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kids in a trailer how young is ok

Old 01-29-08, 05:12 AM
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sula
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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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Old 01-29-08, 08:20 AM
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One year old is what we heard and what we used. Make sure they wear a helmet.

Since a baby takes a few months to gain the neck strength to support their own head, clearly you need time to develop a strong neck for the additional weight of a helmet.

https://www.ibike.org/education/infant.htm




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Old 01-29-08, 08:24 AM
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I'd absolutely wait until the baby can hold its head up well. That's about all I can contribute to this thread.
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Old 01-29-08, 11:13 AM
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I'd say one year old--that's what helmet manufacturer's recommend, and their infant helmets might not even fit the head of a child who is under one year old. Also, check your state law. Here in NY, cycling with an infant under the age of 1 is verboten by the state's Vehicle & Traffic Law. My daughter's first ride was shortly after her first birthday. She hated it then, but now, at 9 years old, she wants our tandem to be her only form of transportation!
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Old 01-29-08, 01:52 PM
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We went at 3 months using a car seat strapped into the trailer, but if you actually want the child to participate and see things, you'd have to wait until he/she could support the head w/ a helmet on, wouldn't you think?
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Old 01-29-08, 02:58 PM
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My 2 cents worth -- from a 54 y.o. codger with a 16 y.o. son -- and I apologize if this sounds condescending or anything like that (and, no, I haven't done a trip like you're thinking of, so there is virtually no tandem content here) :

Wait a few years on this trip.

The helmet people know how the helmets are sized and have done some thinking about protecting growing skulls. I could see going for shorter trips, with helmet, at an older age, but ... 4-7 months age is just too young.

I know that Sacajawea carried her newborn on her back with Lewis and Clark, but ...

I would guess that your daughter is your first child, right? Spend the time with her at home, it's a great age to get to know kids.

End of spring in central Europe might not be the best time climate-wise to have her in a trailer behind the tandem, where you can't really see what's going on / respond to her, etc. If you're planning on only 50-km days of cycling, and a lot of time for stopping, feeding, changing diapers, etc., and she was a year old, well, maybe.

The logistics of weeks on the road with a small infant would seem daunting.
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Old 01-30-08, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
My 2 cents worth -- from a 54 y.o. codger with a 16 y.o. son -- and I apologize if this sounds condescending or anything like that (and, no, I haven't done a trip like you're thinking of, so there is virtually no tandem content here) :

Wait a few years on this trip.

The helmet people know how the helmets are sized and have done some thinking about protecting growing skulls. I could see going for shorter trips, with helmet, at an older age, but ... 4-7 months age is just too young.

I know that Sacajawea carried her newborn on her back with Lewis and Clark, but ...

I would guess that your daughter is your first child, right? Spend the time with her at home, it's a great age to get to know kids.

End of spring in central Europe might not be the best time climate-wise to have her in a trailer behind the tandem, where you can't really see what's going on / respond to her, etc. If you're planning on only 50-km days of cycling, and a lot of time for stopping, feeding, changing diapers, etc., and she was a year old, well, maybe.

The logistics of weeks on the road with a small infant would seem daunting.
I met my wife here in Kuwait she is a Canadian Teacher, I am a Brit in Oil & Gas, we had our kid here. We do daunting. But I take your point, I think we may go sailing for a few months instead, my daughter started sailing with us from two weeks. Folk thought that was prity odd to but hey there you go. I agree with you I think the trip may be to much. I have riden between 20 to 30 countries including a crossing of the Gobi desert on a tandem so have a fair idear of what is involved. Still we will see what comes up.

Cheers
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Old 01-30-08, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
We went at 3 months using a car seat strapped into the trailer, but if you actually want the child to participate and see things, you'd have to wait until he/she could support the head w/ a helmet on, wouldn't you think?

Went were? For how long? Issues problems spill the beans!
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Old 01-30-08, 08:30 AM
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Burley used to recommend old enough to wear a helmet.

I know several couples who have strapped a baby car seat into the trailer and had no problems.

I don't know which approach I would take today.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by djsincla View Post

What is that trailer... thing?
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Old 01-30-08, 10:59 AM
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We started at about 6 months in a Burley trailer. At that point her neck could easily support her head. We also started helmets in the trailer, and now 8 years later have no problem with the kids always wearing their helmets.
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Old 01-30-08, 04:28 PM
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We started at 3 months, which is much younger than most recommend here. But we bought a special German-made polystyrene bike seat which straps into the trailer (a bit like a car seat only lighter) leaving the baby leaning back, strapped in and the seat suspended in the trailer. As far as we could tell she loved it as it brought her forward in the trailer so she could see what was going on and held centrally so no danger of bumping anything. She was perfectly comfortable, warm with lots of clothes and blankets and normally went to sleep quickly.

We did that until she was about 9 months old and too big for the seat, at which point she had to sit in the trailer proper, which she didn't like for the first few goes. Now she's 1 1/3 and has graduated to one of those hamax seats which clips onto the seat tube, which she likes but doesn't like sitting still and wearing her helmet.

On the subject of helmets we didn't use one in the trailer as we would normally only ride to and from the park on the road with her. After that we would do 4 or 5 laps on a road for bikers, dogs etc. which I didn't think was dangerous. Also she's in a box made of 1" aluminum section, which can't fall over and has to be safer than a rear seat or similar. I thought that if a car hits it and crushes that, then a helmet won't help.

In terms of length of rides, we would normally do about an hour, or nap length plus a bit as it seemed unfair to do something if she wasn't enjoying it or getting bored. We only went on a couple of long rides with her. One was about 2 hours, out of South London, which she didn't like at all and I didn't like it either as the roads just felt far too busy and unsafe with a trailer. The other long ride was about 3 hours, but in France and along a disused railway with about 3 stops for lunch, playground and interesting stones and was lots of fun with singing, racing old french blokes and other crazy stuff.

The message is that the trailer is a great way to get the family on the bike. It's not a tool for allowing people to do winter training rides while 'caring' for their kids - that's not fair, so you may need to adjust your riding ambitions. Also don't try too much at once.
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Old 01-30-08, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sula View Post
Went were? For how long? Issues problems spill the beans!
Well, mrfish summed things up for us pretty nicely, too, but, to answer your question, our first ride was on pavement only (actually, all our rides are on pavement only), on a road that's closed to auto traffic 3 out of 4 Sundays a month during spring-autumn. It's a 10 mile out-and-back, and there are a lot of cyclists out there, too, so whatever risk there was, IMO, would have come from other cyclists. Most trailers have such a low CoG that it would take quite a bit to put them on their sides, or worse. We were able to securely fasten the carseat into the trailer, and even though the kid's too young for a helmet, I'm in agreement w/ mrfish in that anything that would cause issues in that space a helmet probably would not have been of help anyway. I think the longest ride we ever went on was maybe a couple hours or so; at that age they're going to be doing more sleeping than anything else, but I think there's a practical limit to how long you can subject them to riding along (since they will eventually become hungry and/or need a diaper change).

Yeah, I'd do it again, as we didn't encounter any issues that were unexpected; like others have said, just plan something reasonable and make sure the equipment's in good shape and you have plenty of time. That said, though, your original plan did sound a bit ambitious. Perhaps try the trailer-behind-a-tandem thing first and see if you really do want to go from the Baltic to the Med... On the plus side, if they don't totally reject cycling, chances are good you'll have a riding buddy for a while, as ours will go on tandem and single rides with me now (at age 14).
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Old 01-30-08, 09:17 PM
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An opinion from 28 years as a shop owner. The helmet companies said 1 1/2 year old or when the childs neck is strong enough to not be wipped by the helmet in a crash. Trialer manufacturers usually said the same thing.

We would recommend using a child car seat well strapped into a trailer. We have had a couple on tour in France with a 6 month old. As early as you can put a child in a car seat, they can ride safely in a trailer . . .probably more safe than a child with a helmet only in my humble opinion. The car seat is a cocoon.

Sure the child can not experience the scenery, but I think it is still a positive experience for the child going out into the outdoors with their parents, and parents certainly need thier exercise.
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Old 01-30-08, 09:23 PM
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Here is a picture of clients near the Dordogne River in the Lot Department with Belcastel in the background. They used a child seat.
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Old 01-30-08, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
What is that trailer... thing?
Its a Hase Trets. A Trike for a child that converts to a trailer and back. I made a small modification using a second cut down fork which allows the handlebars to be used without the fork "prongs" hanging down while being used as a trailer. Eight speed rear derailleur and auto adjustable frame/chain. Avid BB5's disc brakes. A bag on the back we pack a picnic lunch so we do not have to have heavy panniers on our Tandem.

https://www.hasebikes.com/ens/kettwie...=zub&bike=kett



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Old 01-31-08, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by djsincla View Post
Its a Hase Trets.
THAT IS SOOOO COOOL!!!!

Thanks for posting those pics.

also wondering..does that attach to the back of the other Hase trikes if you leave the full fork in place?
 
Old 01-31-08, 12:47 AM
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I am not recommending this (just in case any lawyers are listening) but we started riding with our baby in a trailer at 4 months. We use a Chariot trailer and for the first few months we used the baby sling to provide better support for the small baby - very similar to having the kid in a car seat. Please note that Chariot does not recommend that the baby sling be used when in trailer mode.

Oh well, we must be bad parents. But our daughter LOVES riding in the trailer and we have proven that it is plenty safe. We even managed to roll the trailer by taking a turn too tightly and hitting a curb with a trailer wheel. We turned the trailer back upright and looked inside to make sure the kid was alright - She was still in there napping away (no, not dead or unconscious). I take a wider arc around turns now. Yeah, a helmet _might_ be a good idea, but at this stage she is too small for a helmet to fit, plus I think that she is safer without it due to the higher stresses a helmet would put on her neck. And what can her head hit while she has a 5 point harness holding her inside a big cage?





Audrey is now a year old and have been on all sorts of rides with the trailer ranging from rallies and group rides to easy rolls down bike paths. We would have missed out on a lot of fun as a family if we had followed the official instructions written by the lawsuit-fearing corporate drones.

Again, this is not a recommendation, just relating our experience.
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Old 01-31-08, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by djsincla View Post
Its a Hase Trets.
Thanks, that's a very interesting machine. Does he ever hit his brakes while you are riding?
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Old 01-31-08, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron View Post
THAT IS SOOOO COOOL!!!!

Thanks for posting those pics.

also wondering..does that attach to the back of the other Hase trikes if you leave the full fork in place?
Yes - I have a Kettwiesel Al recumbent I ride. It can attach to a KettWiesel with the Kett bike coupling and the Kett additionally has an adapter plate to accept a Webber coupling.
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Old 01-31-08, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
Thanks, that's a very interesting machine. Does he ever hit his brakes while you are riding?
No... but if he did, I would adjust the BB5's and/or the cable length.
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Old 01-31-08, 09:01 PM
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We rode with our son in a well padded trailer when he was about 9 months. He wore a helmet although there were many times that we would stop and the helmet would be in his hands. We had a couple of rides though where we were not on the same wavelength and he cried A LOT where you are just SO SURE that everyone is about to call the authorities on you!. We had him in a rack mounted bike seat by about 3. It would be so funny when he'd fall asleep with his head PINNED against your back! We're planning our first bike tour this summer - he'll be on the back of the tandem. Start 'em early but be safe and smart ;-
Tandemracer - your baby is adorable!
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Old 02-01-08, 03:50 PM
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Im so glad I stumbled in here. I recently found a Burley on the cheap and when I brought it home my wife and I got to talking and realized we had no idea how old a kid should be to ride in one. After seeing this I now have now insight, thanks guys.
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