One of the joys of having a little one is their portability — even when biking.
It’s all about the bike seat or apparatus you use. Though many child bike seats are designed for infants as young as nine months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents wait until age 1 to ride with your child.
Curbs and small bumps in the road can jiggle kids around, so your child should have good head and neck control, and be strapped in with a secure harness.
- Do: Check the specs of your bike seat or trailer to ensure the weight limit and age is appropriate for your child
- Don’t: Put an infant car seat inside a trailer
- Don’t: Wear a baby wrap/carrier and ride your bike
- Do: Start helmet wearing immediately so there is no question it’s mandatory
Bicycle helmets in the U.S. are required to meet a uniform safety standard, issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. When buying a helmet, look for the compliance label.
These three types of bike seats attach to an adult bike, making it easy to travel around town together, while fielding requests for Goldfish crackers.
- Front-mounted: Parents love front-mounted seats for the bonding time with their babies. They attach to the front of your bike, just below the handlebars. Not only is conversation easy (no yelling or turning around to talk), but kiddos get a front seat on biking adventures. These seats are for riders ranging from nine-months to two- or three-years old (or a weight limit of around 35 pounds).
- Rear-frame mounted: This seat attaches directly to your bike’s frame (along the seatpost), typically larger than front-mounted seats and have more features like reclining seats and suspension systems for a smoother ride. The downside: you can’t see your child when you’re on the road. These seats are suitable from nine-months to around 45 pounds.
- Rear-rack mounted: This type of seat mounts onto a rack connected to your bike frame, over the back tire. If you already have a bike rack attached for other purposes, this is a good option.
Bike trailers are a great choice for families that love outdoor adventures. They attach to a bike’s frame or rear axle and can comfortably carry 1-2 kids (plus the diaper bag and gear). Many convert into joggers and strollers for multiple uses.
With larger weight limits, they can be used for kids aged 1-6. Children are buckled in and protected from the elements, can bring along toys and take a snooze. You do the hard work, while kiddos sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Trailers are expensive, but a lasting investment.
Before you know it, your toddler will be ready for his or her own set of wheels. Remember, the goal is to encourage your kiddo to enjoy biking, now and in the future. Happy trails!