The best child bike seat is a great option for families who don’t have a car or those that love to cycle. Riding a bike is more convenient than taking public transport, faster than walking and more economical than driving. Aside from this, biking provides an environment-friendly way of transporting your child.
Bike seats are safety equipment designed for riders who want to transport their kids on their bike safely. Most seats are suitable for babies 9 months to toddlers up to 4 years old. Basically, you can use a bike seat as soon as your child is able to sit up unsupported until they are too big for the weight limit (usually around 20 kg (44 lb)). A bike seat is designed to hold only 1 child, so if you prefer to transport 2 children, a trailer is a better option.
Kinds of Seats
For people wanting bike seats, there are basically two types: rear-fitting seats and front fitting seats.
- Rear Fitting Seats: Rear mounted seats are ideal for drivers with long legs so that it does not interfere with their operation of the bicycle. Rear mounted seats can also help protect children from the wind, debris and dirt. In some collisions or falls, they help to protect the child since the driver or adult will take the brunt of the impact.
One of the biggest disadvantages in opting for this type of bike seat is the problem with the mounting and dismounting. According to the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute, most of the accidents that occur involve when loading and unloading. It is also recommended that parents or riders buy rear fitting seats with spoke guards to protect the legs and feet of the toddler.
- Front Fitting Seats: This type of seat is designed to be fitted in the middle of the bike or over the handlebars so that the child is facing forward. They are more popular in Asia and Europe. Many people prefer the front-fitted bike seat because it is easier to get your child in and out of the seat. It is also easier to keep your eye on the child, plus they have a better view of the sights as you bike around. This is a good choice if you want to prioritize interaction and communication.
One of the drawbacks to seats mounted in front is what happens should you meet a head-on collision. The child can also drop things that catch in the front of the spokes, causing a head-first crash. It can also get harder to steer or drive the bike as the child gets bigger.
Now that you know what type of bike seat to buy, you now need to consider features that can make your bike seat safer.
Bike Seat Features To Consider
Feet in the spokes account for half of hospital admissions that involve bike seats. In most cases, foot rests are not enough. It is important that the bike seat you choose has secure foot straps or wrap-around foot wells to keep feet and legs in place. Other things like scarves, long laces, mittens and strings can also reach the spokes. Make sure that there are skirt guards to prevent these things from coming into contact with the spokes to prevent accidents.
Other safety features like 3-point harnesses offer security. As an added precaution, choose a seat that has like a waist-belt or bar. This can come in handy in case your toddler falls asleep and slips in his bike seat.
Reflectorized stickers are also a good idea to increase visibility in low-light settings. LED flashing lights are ideal so that cars and pedestrians can give your bike a wide berth.
Kids like to fall asleep when traveling so find a seat that has good back rest and neck support. It can be uncomfortable to sleep sitting down so a seat that is padded can make naps comfortable. For added comfort, there are seats that recline. For riders and parents that like to go off-road, a bike seat with shock absorbers can help reduce discomfort.
Depending on your weather, you can also opt for seats with canopy to protect your tot from the elements. This will prevent your child from getting sick so that he or she can spend more time riding with you.
Other Bike Features
A good kickstand can also make it easier for you to mount or dismount your child. The kickstand should be strong enough to support their weight while you sort out buckles. Regardless, do not leave your child unattended even if you have the sturdiest kickstand in the market.
It can be hard to check traffic if you have a passenger on-board, so fitting a handlebar mirror might be a good idea. You can monitor traffic behind you or check on the wellbeing of your child without having to look back.
The safest bike seat for your child is the one that suits your riding style. Now that you have an idea of what features to look for, here are some of the best bike seats that you can consider.
Top Picks Reviews
Thule’s RideAlong Child Bike Seat
Specific Features: twin beam suspension system to absorb road shocks for smoother ride, fast and easy tilting mechanism for various reclining options, quick and easy release bracket for fast mount/dismount, ideal for babies 9 months to children 6 years of age, max weight: 48.5 lbs/22 kg
Best Used For: City or trail bike rides
We like this RideAlong Child Bike Seat from Thule because of its safety features, funky colors and adjustability. The pricing is reasonably affordable and your child has better opportunities to see where you are going. The seat is very easy to mount and dismount. The 3-point harness has 2 shoulder straps with side buckles that attach to the central buckle in a crotch strap just like a car seat. The side buckles have 2 release buttons, making it harder for your tot to undo.
There are a lot of adjustment options so that your child is comfortable and snug. The seat padding is reversible and washable. The seat also has drain holes to make it easier for parents to take care of moisture or spillage. Perhaps the best feature of the bike seat is its reclining ability (up to 20 degrees), far enough so that your baby or toddler can nap comfortably.
Related: The Thule RideAlong Mini Bike Seat is mounted on the bike’s handle bars and designed and tested for children from 9 months to 3 years old. It features a universal quick release bracket and adjustable padded 5-point harness provides for maximum comfort and a safety.
Child Bicycle Safe-T-Seat From iBert
Specific Features: Center mounted for easy driving and better control for the driver, Better view for better interaction with child and driver, no debris thrown in the child’s face, easy and safe loading, 38lb max child weight, steering wheel with pad
Best Used For: City cycling
The iBert Child Bicycle Safe is easy to install and should not take more than 10 minutes. All you need to do is to tighten the mounting bracket around the stem of the handlebars. Parents and bike riders who are looking for something sturdy and durable will love this bike seat from iBert. The molded plastic will not lose its shape over the years even if you’re constantly riding in 45º F to 85º F weather.
Some consumers might be wondering if the design will hamper the rider’s legs or steering, but this is not an issue with this bike seat even for riders over 6 feet tall. Hard plastic surround your baby’s legs to protect them if a fall should occur. This child bike seat is easy to use and mounts in front for an enjoyable ride for your child.
LTD Kangaroo Child Bike Seat By WeeRide
Specific Features: Unique front-fitted bike seat, thick back and seat padding for comfy rides, installs in front of the bike’s saddle, exclusive safety harness and extra-large buckling system for utmost safety, designed to distribute weight evenly for stability especially when navigating, foot holders are adjustable, easy installation for most bikes
Best Used For: City Cycling
Get the ultimate in child safety when you buy the LTD Kangaroo Child Bike Seat from WeeRide. It is a kangaroo carrier with padded seats for added comfort. It also features an exclusive safety harness and extra-large buckling system for a better and safer child-carrying position. The seat is center-mounted so your child enjoys the best views with easy interaction with the rider and better weight distribution.
Other notable features include the foldable foot cup and padded shoulder harness. The padded safety hand rest can also act like a pillow should your child feel sleepy along the way. The LTD has a limit of 4 years old and 40 pounds but that’s alright since your child might want their own bike when they get older.
Related: The WeeRide Kangaroo Child Bike Seat mounts in the center of the bike for a safe and comfortable view. It can be used by kids ages 1 year and up; maximum weight: 33 pounds.
TYKE TOTER Front Mount Child Bicycle Seat
Specific Features: front-fitted for easy handling, interactive, driver can keep an eye on the child and the road, center location means better handling, simple installation, universal attachment
Best Used For: City Cycling
Installing the TYKE TOTER Front Mount Child Bicycle Seat does not require any tools. It is the most interactive child bike seat in the market since it is center mounted. Your child can easily enjoy the view and hold a conversation with the driver.
The bike seat features its own foot pad and handlebars so your child feels safe and secure during the ride. The seat also uninstalls easily from the bike should you decide to ride solo thanks to its quick-release design. The Tyke Toter bike seat can be mounted to different kinds of bikes easily so even grandpa and grandma can enjoy bike time with your kids. It is recommended for use for 2-4 years old with a weight limit of 45 lbs.
Yepp – GMG Maxi Bicycle Child Seat
Specific Features: Easy mounting of bike seat on your bike’s seat post, child sits comfortably in the soft and shock-absorbing seat, ensures a perfect fit as your child grows thanks to adjustable foot rests and foot straps, designed and tested for children from 9 months to 6 years old, up to 48.5 lbs/22 kg
Best Used For: City Cycling, trail bike rides
This is the roomiest and most stable child bike seats you can buy for your child. The GMG Maxi Bicycle Child Seat is made from lightweight materials with safety features to make it easy for your child to enjoy riding a bike in the rear. It is easily mounted on the bike’s seat post using the Yepp Maxi seat post adapter which fits 95% of US bike models. Simply snap into place if you’re planning to ride with your child and detach for riding solo.
It also features an integrated lock to guard against theft. For your child’s safety, the Maxi has a 5-point easy-to-use buckle and adjustable foot rest with straps for comport and protection. Shoulder straps are included with the seat but parents or riders can buy different colored straps to personalize the bike seat. The Maxi comes with everything you need to attach it to your bike. It is suitable to carry children weighing up to 48 lbs.
Related: The Yepp Maxi Easyfit‘s award winning design is made from flexible rubber foam which is very comfortable and shock absorbing. It is quick and simple to snap into place and detach, lightweight, anti-bacterial and easy to clean.
Schwinn Child Carrier
Specific Features: Frame-mounted rear bike seat for toddlers, easy assembly on most adult bikes, strong lightweight, polypropylene construction, quick release harness, leg restraints, and padded cross bar for added safety, bonus seat spring guard and spoke guard included, for children up to 40 pounds and age range: 1 years and up
Best Used For: City Cycling
Tough, robust and made from polypropylene, the Schwinn Child Carrier is durable and can withstand heavy weight. Schwinn has child safety in mind with features like leg restraints, padded cross bar and harness. It also has a good back-rest height so your child is not only well supported but also comfortable and the foot rest is adjustable.
The seat is padded and detachable with a reflector included in the back for added visibility. The bike seat is rear-mounted ensuring that there is enough leg room for the rider. The seat can be detached easily through quick release and is compatible with most bikes.
Yepp Mini Bicycle Child Seat
Specific Features: Made from made from EVA polymer, nylon straps secure your child in the seat, softer grade of EVA used for shoulder pads prevents chafing, seat features footrests that are easily adjusted to different heights without the use of tools, designed to hold kids from 9 months (who are able to sit up by themselves), up to those weighing 33 lbs., or about 3 years old
Best Used For: City Cycling
The Yepp Mini Bicycle Child seat is Dutch-designed and meets stringent European safety requirements and ASTM standards. The 5-point harness is user friendly and the footrest adjustable for maximum comfort and safety. It is designed to mount on the handlebars, for better view and conversations with mom and dad.
The seat is easy to mount and can carry children up to 33 lbs. The seat is made from flexible but durable rubber so that it is easy to clean. It is an award-winning product with safety and durability in mind.
Related: When your child outgrows the mini, he or she can transition to the Yepp – GMG Maxi Bicycle Child Seat, a rear mounted bike seat. It features the same features as the above with maximum weight of 48 lbs.
While there are many manufacturers that claim that they have the best child bike seat, it is always important to scrutinize a product closely before buying it especially products that are used by our children. We wish we could tell you which bike seat to buy, but the ideal product needs to meet your individual requirements. Your goal is to buy a bike seat that ensures the safety and comfort of your child so that they can enjoy bike rides with you.
Which bike seat is most suited for your riding needs? Let us know in the comments section below.