Biking

You don’t brag about it, but you’re relatively certain you’re the greenest mom on the block. You tried to get fellow moms to use cloth diapers. You also make your own baby food and only use homemade cleaning products. And the car? Pshaw! You’re a human-power type of gal. You use your bike or feet to get from point A to point B. And you absolutely can’t wait to get your kiddo a bike. Unfortunately, the tike is too tiny to peddle on her own just yet.

Just because junior can’t bike alongside doesn’t mean you have to leave him with a sitter. There are quite a few bike child carriers that can be safely added to your bike.

A few common sense precautions to take with kid cargo:

  • Don’t ride on high-traffic streets, or during high-traffic hours of the day.
  • Ride in areas with bike lanes, or on bike trails.
  • Buy your child an appropriately sized helmet.
  • Obey traffic laws.
  • Your toddler should be able to sit and support the weight of her head. Children under 1 are not ready to wear helmets, and should not be taken on bike rides.

Child bike seat

Bike seats are attached to the front or back of a bicycle. Most bike seats are made for toddlers who weigh up to 40 pounds, and typically suited for kids aged 1 to 5 years. Seats are typically lightweight, but can make bikes more difficult to maneuver. A child’s fall from a bike seat is approximately 3 feet.

Bike trailer

Bike trailers are great for toddlers and kids aged 1 to 6 years. Most models can carry 85-125 pounds (approximately 1-2 kids is a great rule of thumb). Trailers are enclosed and easy to steer. Children sit and are strapped into the carrier. Trailers are low to the ground, so they are difficult to see. Trailers should be used on bike trails and have an attached safety flag to make them more visible.

Trailer cycles

Trailer cycles have one-wheel extensions that allow children to pedal (don’t worry – the wheel won’t affect your cycling). Trailer cycles are not a great choice for young children (typically recommended for kids aged 3 to 6 years, but some models are made for kids aged 7 to 10 years).

What to do during bike rides:

Talk to your kid!: Ask them about their day. Talk about what you see on the bike ride.

Discuss helmet safety: tell her how important it is to wear a helmet. The information will lodge in her brain and stay with her as she ages.

Be enthusiastic: the more excited you are about biking, the more excited your kid will be. Explain how biking is good for the environment and awesome for your health! Sure, some of the conversation may go over your kid’s head, but eventually the lessons will stick.

Resources:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/bike-helmets/buying-guide.htm

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/bike-trailers/buying-guide.htm

http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/cycling+with+children.html

http://grist.org/biking/babes-in-bikeland-advice-for-cycling-with-kids/

Image: I See Modern Britain