How Do I Choose the Best Kids' Bike Seats?

Dan Cavallari

Various styles of kids' bike seats are available for children in each stage of the learning process for riding a bike. As a parent or guardian, you will need to decide what level the child is at so you can choose the most appropriate kids' bike seats; some seats are designed to carry the child on the back of an adult's bike, while others allow the child to pedal on his or her own while being attached to the adult's bike. When a child is old enough to ride a bike on his or her own, the seat will matter less than the other features on the bicycle.

Choosing the correct kids' bike seat for a child's size may reduce the chances of injury.
Choosing the correct kids' bike seat for a child's size may reduce the chances of injury.

A popular alternative to kids' bike seats is the kids' bike trailer, which attaches to the rear axle of an adult's bike. This trailer features wheels that allow the trailer to be pulled behind the adult's bike, with the child sitting safely inside the trailer. This design tends to be safer than kids' bike seats that mount to the bike itself, since the child runs less of a risk of falling if the adult falls off his or her bicycle. Traditional bike seats are mounted on the bike, which means if the adult falls, the child does too. Trailers tend to be larger and more expensive, but they are safer and often more convenient to use.

If you want the kids' bike seats to be mounted to the bike itself, you will have to choose between a rear- and a front-mounted seat. Generally speaking, rear-mounted seats are safer because the positioning of the child in the seat will not interfere with the adult rider's steering capabilities. Front-mounted seats are appropriate for especially small children, as mounting the seat in front of the rider can also interfere with the rider's pedal stroke if the child is too large.

Choosing a rear-mounted seat starts with determining how the seat will mount to the bicycle. Choose a model that secures to the bicycle in several points, not just one. This ensures the child will be safe in the seat should one of the points of contact fail. Be sure the seat features a harness or belt system that can secure the child in the seat properly, and look for kids' bike seats that feature guards or rests where the child can place his or her feet while riding.

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