Author Topic: Minimum age for cycling with child?  (Read 4210 times)

littlebird

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Minimum age for cycling with child?
« on: February 28, 2017, 08:25:23 AM »
We're a one car household who make extensive use of public transit and bicycles. We're expecting our first baby any day now and will be sending her to a daycare about 1 mile from our house starting when she's about 3 months old. The dilemma is that although 1 mile is not too far to walk, the daycare is also 1 mile from the train, so it's really more like 2 miles which is awfully time consuming when you're trying to get to work in the morning (train is only .3 miles from house).

We would love to transport to daycare on a bike, either in a trailer or perhaps some kind of cargo bike but I can't find much info online about a safe age for doing this. The few things I have found indicate that the baby should be at least 9 months old because of vibrations being bad for their brain or somesuch. Is that true? Does anyone here cycle with their infants? What do people in the cycling meccas of Europe do with their infants?

If we can't bike we'll probably have to default to driving the car there which seems silly because it's not very far.

PharmaStache

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 08:31:41 AM »
I believe my bike trailer said 1 year (although I cannot find the manual and it's driving me a bit crazy right now…).  In my province, the child must have a bike helmet on to be in the bike trailer.  Even when my child was 11-13 months old (the first summer we rode with him) the helmet was awkward and he could barely hold his head up.  It was much better the second summer when he turned 2. 

littlebird

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 08:46:22 AM »
A helmet, of course that makes sense! I wear a helmet every time I ride, I don't know why I didn't think of that for the baby. That's a much more compelling reason for waiting to me than "vibrations".

waltworks

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 08:47:09 AM »
We started at about 3 months using a Chariot with an infant sling.

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Gin1984

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 09:01:45 AM »
A helmet, of course that makes sense! I wear a helmet every time I ride, I don't know why I didn't think of that for the baby. That's a much more compelling reason for waiting to me than "vibrations".
As a neuroscientist, the "vibrations" are a load of crock.  The fact that the infant should wear a helmet and does not have the strength to even hold up his/her head much less a helmet is not.  I'd wait till the child can hold up his or her head.

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I'm a red panda

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 09:02:44 AM »
What do people in the cycling meccas of Europe do with their infants?


Can't answer about Europe, but in Mexico I've seen babies in 5-gallon buckets bungee corded to the bike...  Or being worn on the body of the rider in a baby-wearing wrap.  (Don't think I'd do either, but hey- options.)


I would not bike with an infant who does not have strong enough neck control to support their head with a helmet.

historienne

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 09:32:28 AM »
Until baby is old enough, maybe just bike the leg from daycare to the train on your own?  Lock bike overnight at daycare.  Not a perfect solution, because you have to leave the bike outside 24 hrs/day, so there's going to be more maintenance (and wet seats when it rains), but better than nothing.

Jacks flunky

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 11:00:49 AM »
Medical recommendations in the USA say 1 year, by which point your child is basically guaranteed to have head control. We started at 7 months, since our child had good head control before then. We used a bike cart without a helmet until one year, as the risk of neck injury is still elevated even for a child with good head control. The cart served as a roll cage (once demonstrated when I hit a curb while transitioning to a path from the road), and our child was always buckled in a (well tightened) five point harness.

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acroy

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 11:25:35 AM »
We start around 4mo,
Baby wrapped up and laying sideways across the 2 seats, strapped in. Keep is slow and safe. No more dangerous than walking wile carrying baby. In fact, probably less dangerous, since baby is much closer to the ground - less far to fall.
By the time they ht 12mo or so, they're big enough to be strapped upright with helmet etc.
Good luck!!


I'm a red panda

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2017, 02:03:56 PM »
We start around 4mo,
Baby wrapped up and laying sideways across the 2 seats, strapped in. Keep is slow and safe. No more dangerous than walking wile carrying baby. In fact, probably less dangerous, since baby is much closer to the ground - less far to fall.
By the time they ht 12mo or so, they're big enough to be strapped upright with helmet etc.
Good luck!!

Is strapped in across the 2 seats a manufacturer approved position? Has it been crash tested? 

At least in my city, bike accidents with cars are WAY more common than pedestrian accidents- so I'd say biking with a baby is a lot less safe than walking. You aren't allowed to bike on the side walk, and will get ticketed. Pedestrians use sidewalks where cars are less likely to be.

sol

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2017, 02:23:05 PM »
We had ours in a carseat strapped in a bike trailer at four months.  I figured if it's safe enough to do in a car, it's safe enough to do in a bike trailer.  Much lower speeds involved, never on major roads, always away from traffic.

Car seats have harnesses and side protection and head cradles for infants, and you're putting all of that inside of a roll cage.  Just ride responsibly, and be aware that you are towing your single most valuable possession at all times.  Imagine it's grandma's heirloom china back there, and you can't break a single piece.

And she loved the bike trailer.  Sometimes biking her around in circles was the only way to get her to sleep.  Now she's four, and she still loves it.

Complacency is your enemy though.  We had one tip over when she was like 2.5, as I slowed around a downhill curve and it rolled.  I was so used to having her back there that I forgot about the china analogy, and took the corner too fast.  She was strapped and helmetted and totally unhurt, but she wanted to walk the rest of the day and didn't ride in it at all for three weeks.  Now we talk about that roll over every single time we get in it, and she reminds me to be more careful.

CargoBiker

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2017, 04:13:22 PM »
There are so many ways to get kids on bike.  My least favorite is the trailer.  It's a PIA to pull around, and you can't see or talk to your kid.

1. The kid in front - https://www.amazon.com/iBert-Safe-T-Front-Mounted-Bicycle/dp/B000H4E7EO

2. The kid in back - https://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-SW74625-1pk-Deluxe-Carrier/dp/B0018CX1AA

3. Another kid in front - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055PJUL0


What do they do in Europe?
4. Cargo bike: http://babboecargobike.com/product/babboe-big-cargo-bike/

And if they're newborns, they throw a car seat in the cargo bike.  I think I saw some with the kid in a sling/carrier while riding the bike, as well.



Vibrations.... omg, I'm dying over here.   They're fine to bike.

skeptic

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2017, 07:11:22 PM »
In a trailer you can bike them starting at any age. I put the carseat with infant insert into a trailer for our 1st... we may have started at 4 months or so but we could have started sooner, we just didn't need to. I bungee corded the carseat down onto the trailer to keep it snug.

That said, I am not a fan of trailers due to the hassle of towing, storing, moving, and maintaining them, and for our 2nd I just put him in the Moby wrap starting at a month and I liked that much better. I know lots of people don't feel comfortable with that from a perceived safety perspective, but it felt fine to me. Once a driver did hit me from behind (very elderly person who could barely see) but neither of us were going more than 10mph... the bike wiped out with the back wheel dented but I just broke my fall with my hands and my child never impacted anything and was not just unharmed but unfazed... all he felt was a little bounce. Of course if a car had hit us moving fast or from the side it could have been ugly but the same is true as a pedestrian holding him etc. Anyway I mention this just to show in this case the outcome was likely better than if he'd been in a trailer or (if he were older) on a bike seat with a helmet).

For a kid seat on a bike, you'll hear different numbers bandied about but the key factor is: can they hold up and control their head even with the added weight of their helmet? 99.9% of kids can do this by a year but I've seen plenty that could do it perfectly well at 6 months, and everyone else falls somewhere on the spectrum in between (though I think 9 months will cover the vast majority of kids).

The front bike seats are great for young kids if they'll fit on your bike... I'm a fan of the Yepp Mini but others are good too.

littlebird

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2017, 07:12:43 AM »
I too thought the vibrations angle was bull shit, but you know how the internet and parenting scare tactics go. I've been reading up on our state's (Massachusetts) bicycling laws and apparently it's illegal to transport a kid under 1 year of age by bike, so I guess it's a moot point anyway :-/. Thanks for all the feedback everyone!

I'm a red panda

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2017, 07:33:22 AM »
There are so many ways to get kids on bike.  My least favorite is the trailer.  It's a PIA to pull around, and you can't see or talk to your kid.

1. The kid in front - https://www.amazon.com/iBert-Safe-T-Front-Mounted-Bicycle/dp/B000H4E7EO

2. The kid in back - https://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-SW74625-1pk-Deluxe-Carrier/dp/B0018CX1AA

3. Another kid in front - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0055PJUL0


Every single one of these says it is for a kid who is at least 1 year (one says 2 years)
For a 3 month old without neck control, these are not viable options. (Though the OP has found out it's moot anyway.)

CargoBiker

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2017, 03:04:00 PM »
Every single one of these says it is for a kid who is at least 1 year (one says 2 years)
For a 3 month old without neck control, these are not viable options. (Though the OP has found out it's moot anyway.)

I was just posting about biking with kids in general.

At the end of the post I addressed newborns:

"And if they're newborns, they throw a car seat in the cargo bike.  I think I saw some with the kid in a sling/carrier while riding the bike, as well."


I've got a new son coming in a few weeks, I plan to put him in the moby or ergo or something, and just do it that way.  My bike is part of me.  It feels as natural as walking. And I walk just fine with a baby.


aprilchem

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2017, 07:56:06 AM »
We started at 1 year in the chariot.

I would never recommend riding a bike wearing a baby carrier - I had a friend who did that and got hit from behind and thrown from her bike.  She landed on the baby.  Baby did not die but was hospitalized for several days. 

CargoBiker

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2017, 08:20:17 PM »
We started at 1 year in the chariot.

I would never recommend riding a bike wearing a baby carrier - I had a friend who did that and got hit from behind and thrown from her bike.  She landed on the baby.  Baby did not die but was hospitalized for several days.

Seems like a really rare situation.

Common sense says don't ride your bike with a baby on a street where you could get hit by a car.

acepedro45

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2017, 08:37:55 PM »
Quote
I've got a new son coming in a few weeks, I plan to put him in the moby or ergo or something, and just do it that way.  My bike is part of me.  It feels as natural as walking. And I walk just fine with a baby.

I am facing the same dilemma, but I am not comfortable biking with my newborn in a moby or any other type of sling. At a minimum, it seems more dangerous to the kiddo than the risk to my own self from riding without a helmet, and I already refuse to ride without a helmet. Painted into a corner by my own logic, I guess I can't sanction using the moby this way.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2017, 09:59:07 PM »
We started at 1 year in the chariot.

I would never recommend riding a bike wearing a baby carrier - I had a friend who did that and got hit from behind and thrown from her bike.  She landed on the baby.  Baby did not die but was hospitalized for several days.

Seems like a really rare situation.

Common sense says don't ride your bike with a baby on a street where you could get hit by a car.

What streets don't have cars? It's illegal to bike on sidewalks here.

CargoBiker

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2017, 10:14:28 PM »
Streets where you could get hit by a car.  i.e. where they are going fast, or any other reason they would be more likely to hit you.

There are safe streets and not safe streets.


When I'm riding with my kid we ride on streets that have few to no cars driving on them. And they go slow when they are.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Minimum age for cycling with child?
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2017, 10:25:07 PM »
Most people I know who have been have by cars have been on streets with speed limits under 35 mph. 25 is about as low as it goes unless you are in a school zone.