I lived in Texas with a child under age two, we had no problem getting around town and to the physician's office without resorting to using a car. This isn't as difficult as you seem to imagine it is, but it is on the other side of the looking glass for many people who have been convinced that their car addiction is necessary. It wasn't that long ago that a typical American household had one car for two adults and three children. In many of those households the car was used by the breadwinner to commute and the other parent handled those physician appointments and such without a car. It's amazing how far we have fallen in just two generations of marketing.
Good points. I too have found that its often the case that people who say "you can't get there by bus" have never even tried. The truth is, most medical facilities cluster together in several areas of the city, often near to the hospitals. Bus lines usually do serve these medical areas, because they are among the most popular destinations of their customers.

We often mention here that public transit does not have universal coverage in most of America. If you seriously want to be carfree in this country, you should do a little research to ascertain which of your regular destinations, including doctor offices, will be reachable with the transportation modes that are available to you.
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Old 08-10-13, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv
I think the yes/no decision on needing a car is pretty simple. Add up the number of doctor visits. Factor in the number of family and friend visits. Multiply this by the average cab fare.

Then compare to the cost of an automobile, factoring in all expenses.

In your case, the car might win out, but in other cases, perhaps not. In my experience (years ago...) I went through several length periods without a car. I found the pre-school period to be a lot easier than when the kids start interacting with others.

Had I lived in a city with good infrastructure support (including Zip cars, services close by, other parents in the same boat...) the later years might have been easier.
I am not talking about my case (I don't have any children). I was asking from curiosity. Even though walking and transit aren't particularly viable alternatives in most of the country the bicycle is. Indeed, even though I own a car, it is not how I get around and do most of my errands, including visits to my doctor. Many, perhaps most, folks could get by without the need for a car just about anywhere in this country. When I encountered this thread I was surprised that no one recommended an infant child carrier. And some searching on my part failed to turn one up--apparently they don't exist for bicycles. That lack would seem to make bike based car free choice difficult or impossible for many young parents. Again I am curious to hear from actual parents in that situation as to how they cope.

Originally Posted by B. Carfree
If we take that from a geographical standpoint, then it is accurate that most of this nation is indeed relatively sparsely developed. However, since we are talking about people and where they live, this should be looked at from a weighted average based on population density. Looked at that way, your contention is not in line with reality. Simply put, the overwhelming majority of Americans live in places that have pretty high population densities and adequate public transit and walking infrastructure; there's a lot of land in Wyoming and Montana, but not many people so those few people's transit woes don't mean much to most Americans.
I have lived and worked in most of the US, and would have to disagree with your claim that the overwhelming majority have adequate public transit. There are very few places in the country where relying on public transit would not consume a significant portions of a person time during the day. But again, I don't want to hear from folks whose experience is decades old (if it exists at all) with transporting infants. I am curious as to how actual car free parents of infants do so today, and if any are outside of the handful of locations where non-bike options are viable. Perhaps even more importantly, does anyone actually manufacture and sell a carrier for a bicycle that can safely carry an infant?

Originally Posted by B. Carfree
Even when I lived in Texas with a child under age two, we had no problem getting around town and to the physician's office without resorting to using a car. This isn't as difficult as you seem to imagine it is, but it is on the other side of the looking glass for many people who have been convinced that their car addiction is necessary. It wasn't that long ago that a typical American household had one car for two adults and three children. In many of those households the car was used by the breadwinner to commute and the other parent handled those physician appointments and such without a car. It's amazing how far we have fallen in just two generations of marketing.
As I said in the previous paragraph, historically being able to transport infants to medical and such was much simpler. For a variety of reasons including the fact that families and communities were less spread out. My experience with one car families was clearly different then yours. When the car was needed to perform household errands the house spouse would bring the other spouse to/from work and then have use of the family auto. The only exception to that general rule was when I lived in one of the few areas with an extensive transit system, New York.

And it isn't marketing to doubt that walking is a viable transport for most of the country... It is a fact of the choices people have made and the way they have developed our urban areas. Heck, your own case is an example. It wasn't very long ago that you were claiming to put 15,000 miles on your bike per year since you use it for your transportation needs. That is curiously close to what the average car owner puts on their automobile per year. I doubt there are very many people who can claim anywhere near that amount of mileage while walking for transportation per year...

Again, I have no interest in debating this with those espousing theories. I would just like to hear from ACTUAL parents who are CURRENTLY car free with infants and how THEY do it (and where)... I have some young friends who are about to be in this situation and are considering whether they need to buy a car.
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