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We've recently purchased a double bike trailer for me to pull my
3 year old and 1 1/2 year old kids. I was hoping to eliminate
most of our car trips with the bike transport. However, I am
finding that the kids are really uncomfortable in the trailer
when they wear their bike helmets (which I thought they were
supposed to do by law...?). The backs of the helmets force their
heads and necks forward when they are seated. It seems to really
hurt the kids and makes extended trips impossible. Any ideas?
I Want To Make This Work!
We've had this problem too, although we aren't nearly as
committed to the trailer as you are, so we just make them tough
it out ;-) and remind them that sitting up straight helps
(although on that sling-seat I bet that's easier said than
done). What kind of helmet are they wearing? My older
daughter recently got a so-called multi-sport helmet, which,
unlike her previous bike-specific helmet, has a lower-profile
back. It seems to help her, so we may switch to that with our
younger as well. The helmets are available at bike and sport
shops, often sold with the skateboarding stuff. My local bike
store assured me they were approved for biking as well. Happy
We had this problem too when we first started riding with our now
3 yo. We folded a thick beach towel and placed it as a backrest.
This makes a gap at the top of the back allowing room for
helmets to rest against the trailer backrest without the
chin-to-chest gymnast move. My 3 and 1 yos ride happily!
Ideally I'd get a shaped pillow to fit there, as the towel does
mush and slide over time, but it's an easy fix to boost it back up.
We had the same problem -- we solved it by lengthening the
stafey straps a little and sliding throw pillows behind our
girls who are 2 1/2 and 5. This gave enough room for the
helmet so they could look straight ahead. We have no complaints
now and they think it is fun to ride in the trailer.
Wearing a helmet in the bike trailer was an issue for my toddler
son, too. We put a pillow behind him in the trailer. This created
space behind him for the protruding helmet, so that his head was
no longer pushed forward. I hope this helps!
Sounds like you need different helmets. There are kid helmets
that have a flatter profile in the back so that their heads
don't get pushed forward.
We just got one at REI - where we could try helmets on our
little one and plop her in a trailer to test out.
Biking w/ baby
We had the same problem and solved it by using a small couch pillow that we got at
IKEA. It sits below her helmet and provides the space needed to keep her happy.
Good for you for following the rules. I swear whenever we ride,
I never see kids wearing their helmets in the trailer.
That said, we had the same problem as you. So, we rode to the
bike store and tried on a million helmets, until we found one
that did not push down over his forehead and eyes when seated
in the trailer. I think it was a Bell. But of course, every
child has a different comfort zone. My son did well with this
helmet too because it has vents like ours, and prevented his
little noggin from getting too sweaty.
My daughter is 2-1/2 and while she loves riding on the bike seat on the back of my
bike, she has always hated (screamed, writhed, pitched a fit) having the helmet put
on her head. I tell her it won't hurt if she stops scrunching her head down into her
neck and lifts her chin up, but she still mostly does the former, making it a battle to
get it on despite patient encouragement. Today the buckle (advertised as
impossible to pinch kids with) actually did pinch her chin when I put it on and she
was beside herself - major backward step. I don't want to put it on loose and
floppy as this would defeat the safety purpose of the helmet. She loves it once
we're going, with the breeze in her face, but hates helmet going on and off. Tonight
we're putting the helmet on and off her bear, and ''helping'' him with his helmet
phobia - maybe that will help. But any other advice, or experience with this
problem? I want to ride to more local errands with her but can't take the fear and
First, I applaud you for having her wear a helmet, as I see many
kids without helmets riding with their parents who are often
helmetless themselves. To help her understand the importance of
her helmet I think you should stress the safety issue. She can't
go anywhere in the car without being strapped in, and the helmet
is like a seatbelt. Its job is to protect her. If she wants to
ride a bike, which apparently she does, she has to wear the helmet.
One thing you can do is buy some special stickers she can use to
decorate her helmet, and make it clear that the only way people
can see how beautiful it is, is to wear it when she rides.
My husband and I walked around the house wearing our helmets for
a few days to get our daughter to think that it ws normal and
actually desirable to wear the helmet.
Put it on loose and tighten it on her head.
Can anybody recommend a store in the area (Oakland/Berkeley)
with a good selection of, and experience in the fitting of,
bicycle helmets for toddlers?a (I would be willing to drive
a little out of the way for a good quality helmet with proper
fit!)a We basically need something that my 2-and-a-quarter
years old son can start wearing so that he will develop the
habit that he wears one whenever he is on a set of wheels,
whether it be a bike, skateboard, rollerblades, etc.a (Right
now he has a very low-to-the-ground tricycle.)aaThank you!
No need to drive out of your way! Both Missing Link (Shattuck near University)
and VeloSport (MLK at Virginia) would do a fine job. Our son got his first
two helmets there (age 6 months and 3 years).
Try Hank & Frank Bicycles on College Ave.
They carry the Bell brand for children. I bought one for my son when he was
3. Bell is one of the best brands. My whole family has the bell brand head
gear. This company is well known for making motorcycle helmets.
Try the Missing Link on Shattuck at University. A fair percentage of the
staff have kids of their own, and most of them are knowledgeable about
fitting helmets for toddlers. However, just before the start of Fall
semester is one of the busiest times for Berkeley bike shops, so if you go
there (or anywhere else in Berkeley) on a weekend the shop may be too
crowded for you to get individual attention. Go on a weekday morning if at
all possible. Jennifer
We just bought a bicycle helmet and seat for our 16 month-old son. We
haven't tried them out yet, but I have a feeling it will be quite a
challenge to successfully get him to accept wearing the helmet. He
doesn't like caps, hats, etc--pulls them off right away, and the few
times we've tried to put the helmet on, he's pulled it off. So far,
I've tried wearing a helmet around to show him that it's ok, I've put
his helmet on his teddy bear (he pulls it off,) and I've tried to not
let the helmet not be too much of an issue by just keeping out among
his toys so that he can play with it a little. (He hasn't) We really
need to use the bike with him in it for transportation and we think
once he gets on the bike, he'll really enjoy the ride. However, we
also want to avoid a dramatic scene that might scare him off from the
helmet and bicycle for a long time. We're wondering if parents out
there have any good ideas about how to successfully get the helmet on.
We had a toddler helmet that came low (almost over the ears), that our
son refused to wear. When we tried a more adult style helmet, still in
toddler size, he was much happier. I think he was terribly uncomfortable
in the first helmet, and that's why we had the problems. Now he rides to
How about taking your son to some place where lots of kids
are riding their bikes while wearing their helmets? Seeing
the other kids wearing helmets could make it seem like a
great thing to wear. The big courtyard at Thousand Oaks
Elementary School on a sunny weekend is one suggestion.
You can talk about the helmet being part of the bike ride, just
like shoes are part of walking outside.
Good luck with the bike helmet. One thing that seemed to help
with my son is that I had him pick out some nifty stickers,
little shiny dragons, hotdogs, etc., and stick them on his
helmet. I think that made it seem more like it was his. Hope
My daughter is a bit older than your child - she is 2 1/2
years - so I am not sure if this will help at all....She is
beginning to really understand the concept of 'cause and
effect'. We JUST returned from a bike ride - my husband and I
are avid cyclists and it something that I love to do. I have
gone through a great deal of frustration with the whole helmet
thing...we have been doing this in baby steps but she loves
being in the bike seat so the rides have been very close to
home, neighborhood cruises and the moment she takes her helmet
off and refuses to put it back on, the ride is over! If we are
close enough, we are off the bike and walking and if too far
for walking, I take a big risk and ride her home but we are
done! We have even gone so far as to call daddy, he comes to
get her and I get to ride home. We have gone through about 5
scenes such as this over the past few weeks - today, when she
took it off, I stopped the ride told her to put it back on or
the ride was over and she asked to put it on. Felt like a big
breakthrough, we'll see next time. Also, she had been using a
helmet passed on from her brother and always complained that it
was too hot. Maybe true, maybe not but we did decide to invest
in a new helmet which even to me seemed like it would be more
confortable to wear. More food for thought...I am a
chiropractor and maybe his spine is not able yet to deal with
the extra weight of a helmet. Ripping it off maybe his only
way of letting you know that it hurts or is uncomfortable.
Good luck to you!
My 17 mth old son also wants to pull off all hats, and when I first put his
helmet on him he cried and tried to get it off....until I got him on the bike.
As soon as we were moving he loved being on the bike so much that he
doesnt care about the helmet. Now I put him in the bike seat FIRST and
then tell him we are going on a ride but that we have to wear our
helmets on the bike. This works, but putting it on before he is in the seat
does not, who knew????. I leave the helmet out as well and now he
goes and gets it and says bike. So the fear of the helmet has been
overcome by the fun of the ride. Hope it works for you.
We have had the same problem w/ our 20 month old. We didn't ride
for months b/c she rejected the helmet. Enter playmobile. We had
an accompanying problem of issues w/ the burley trailer. I
spotted a playmobile set that is a mom/daughter bicycle and
trailer set. The pieces are VERY TINY. We make it a special
heavily supervised play time. Otherwise we keep it way up on the
mantel. But we take it down, and play act about a bike ride, and
always put the tiny helmets on mom and baby before they ride
(tickle game). She asks to play w/ it each day. She's worn the
helmet 2-3 times since we began the ritual. This sort of thing
has worked well w/ my daughter before. To get over diaper change
resistance, I put a lot of kleenex around her teddy bear's
Our son does not generally like fancy sun hats either. Nor did
he like our lengthy bike helmet search, which required many
helmet fittings. Every helmet that went on was protested in the
stores. However, once he associated ''helmet on'' with ''fun bike
riding time with mom and dad'', it was no longer an issue. We
just said, ''And here is YOUR special BIG BOY bike helmet, just
like mom and dad's to keep your head safe!'' It really helps if
mom and dad serve as a good examples by willingly wearing their
helmets as well. I notice lots of parents ride without bike
helmets alongside their children who are wearing helmets.
Just try it, you'll be fine! Biking with tots is great fun!
We've commuted by bike regularly with our toddler since he was
about age 8 months, so he was younger when we started the helmet,
but along the way we have had periods of resistance. My
- distract him while you put it on (can one person blow bubbles,
sing a silly song, etc. while the other puts it on?), it may be
that once it is on the ride itself will distract him from wanting
- be VERY careful to NEVER pinch his neck in the buckle! I can't
emphasize this enough. We always have our son look way up before
buckling/unbuckling, and put our fingers under the strap behind
the buckle just in case. The few times we pinched him were very
memorable and and understandably traumatic for him.
Try VeloSport on MLK at Virginia. That's where my son's first helmet came
from. He has a big head, but he started wearing it when he was about 6 months
old. I'd consider selling or loaning it, but it was in an accident. The
brand was a French name (man's name, first and last--Louis Varnaux?).
I bought the smallest one I could find when my daughter was about that age
(9 months) and then stuffed extra socks into it because it was still 'way
too big. In retrospect it would seem that socks would reduce the efficacy
of the shock-absorbing properties so this was not necessarily a good thing
to do. I just couldn't find a smaller helmet.
... in reference to "stuffing" a helmet with socks so it
fits a very small passenger ...
Oooh! Not a good idea. I think most doctors will tell you (they told
me) that you should wait until they're at least a year old. The problem
with putting a helmet on too soon is that their little necks just aren't
ready yet and the added weight of a helmet can actually cause serious
injury (i.e.. you stop short for some reason and they might not be
strong enough to stop their head and helmet from whipping forward too
fast). Most helmet companies don't make really small helmets for this
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