So here’s a question we’ve been considering recently: should a kid be wearing a helmet while sitting in a bike trailer?
For us, the answer is a resounding YES, because head injuries can be potentially fatal or debilitating.
Now obviously you would think nothing very bad will happen to a child strapped securely into a bike trailer because you probably aren’t even going that fast and there’s a good chance there won’t be much traffic on whatever route you decide to take. Of course, you won’t intentionally put your child or niece or nephew or even someone else’s child in harm’s way. Besides, children need to learn to toughen up too, right? Nobody wants to over-coddle their children.
But consider this, when pulling a baby, a trailer may have an accident the same way as when you cycle alone. It could be when going down a slope or if you accidentally take a turn too sharply, but regardless of the scenario, it can cause your child to hit his head on the curb, road, stone or some other hard object. If two children are sitting together they could hit their heads against each other. In all of these accidents, the results can be catastrophic, especially when you consider that a child’s bones are softer and less strong compared to an adult’s and so are much more prone to serious injuries in situations that wouldn’t harm an adult
Serious fractures can result or internal bleeding to the brain that could kill or cause the kind of brain damage that can lead to a permanent disability. Why take that kind of risk with your child when it could be easily prevented by the simple addition of a helmet.
Create child habits early
Another point to consider when enforcing the helmet habit in your kids is that habits built in childhood often tend to be the strongest and most long-lasting.
If you implement the habit of wearing a helmet right from the start, your kids will continue wearing helmets even as they get older.
So consider the benefit of making your kids wear a helmet a long-term precaution. In the rough and tumble play of children which can involve raucous bike rides at least you can be content knowing your child’s head is well protected. A fracture of the arm or leg won’t kill but a blow to the head can. Better safe than sorry is what we always say.
Get a right bike helmet
A common complaint we hear due to which parents don’t make their children wear bike helmets while in bike trailers is that it makes the child’s head jut forward in an awkward way which is very uncomfortable, not to mention a choking hazard for a very young child. And an uncomfortable child is an unhappy child which in turn means the parents are unhappy due to tantrums.
There’s a very simple solution to this, which you will probably roll your eyes at for us even pointing it out, and that is to just change the helmet type which your kid is wearing! In this world of sporting enthusiasts you can easily find a helmet for your kid (or kids) which is not of a very sporty design and so it will be flatter at the back and not pointed or bulging outward. This will easily resolve the head jutting forward problem and ensure safety as well.
Or if you don’t want to go out and spend money on another helmet you could also place a rolled towel or a U shaped pillow behind the child’s back to resolve the problem since it will give more space behind the head for the helmet to fit.
Why your child needs to wear a helmet
- Kids, unlike us adults have the luxury of falling asleep pretty much wherever and whenever they want it’s very likely that the nice, rocking motion of the bike will put your kid to a deep, relaxed sleep. Wearing a helmet will make sure that your child’s head is protected from too much bumping and rolling around which could lead to an aching neck and shoulders later on or maybe even bruising to the head.
- A fact that you may not have taken into account is that since the wheels of a bike trailer are situated directly under it any jolts and shocks will be directly transmitted to the kid and actually cause more chances of injury.
- There is also a common complaint from parents that wearing a helmet makes the child too hot and sweaty and as we said right now an uncomfortable child is not a happy child. Therefore, this problem can easily be remedied by getting a helmet which has a number of vent openings so it allows for some air to flow through and so keep your child well ventilated and cool.
- Also, consider this, you as an adult are allowed to take whatever risks you want provided they don’t hurt someone else and plus you’ve had the luxury of growing up and living life. Your child, on the other hand, hasn’t had that privilege and has years and years of life and growing up and adventuring to do. It would be plain unfair to your kids to not ensure maximum protection when you have the resources to keep them from any kind of fatal injury.
- Another point to remember is that in some places wearing a helmet for an individual under 18 years of age is compulsory by law. Now this varies from country to country, state to state and city to city so you might want to check your local laws. But this is a law designed for the protection of its citizens and so there’s no need to chafe over it if it is applicable wherever you live. And can we say hats off to your responsible council people for thinking to include this rule for personal safety in the law.
Bike Trailer Tips
Keep in mind a few important points when strapping your kid or kids into that bike trailer.
- Make sure the helmet fits well and make sure your child is comfortable in the helmet because you don’t want a tantrum halfway through the bike ride.
- Double check that you have strapped and secured the helmet firmly so there’s no chance of it falling off in the case of any accidents and also double check the straps of the bike trailer itself once your child is securely strapped in.
- Do make sure your child’s helmet is of good quality so the helmet itself won’t fall apart on impact and injure the child’s head. Many lightweight, good quality helmets are available from different retailers so do your research before buying one. Eventually, the child will start associating wearing the helmet with going out and then it won’t be a point of contention anymore but something he or she will eagerly put on in anticipation of a jaunt to the outside world. Much like how children get excited when someone puts on their shoes.
Choose a good helmet for your child
Now it’s not enough to just make a convincing argument that helmets should be worn. We need to help you choose a good helmet too because what’s the point in going through all the effort of convincing your kid to wear a helmet if it just falls off in the event of a crash?
- Measure your kid’s head before buying a helmet so that you get a good fit as a poorly fitted one will not provide adequate protection in a fall.
- The helmet should be worn so that it is two fingerbreadths above the eyebrows.
- As for the style, we have already mentioned that the helmet should be flat in the back and contain vents for the comfort of the child.
- Get a helmet which has adjustable straps including a slide to adjust the size and these properties allow the helmet to fit a variety of head shapes.
- You could also get a helmet with an in-mold construction pattern as these are lighter, have more vents and are considered appropriate for bike trailers.
- Also consider getting a helmet with a pinch free buckle (yes, there are companies that are considerate enough to make that) and one with a visor so the sun isn’t in your kid’s eyes during the ride. As we’ve emphasized again and again a child needs to be comfortable to enjoy the ride.
We hope that these tips help you in making the right choice of helmet for your child. The detail in which we’ve covered it should be enough to convince you how important we think it is to wear a helmet in a bike trailer!
In conclusion, I believe we have made a fair and well-reasoned argument in favor of protecting your child by making him or her wear a helmet and that we have swayed you to our point of view. Stay safe and happy biking with your children!