Child bike seats are an easy way to get outside and cycle with your little one. It allows parents to get exercise, set a positive example, and include their child in a fun outdoor activity. What's more, it can serve as an environmentally friendly way of commuting.
Read along to find out what to consider when looking for the best child bike seat. DadProgress reviews point out which seats exceeded both parents' and tots' expectations.
Key Points For Busy Parents
Finding the best child bike seat can be a daunting task. Parents rightfully ask a lot from their little one's cycling gear. The best child bike seat should be safe, comfortable, adjustable and compatible. Bike seats should also cost less than your bike, and beautiful design is always a positive feature.
Before purchasing a toddler bike seat (or bike seat for your baby), inspect the installation points on your bicycle. You should be sure that the two are compatible.
Not all bikes are compatible with rear racks or have enough space to attach one to the headset.
The cables, brakes, and other design features can interfere with the installation of a seat.
Road bikes tend to push riders forward. This results in shortening of the space between the seat post and a steering column.
Many mountain bikes lack a level top tube to install some front-mounted seats.
The mounting requirements for each bike vary but don't let it discourage you. For most two-wheelers, if a rear mount doesn't work, a front mount will.
What to Consider When Buying a Child Bike Seat
Position Of The Mount
One of the most apparent differences between different types of child bike seats is the position of their mount. Front-mounting bike seats sit between the adult rider and the handlebar.
As you can guess from the name, rear-mounting bike seats sit behind the adult rider's seat. Both have their own sets of pros and cons.
A third option would be a container. These are generally quite big and more expensive though.
Front-Mounted Bike Seats
Bike seats generally make your bike harder to maneuver. Many parents have found that using a front-mounted seat is more awkward. For example getting on and off the bike may be harder.
Rear-Mounted Bike Seats
Frame Mounted vs Rack Mounted Bike Seats
While you can install many child seats directly onto the bike, others (mainly rear-mounts) need the installation of an extra rack.
Rear-mounted seats: You can often install them on top of an over-the-wheel luggage rack. Some are sold separately, while others come as part of a seat package.
Another way is to install the rear rack-mounted seat to the frame (most mount to the seat tube).
Front-mounted seats: It's common to attach them to the top tube or to the head tube.
The weight capacity of various child bike seats differs significantly. In fact, the ones on our list have capacities that range between 33 and 50 pounds. When searching for the best bike seat for your toddler, it's important to consider, for how long it will be usable. This depends on the weight capacity and height adjustability.
The heavier your child is, the harder it is for you to control the bike. So great weight capacity doesn't necessarily make it the best child bike seat for you.
Best Bike Seat For A Bigger Child
From the reviewed bike seats Bellelli Pepe Bicycle baby Carrier (Check The Price On Amazon) has the largest weight capacity (50 lb). This is a comfortable rear-mounted seat that is EN 14344 compliant.
How To Choose The Safest Child Bike Seat?
Personal Experience: Consider Your Environment
I've worked over ten years in Finland as an ER doctor. To be honest, I've been lucky enough not to have seen any accidents involving children in bike seats. One of the main reasons is that Finland has a superb network of bicycle roads. So the lesson here is that before buying a bike seat, consider your environment carefully.
How good are the roads? What's the road safety culture?
It's also important to consider your skill, but I wouldn't think about it too much. You can always learn as you go, just try not to ride too fast on first days.
European Union likes to regulate things. Sometimes even something good comes out of it. In 2004 EU created a standard EN 14344. The point of this creatively named standard is to determine whether a child’s bike seat is safe and of good quality. Compliance is based on self-certification. People in the EU have it easy- make sure that the seat is EN 14344 compliant and you should be good to go. But even if you're not living in EU, it offers some lessons.
6 Things We Can Learn From The EU Safety Standard?
1. Front-mounted seats are safe as long as your child weighs less than 33lb (15kg). Heavier children should sit on rear-mounted seats if the seats are compatible
2. Front-mounted seats are not considered particularly safe if you can attach them only to a handlebar
3. A child should not be able to touch a bike wheel with his or her legs when in a bike-chair
4. Bike seats should not have any sharp edges
5. The weight limit of the best child bike seat should be clearly stated
6. The center of gravity should be marked
Other Safety Features
There are some other elements that can make the child bike seat safer. I've discussed them in the next chapter. Keep on reading:)
Other Design Factors
At first glance, most bike seats look like nothing more than a plastic bucket with a few straps. Yet, most of them incorporate smart design elements that help keep your little one safe. Read along to learn more about what to look out for when purchasing a bike seat for your baby or toddler.
This design element comes in the form of a recess or cutout in the headrest. It provides a space for the back of a child's helmet to go.
It also prevents a child's head from being pushed forward because of the material filling the gap.
Seats with both a helmet pocket and a slight backward slope provide an adequate hub for a sleeping or restful child. Since all children should be wearing helmets, this design element is a high-priority for seats with high backs.
Lap bars provide a few different conveniences. For one, they help supplement a harness in locking down your precious cargo. Secondly, they offer a resting post for your child's hands. In some models, lap bars have evolved into protective dashboards. These would serve as a protective buffer if a bike were ever to collide with something or topple over.
High Back vs Low Back
High back seats tend to be more comfortable for young children. In fact, they provide extra reinforcement for a child's head and neck. This is also a particularly important feature for sleeping children.
Some seats incorporate a shock-absorbing suspension system. These come in the form of springs and flexible metal rods. They help soften the ride by absorbing the shock from bumps in the road.
Babies and children are on an undeniably fast growth trajectory. Afraid that your little one grows out of the bike seat before it even arrives? Choose one that offers ample adjustability. This can come in the form of extendable foot holders, an adjustable backrest, and generous weight capacity. Most front mount seat have a lower weight capacity than rear mount seats.
A well-designed child bike seat is comfortable for both the child and adult.
For a child, ample space to stretch, seat and backrest padding, and side bumpers fit the bill.
For adults, it's vital that a seat does not inhibit or alter their style of riding. If you're continually nicking your knees on the back of your front mount seat, chances are you need to make a change.
Best Child Bike Seats For DadProgress Reviewed
Weight Capacity: 40lb
Seat Mounting Type: Rear Rack-mounted
Compatibility: Compatible with most bike frames: 27.2-40 mm diameter round frames (except for dual suspension bikes and beach cruisers). The seat tube should be round
Weight Capacity: 33lb
Seat Mounting Type: Front-mounted
Compatibility: Compatible with most bike frames: 27.2-40 mm diameter round frames (except for dual suspension bikes and beach cruisers). The seat tube should be round.
Weight Capacity: 50lb
Seat Mounting Type: Rear-Mounted: Can be mounted to the frame (Pepe Standard) or to the existing rack (Pepe Clamp)
Compatibility: Compatible with most bike frames
Weight Capacity: 33lb
Seat Mounting Type: Front-Mounted
Compatibility: Compatible with most bike frames (the steer tube should have a diameter between 0.8 to 1.1")
Weight Capacity: 48.5lb
Seat Mounting Type: Rear-Rack-Mounted
Compatibility: Compatible with most bike frames, but the rack should be equipped with a EasyFit window or you have to buy a separate adapter
The Best Child Bike Seat For You
Co-riding is a great way to introduce a healthy outdoor activity to babies and toddlers who aren't quite up for the task of pedaling on their own. I advocate that parents eventually teach their young ones to ride a bike on their own though.
"The best child bike seat should suit your needs!"
Best Rated Front-Mounted Child Bike Seats
Two best front-mounted bike seats are probably iBert Child Bicycle Safe-T-Seat (Check The Price On Amazon) and Thule Yepp Mini Child Bike Seat (Check The Price On Amazon). iBert is easy to install, comfortable for a child and it's usually cheaper of the two. Thule Yepp Mini is probably safer as this seat is complying with the stringent EU rules and has a five-point-harness. For babies (starting from 9 months) Thule is the best bike seat as it has a higher back.
Best Rated Rear-Mounted Child Bike Seats
Two best rear-mounted bike seats are probably Schwinn Child Carrier (Check The Price On Amazon) and Bellelli Pepe Bicycle baby Carrier (Check The Price On Amazon). As I have mentioned before, Bellelli Pepe is excellent for bigger children as it has a weight capacity up to 50lb. Both of them could be the best baby bike seats for you as they have high backs.
Best Cheap Bike Seat
If you're looking for a child bike seat under fifty dollars, then Bell Cocoon 300 Child Bicycle Carrier (Check The Price On Amazon) is the one for you. It's not the best child bike seat out there, but if you are planning to go riding only a couple of times, there's no need to waste your money. The only problem is that this seat is not compatible with many new bikes.