In today's SMH letters, Michael O'Briens ponders the disparity between child seats in cars (requiring installation by a trained professional) and those on bicycles.  He calls for a ban on these devices (think of the children) which is fair enough because he rides a bike too.

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His whole premise is wrong.

There is no requirement for child seats in cars to be installed by a "trained professional".

Absolutely true. It needs to meet standards, but no fitting is mandated.

http://www.babycenter.com.au/a1033422/car-seat-laws-in-australia 

When my in-laws came from the UK over for a visit, I EBay'd a child seat and fitted it myself, based on the instructions provided. I could have opted to pay KMart Tyre and Auto to fit it if I'd wanted, but quite frankly I have a functional brain and a pair of hands.

Am parent. Can confirm.

Wait till he finds out seatbelts aren't required on bicycles...

Or number plates, blinkers, wipers...

I've seen child seats installed by "professionals" I often take them out and reinstall them properly. I know as a mechanical engineer I apparently have some deep seated advantage in such things, but seriously it isn't that hard. Most cars can't properly take a child seat anyway, requiring yet more gadgets to make up for a shit seatbelt. Was it Kylie going on about a half shit jobs vs shit jobs? Case in point.

They push it really hard on new parents at hospitals however.

A little insistence goes a long long way when you're talking to a new mother that's just given birth to a football and Nurse points fingers at you saying "it has to be properly fitted by our people in the hospital carpark and you have to breast feed for the rest of your adult days - ok? OK" Says Nurse as she goose steps out the door.

All that aside - my main issue isn't with the seat fitting for bicycles. Its with the idiotic parents that think nothing of bouncing a 12 month old around on the back of a bumpy ride with barely enough neck strength to hold a hanky. They should be reported to DOCs. If the kids are a tiny bit older and stronger, then that's another matter. Same with chariots, it's quite bumpy at road level and always pleasant sucking up exhaust fumes at such a young age.

This...

Its with the idiotic parents that think nothing of bouncing a 12 month old around on the back of a bumpy ride with barely enough neck strength to hold a hanky. 

...is why this kind of thing*....

A little insistence goes a long long way when you're talking to a new mother that's just given birth to a football and Nurse points fingers at you saying "it has to be properly fitted by our people in the hospital carpark and you have to breast feed for the rest of your adult days - ok? OK" Says Nurse as she goose steps out the door.

Not a great deal to do with age, other than as a milestone thing. The key point is if a baby is capable of sitting up and supporting their head, with a helmet on, themselves then they are more than likely able to sit in most bike seats or trailers. Sebastian was plenty strong enough at 9 months.


*that's not even the half of it. When we went for the first check up at (a week? Two weeks?) the family center, or whatever it is called, it was very much pointed out to us several times that breast feeding mums should not smoke pot as it crosses straight into the milk. And, also that alcohol takes X mins/hours/whatever to get into the milk so you can have a (alcoholic) drink after Y time etc etc. So, hey, clearly there are a lot of less than thoughtful parents and the baby is the medical staffs first concern with car seats and breast feeding.

Yes, I agree. There is a practical aspect for parents to consider this stuff on all fronts…including breast feeding LOL!

But also - they need to assess themselves 1/ for the Age they are putting their kids on bike seats and chariots and 2/ if they are an experienced rider and 3/ whether their particular child has the neck strength to carry a helmet and sit upright for a short period. Some don't wait, even if its clear the child is so tiny.

The general guidelines are 12 months+…they are choices parents have to make themselves. I have seen kids sit well upright and others are flopped over. Some are so tiny they cannot really even fit into a helmet without it slipping off. It's times like that I wonder why the parent doesn't just wait a couple more months to go gung-ho with the bike seat. It wouldn't hurt anyone. 

Hey Mikka,

Before you go around calling people idiots, you might want to make sure you don't confuse your baseless opinion with scientific facts.

Here's the abstract from a Danish study:

It has frequently been claimed that cycling in heavy traffic is unhealthy, more so than driving a car. To test this hypothesis, teams of two cyclists and two car drivers in two cars were equipped with personal air samplers while driving for 4 h on 2 different days in the morning traffic of Copenhagen. The air sample charcoal tubes were analysed for their benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX) content and the air filters for particles (total dust). The concentrations of particles and BTEX in the cabin of the cars were 2–4 times greater than in the cyclists’ breathing zone, the greatest difference being for BTEX. Therefore, even after taking the increased respiration rate of cyclists into consideration, car drivers seem to be more exposed to airborne pollution than cyclists.

Kids in cars are exposed to more pollution than kids in bike seats.

Bikes are more likely to take back streets than sit in traffic on main roads, so exposed to even less pollution.

He was talking about chariots (trailers) where the child is at exhaust pipe level.

What temperature is car exhaust at?

On what Mikka said, what make you think that a bike is any more bouncier than a car? Its got to do with how the child is carried.

You've never been on Sydney roads, 10 centimetres off the ground? It can be very bumpy. The adult is much higher up, away from the gravel and bumps. The children are not being carried at all times on pristine green bike lanes, as much as we would all like.

While I am not refuting the Danish report Mark, clearly I am not taking about Amersterdam or downtown Copenhagen…because none of us live there.

I could cite the pollution stats in India, but it's not exactly relevant either.

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