Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Babes on Bicycles

I have a friend who has both a bicycle and baby. Naturally, she wants to spend time with both. She put a rear seat carrier on her bike, and is now looking at finding a helmet for her wee one.


A friendly looking woman, although not the friend I'm talking about. source

Most stuff I've seen says that a 1 year old is the absolute youngest baby that should be on a bicycle. Maybe she'll wait that long, but I haven't asked that question. I know very little about the anatomical durability of a child, but I do automatically wonder about any kind of blanket-rule like "no child under 12 months".

Does anyone have any advice for where to find a good helmet for a small head? If you have any other advice, it would be great to hear that too.

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Darren J 4/04/2007 01:01:00 PM

11 Comments:

I'm in the market for a new saddle and have been on craigslist a lot, and I noticed a kids bike helmet for $25.00 put up there in the toronto biking section on Tuesday.

I have no knowledge about the best helmets for little heads, so couldn't give any advice about whether this helmet was a good one.
The Canadian product ... WEE-Carrier is a front mount baby/child seat that mounts low (for a better centre of mass/gravity).

The child has an unobstructed view all around to the front (instead of the drivers back, or only off to the sides). The child is more likely to enjoy the experience and develop a fondness for cycling, I believe (and that is no small significance).

Also very important is that the parent or guardian driver can see, hear and communicate with the child. This is important for the child/parent bonding, obviously, and also can learn proper/safe cycling 'protocol' - instinctively, before even learning to pedal.

Check 'em out. Wee-Ride, or Wee-Carrier.
I don't know for sure - but this may be what David is talking about. Rhondda (the mom in the photo) loves it!

I'll check with my wife about helmet and babies on bicycles - she's an expert in those things. :)
We had a hard time finding a helmet that would fit our then 2 year old, but we managed to get one to "sort of" fit. We use a trailer, so the utility of the helmet is debatable, as trailers are not prone to tipping over. Even if it did, there is an aluminum hoop overhead, and the harness system is pretty good. This is the main reason we went with a trailer versus a seat.

In fact I fell of the bike once towing it up a steep and slippery wooden bridge, and my daughter didn't even wake up when I hit the deck.

Another advantage to a trailer is you can pack snacks & toys for the wee 'uns to play with in the back.

A drawback is communicating can be problematic, but stopping at parks is a great way to break up a ride and have a little playtime.

My youngest is 10 months, and we'll likely wait until he is a year before we put him in the trailer. I think he'll need a helmet to protect him from his sister trying to maul him ;)

I think the blanket-rule has more to do with the strength of the neck muscles of the child and their ability to hold up their head with the mass of the helmet.
In a carrier like the one picture, yes the baby requires a helmet and this will require sufficient neck strength. But I know people that have put their babies in trailers from a very wee age, if they are in a car seat within a trailer (that has roll bars) they don't need a helmet.
all babies and kids need a helmet even if the trailer has roll bars my Mom was a nurse at sicks and was involved with the head and neck studies, helemts work......... calll cycle solutions in the beach they have lot's of special helmets for kids...
I ment to type sick kids hospital.. sorry tired from work
www.bhsi.org/tiny.htm

The Giro ME2 is the smallest kid helmet that I found, (down to 18.5") and we've had good luck with it. I see that Bell now has a helmet that is equally small (Boomerang)
I've used a Chariot stoller with my son since he was six months. We use it on almost a daily basis for both running/walking and cycling, as well as for cross country skiing on the weekends. I believe that law says that he is required to wear a helmet. However, even if there was one his size, it would do more harm than good as the extra weight would cause greater damage in the event of an accident.

I believe the chariot to be incredibly safe, with a roll bar built in. Unitl this week, he always rode in an extra sling add on (like a hammock) that provides extra support and cushioning. I tipped him once at low speed and just kept on smiling.

I will put him in helmet when he's old enough, but that's more so he get's used to the idea that wearinga helmet is what we do when we bike. Don't get me started on helmet laws.
Wow. Thanks for all those responses. I think that gives my friend lots to work with.

That Wee carrier looks like a lot of fun for the kid. It's pretty similar to what you see on the Dutch Mother-Bikes. The one problem I see with the Wee carrier is that it looks like your knees have to be spread apart while you pedal. On the dutch bike, the child sits a bit higher.

Official Moederfiets site (dutch) (it looks like they don't have the traditional one available anymore).

The traditional moederfiet on Cleverchimp
This is the one that I'm using (Bobike mini+): http://www.bobike.nl/products/en/bobike_mini+.htm?fluxmenu=m2____m9

With both our kids we started biking in this seat when they were about 10 months old. I'm using a 'Dutch' upright bike. Even with the saddle fully backwards, I have to cycle with my legs spread apart, otherwise my knees are hitting the seat. But it works fine and it is great fun. I was even stopped and photographed some time ago!

Jeroen

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