Saturday, April 24, 2010


Helmets with babies can be an issue. Most babies I know don't like crap on their head, let alone something with a chin strap. Add the factors of bulk, weight, and the ever changing temperment, getting your child in a helmet could be a struggle. Combine this with the routine of getting your child into a helmet every time you go for a bike ride, could really tarnish the appeal of a family bike ride. I'm not speaking in absolutes, just "playing the odds" in terms of what I've experienced with George, and from firsthand experience as I carefully watch other babies. Fact is, in California, if your child is under 18, they need to be wearing a helmet. That's the law.

I really want George to like riding bikes, and I don't want him to hate wearing a helmet. What I've tried to do is making helmets "fun." I also don't want him to get worked up (in a bad way) every time our family gets the momentum to go on a bike ride, just because he can't stand having the helmet on his head. I'm just hedging my bets here... a little caution never hurt anyone. I've had some decent success with this approach:

First, I put on my helmet and tell him how fun it is and let him play with my super cool dorky mirror.

Second, I let him pound his hands on my helmet and encourage him to get any existing angst he may have towards my helmet, out. I talk about how much I love my helmet and how it protects my head.

Third, I get out his helmet and show a lot of excitement as I present it to him. Sometimes I turn on the blinking lights it has on the straps. I let him give it a thorough inspection.

Fourth, I put it on his head and show/tell him that I'm very impressed by the way it looks, and that is "very cool."

Fifth, we ride!

This may seem like overkill and you might be able to slap your helmet on your kid and go. If that's the case, good for you. Basically, I just want George to like wearing his helmet, and not let it spoil our ride. They say that we teach best by example. Using that idea, I try to show George how much I love my helmet, hoping he'll learn to see it as a normal part of our bike rides.

Do you have any experiences, good/bad with kids helmets?


Dawn D. Lion said...

I never wore a helmet until Maxine was old enough to see my example and be conscious about it. I just never had the habit of wearing one. But I think there's just been a general movement in the past 10 years towards wearing helmets, and esp with kids.

ubrayj02 said...

Man, my kid almost insists on wearing at times now (much to my horror). I just call it her "funny hat" or her "foam hat", and we strap it on her head when she's sitting upright on a bicycle.

Otherwise, when she's napping, or laying down inside the bakfiets I don't make her wear it. It's tough to lay down with one of those things on your head.

I didn't start my daughter off wearing a helmet - since she was in a freakin' car seat inside my bike until she was big enough to sit up by herself at around 18 months. After that, it's just when I'm afraid of getting a ticket - though like I said she'll sometimes demand her helmet.

You are over-doing it, but if it's working to keep the cops off your back, then more power to you.

I hate the mandatory helmet law, but I understand the soft baby head theory.

Ben & Carly said...

wow you put a lot of thought into this, I kind of feel like an uncreative mom but I just use the threat technique....granted my kids are older so keep that in mind....but all I had to say was not helmet no bike ride and they have never questioned it since. My kids live for a long bike ride every day rain or shine so they will do whatever it takes, this obsession makes me happy I must say. I think your right about starting them young, if they have always done it, and it is part of the routine then they don't usually throw a fit about it. I find this is true in most parts of parenting...consistency is the key.