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I have a small-for-his-age 14-month-old who loves the bike trailer and sleeps blissfully in it, or just watches the scenery. So long as I'm pushing it like a pram, and he has no helmet on.

When the helmet goes on he tugs and twists it until it's over his face then gets enraged. He can be distracted after putting it on and gets used to it. Until he's put in the bike trailer.

The helmet pushes his head forward and down when he leans back. He hates that, so he always twists off to the side, slumps over, and lands up wedged in a corner, angry and uncomfortable. Putting something behind him helps a lot, but he still tends to slip over (straps aren't really small enough, etc.) and get uncomfortable.

I just discovered that if I wedge him in with panniers on each side he's comfortable as anything, and in fact he promptly went to sleep. I'm not too comfortable doing that regularly though, and it's awkward.

So. Any advice on a good way to support a small child in a bike trailer, so they don't easily slip over? He quite likes it when he's supported, but I don't want to use pillows etc. when I can't easily monitor him.

What do others use? If anything?

  • Does your bike trailer have a firm seat, or just canvas? – Joe Aug 10 '15 at 14:33
  • @Joe Just nylon/canvas, not a formed seat. Good point. Might be worth finding one with a shaped seat. – Craig Ringer Aug 10 '15 at 23:29
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    Indeed. Or you can make a seat for some of them - I did on mine with a board sized appropriately. Has to be very carefully sized to be safe though. I'll also note that it's hard to get a kid his age happy in a bike stroller - my younger wasn't happy until he was around 18 months, and he's big for his age. – Joe Aug 11 '15 at 6:38
  • Does your bike trailer have support for a maxi-cosi? We used to put our little one in one of those and then fastened the whole thing to the bike-trailer. – Erik Aug 11 '15 at 13:56
  • This would be better for bicycles.stackexchange.com But, what trailer do you currently have? – BPugh Sep 1 '15 at 19:41
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I imagine at 14 months, your child's neck is pretty good but I doubt it's up to the weight of a helmet for any length of time.

Add to it the helmet is poor fitting, and the cyclist in me cries. Even following all of the guides.. rim above the eyes, rear edge on the right above the neck...straps go around the ears etc, etc. a helmet even for the right age group may not right correctly. Adding the extra padding into one often just adds that extra weight and traps in more uncomfortable heat.

I would suggest if at all possible re-cycling the soft trailer for something more fitting, or for a full on child seat. I know, that means your little one is forced upright and cannot lay down, but the only other thought I could offer is something like this https://www.burley.com/product/encore/ Where there is a full seat that is designed to go into the trailer.

Personally, for an ex's small child we used a toddler child seat on the back of my bike, the hard plastics felt really good, it had just the right amount of padding, and he could look around, and if he did fall asleep (quite frequently) the straps and the head rest fit with just enough of a recline that he always fell asleep without falling over.

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When our son was that small we strapped his carseat into the trailer seat, to the trailer frame. Between the carseat and the trailer frame I was comfortable with his level of safety even without a helmet (e.g. had the trailer somehow rolled over, the trailer would keep him from dragging on the ground).

We only rode on bike paths, not streets, but honestly if you're worried about getting hit by a car going 40 MPH the helmet won't make a huge difference.

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Are you absolutely sure a helmet is necessary when transporting your kid in the trailer? I have a trailer too and have never even considered making our daughter wear a helmet, but then this is The Netherlands. I can actually imagine the added weight puts a lot of strain on the kid's neck, even in normal operating conditions.

And bike trailers are safer in a collision than you might think, check the German ADAC website.

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    In some countries like Australia helmets are mandatory for everybody on a bicycle, including 1-year-olds strapped to a bike trailer. (And yes, I had exactly the same problem as the OP...) – lambshaanxy Sep 12 '15 at 13:28
  • We used the trailer for the first time two weeks ago for our 3 month old daughter. I'm not sure if she was quite ready for it, her posture wasn't brilliant, but I can only imagine it would have been much worse with a helmet on her head. – KeithWM Nov 4 '15 at 22:27

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