I am thinking about buying a trailer for my 1yo daughter. They are quite common in my region (southern Germany) but I haven't seen a single kid with a helmet inside. I know that there is no law that regulates it. Does trailer's manual ask to wear a helmet? Or are there any official (not necessary German) recommendations about wearing it?
Generally helmets are recommended for carrier usage by manufacturers and governing bodies, although local cultural practices may vary depending on perceived risks.
Helmets are recommended because it is still possible to crash or even roll a trailer, just as it is possible to crash on a bicycle, even if you are riding slowly and in quiet areas. While children should be wearing seat belts within the carrier/trailer, the structures would not provide adequate protection against head injuries, making helmets the last line of defense against a head injury in the case of a crash.
We opted for helmeting our kid whenever we use the trailer in bicycle mode (i.e. not as a pram). This is why:
Our neighbours managed to flip over their trailer once. Kid got a nasty bump on the head, despite having been strapped in.
Establish from the start that bicycles and helmets go together, no discussion.
No, your kid does not need a helmet, if you have a proper trailer. Proper trailers do have belts and rollover protection. If you don't wear a helmet in your car, you don't need one in a trailer. Smaller kids without proper neck muscles should be seated in a special seat (like the fitting car seats), which doesn't permit helmets.
Manufacturer advice is mixed: Croozer explicitly states the lack of need for helmet protection inside its trailers, Weber advises a helmet a protection against hitting the side or the other kid (Ritschies are two seated models).
As you state to live in southern Germany: if you travel to Austria, helmets are obligatory, even in trailers, until the age of 12.
Opinion: I find the focus on head injuries in biking excessive. For trailers a very sturdy base tub (trailer is hit or trailer is damaged from below) and a secured connection (accidental separation at high speeds or on hard braking) is so much more important to avoid severe injuries.
Unfortunately the last systematic test by Stiftung Warentest is quite old now (2010).
I mainly go with @Leonidas: no helmet for children inside. We have a quality trailer (from Chariot).
I like my children not to wear a helmet in the trailer because:
- A helmet puts their head in an uncomfortable position (pushes heads down)
- They may cause (smaller) injuries to their sibling next to them
- In an accident, the inertia of the helmet may cause a whiplash injury.
Just to emphasize: This is highly controversial where I live (Switzerland). I even do not agree with my wife on this.
As a fact Helmets are not required by law on a bicycle or in a trailer.
I'm with the others in saying that a helmet is a good idea. Not only in the event of a crash, but also just in getting in the habit of wearing a helmet while out on the bike. For what it's worth, Ontario law requires that all riders under the age of 18 wear a helmet whether they be on a bike, in a carrier or towed in a trailer.
At 1yo (for the benefit of readers, Ops daughter is now 4 a yo), the neck muscles are not developed enough to support the weight of the head in an accident (hence rear facing car seats). Biggest risk of head injury is a fall. Belted into a well designed carrier this is a very minimal risk. In an accident with a moving vehicle, a helmet may make a difference, but other severe injuries are likely.
IMHO the risk of a helmet increasing injury is too high for the benefit it creates.
Questioning what age to put the child into a helmet, I suggest given the low risk of a fall from a bicycle trailer, when they progress from using the trailer to riding a bike themselves.
Some real-world experience: today I crashed and flipped the trailer on its side. With two helmetless kids in there, one kid's head hit the ground through the trailer fabric.
With one child in the middle, it might act more like a roll cage, but with two it did not.
Now I'm searching the internet trying to figure out how to keep them safer. Thanks for all your answers!
we have a 12 month old baby and a Burley Solo. Where we live there is no mandatory rules on helmet wearing for any ages (which is a shame).
I am 100% on board with our baby wearing a helmet. Although the construction is sturdy, and there is a quality belt system, I believe there are too many unknown scenarios to depend solely on the safety/contruction of the trailer and my ability to avoid an accident. So the baby (as well as me) wears a helmet.
I agree the car analogy is erroneous, they are two completely different environments.
I agree that wearing a helmet from the get-go will hopefully instill this practice as a norm for the future.
Additionally the Burley Solo has extra space behind the head specifically for the helmet bulk.