Babies and children may not cruise the streets with bikes but they can still share the amazing experience of biking. For some, it's a necessity. A child bike seat can make that happen as it allows the baby to stay in either the back or the front while you ride. This means you and your kid can always share the joy of bike riding together whenever you want!
The very first concern about taking a child on the bike is safety. Thankfully, child seats are designed carefully to ensure both safety and comfort. They’re also fairly affordable and fit almost all bike types and sizes.
In this buying guide, we’ll present to you the best child bike seats available on the market, along with full reviews on each of them, so you can make the right buying decision.
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How We Picked these Products
We spent around 30 hours researching online to pick out the most popular products with the highest number of user ratings. After selecting over 35 models, we conducted week-long field tests on all of them.
But due to time limitations, we had to engage some community-based volunteers for help. By now, we’d got enough information about these products and how they fare over another. Based on their built quality, building materials, designs, safety level, comfort, ergonomics, and durability we narrowed down our list to champion 10 models.
Then we consulted with some other industry experts and bicycle safety experts to have their insights into our final list. They helped us understand the products better and we did some alterations based on their suggestions and finalized list. Later on, we came up with elaborate reviews on each of the models that you'll find in the following section.
Our Top 10 Best Child Bike List
So, what is the best child bike seat? Well, the following section will hopefully answer that. We have created all-inclusive reviews on each of our recommended seat models. These seats are listed by their features to simplify your buying decision. So, whatever you need, we’re certain you’ll find your ideal product here.
Types of Child Bike Seats
The following are the 3 baby bike seat types and their differences.
a) Front Mounted – Some also call them 'center-mounted'. They’re mounted on the bike’s front tube or handlebars. Mostly, these seats are smaller than rear rack seats and ideal for children within the age bracket of 1 to 3. Since it’s on the front, the child will have a good view of the environment and easily interact with you. For mountain bikes (MTB) you wouldn't have a rear mounting option, so this is what you need to use for those.
b) Rear Frame – These seats mount on the bike’s rear frame allowing the baby to recline with ease. They’re very good for suspension or shock absorption but difficult to mount on most bikes. Riding with this kind of frame is easier. These are good for both boy and girl children.
c) Rear Rack – As the name implies, they’re mounted on the rack at the back of the bike. So if your bike didn’t come with a rack, you got to buy one. They lack the option to recline neither do they offer suspension.
Apart from the above, you can put 2 child seats on a single bike depending on the bike's capacity for carrying 2 children at the same time.
Child Bike Seats - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
So, what is the safest baby bike seat? Well, you've already got the list. But there's more to care about. It’s important to spend some time to decide if the seat you’re buying is right for your kids. Below are the basic things to consider when placing your order.
1. Frame Mount vs. Rack Mount
You can either mount the baby seat to the frame via the seat post or the bike’s rear rack. If you’re opting for the rear rack mount, it’s important to check its strength to support the baby’s weight.
2. Bike Compatibility
While most bike types can support baby seats, others don’t. Most baby seats can only be mounted on round bike frames of a given diameter. For this reason, you’ll need to check the compatibility of your bike with the baby seat before buying.
3. Size of Your Frame
The larger the frame the easier you can mount a rear seat. Seat-post mounted baby bike seats don’t fit in bicycles with smaller frames making the rack mounted seats the perfect option.
4. Frame material
The most ideal bikes for installing baby seats are those with aluminum and steel frames since they’re strong and durable.
5. Cable routing
you’ll not choose a frame mounting option if your bike has some wirings on the seat tube.
6. Ability to Recline
Seats that can recline improves the baby’s safety during sleep by providing support to the head and neck.
7. Locking and Quick Release
It’s important to choose seats that are easy to mount and unmount. Some of them come with quick-release features that allow you to clamp them without using tools. With this, you can easily remove them when going on a lonely ride. Also, getting a seat with an anti-lock feature will protect it from being stolen with ease.
8. Brake Type
If your bike is using a disc brake, then you’ll need a specialized baby seat instead of the regular ones which often interferes with such braking system.
The presence of eyelets on the bicycle makes installation of the rear-mounted baby seat easier. So, if your bike doesn’t come with an eyelet, you’ve got to buy a frame-mounted baby bicycle carrier.
10. Child Weight Limits
Most bike seats will indicate the maximum age of the child while others specify the rated child weight. The combination of these pieces of information will help you choose the right bike seat for your child. Besides, it’s important to buy a seat that’s a little above your child’s present age and weight so she’ll grow in it.
11. Seat Weight
This is another important factor to consider when shopping for a suitable baby bike seat. Most babies are heavy which is the reason to opt for a lighter seat to reduce the entire weight on the bike.
This feature is very essential even though it’s not available in all the seats on the market. They come handy when riding on difficult terrain for cushioning the impact from the road on the child.
13. Shoulder Straps
A seat that doesn’t come with shoulder straps isn’t worth it. Besides, the straps should have easy to use buckles and also be able to secure the child. Some of the models have adjustable and flexible straps.
Keeping your child safe during the ride should be your greatest priority, it doesn't matter if it's a men's or women's bike. Adhering to safety precautions will save you from accidents which could cause severe harm.
Here are the safety tips to follow when riding with your child.
- Use Helmet – Ensure that you and the child wear the proper helmet to prevent head injuries or death.
- Stick to the bike path – It’s safer to use the sidewalk if possible when riding with a child. Yet, you can ride on the right to flow with the traffic.
- Think ahead – You’re no longer alone when riding with the child. So, you’ll need to be proactive in thoughts remembering you’ve got a minor with you to think and act for. It’s important to stick to road rules and signals to avoid problems.
- Stay Visible – This is very important if you’re riding in the night or early morning hours. You need to wear colorful and flashy clothes to enhance your visibility. Besides, always use reflectors on the baby carrier.
- Inspect the seat – Try to check if the seat is secured to the bike before hitting the road. Ensure that the safety lock is always engaged when the baby is in it.
- Use the right seat – Each of the seats are rated by the child’s weight, height, and age. So, it’s important to use a seat that is perfect for the child. Besides, don’t ride if your child is below or above the recommended age for the seat.
- Secure the harnesses – Keep your baby secure in the straps and never leave the child alone in the seat.
Riding along with a child is a great adventure that strengthens the family bonding while enhancing the baby’s mental growth and development. The best child bike seats are the safest options if you want to give your kid quality time and a nice biking experience every time. These seats are available in different mounting methods and specs for you to buy depending on your preference.
You might opt for a rear-mounted baby bike seat like the Schwinn Deluxe which has vented seats to reduce wind drags. Another important model that is worth considering is the Thule RideAlong Seat with hand wings to keep the child safe when leaning the bike against a wall. Also, it can recline up to 20° for better child comfort during sleep.
Buying such seats are not enough, it’s better and safer to adhere to the safety rules for riding with a child. Make sure you do enough research to know the right seat to buy. However, we’re confident that this buying guide will help you choose the model that suits your needs.