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My husband and I like to take our 3.5 year old daughter for bike rides and she rides in a trailer. But the problem is that she is sitting idly on a calm, mostly smooth ride on a bike path surrounded by beautiful scenery and she often falls asleep! Her head bobbles around and even slight bumps put stress on her neck.

I need some way to help support her head or somehow allow her to lay or recline safely in the seat. Is there some kind of hack or product I can use to help her? I think ideally her trailer seat would recline, but I don't know if something like that exists.

I'm not comfortable with the seats that mount onto the frame of the bike because I feel they are not very safe for a number of reasons. If I fall or hit something on the bike, the trailer stays upright and of course she has a helmet anyway. But a fall with a mounted seat could be much more dangerous for her.

Anyone have ideas/suggestions for how to keep my little one a little more comfortable (without compromising safety) in the trailer on long rides?

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    Basically, you need a child's seat for a 3-year-old, one that will support the head and neck while sleeping. Then figure out how to fit that inside your trailer. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 31 '17 at 1:50
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    A U-shaped travel pillow, in a appropriate size? – Argenti Apparatus Jul 31 '17 at 2:03
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    Are they wearing a helmet in the trailer? We found that this adds significantly to the problem, especially as the backs many of the trailers were never designed with helmets in mind despite instructions indicating helmets should be used. – Rider_X Jul 31 '17 at 2:16
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    Much the same applies to car seats for toddlers - their heads can slump forwards even if there's some support to the sides. And they're common. A rear mounted seat wouldn't help with this anyway - I looked at modifying ours – Chris H Jul 31 '17 at 6:00
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    @Criggie with one that still falls asleep so easily, a tagalong or trailer bike would seem like a very bad idea - they'd simple fall off. And even the best preschooler has a bike for fun not transport - a good idea in its own right but not if you need to get somewhere – Chris H Jul 31 '17 at 6:03
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I hacked the seat in our burley trailer to recline by decoupling the seat top from the frame tube it ran through (required disassembling the trailer), and suspending the seat top instead from some climbing webbing which could be tightened or loosened with a typical adjustable nylon clip. I did that so the kid could recline a bit more and sleep more easily. I also ran some pool noodle down the sides of the interior to act as bumpers. The first thing made the kid more comfortable. The second thing made me more comfortable. She'd still fall asleep and her head would sink or flop, and I couldn't believe her neck didn't hurt, or that she wasn't choking herself with her head that far forward. (I eventually tried that position and realized it does the opposite with the chinstrap.)

Finally, I learned to chill.

The same thing happens to kids in cars. And on airplanes. And in the jogging stroller. And when you walk a baby around in a snugly. Are you aware of actual injuries resulting from this? I'm not. And I looked. I couldn't find anything on this (or in car seats) on pubmed.

Don't get me wrong, I used to worry about this with my kid in the trailer as well. (And I took mine on 50-80-mile days beginning when she was 9 months old.) However, before I did that, I created a baby test dummy (a large doll, weighted, with a 3d accelerometer on its head. Yeah, I was crazy.) I ran the numbers from the bouncing in the trailer against numbers from bouncing walking around the house, down the stairs, on the trail nearby, and the peak Gs were all comparable, and very low. When she was older, she never reported a sore neck from sleepflopping in either a car or bike trailer.

There are gadgets designed to support kids heads by wrapping around their foreheads, but frankly, I'd worry more about a choking risk from that than I would a neck injury from a floppy head.

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