Best Bike Seats for Toddlers
Are you looking for a child carrier for your bike?
If you are looking for a bike child carrier for your toddler, look no further. We recently needed to purchase a new bike carrier seat for our toddler and so we did a good amount of research on the options available. Unlike the last time we purchased a bike toddler seat, there are many more choices today, and some of them are quite inventive and fantastic.
There are three main choices: rear bike seats, front bike seats, and bike trailers. There are positives and negatives for each option, and it really depends on what you are looking for.
Consumer Reports has a really good buying guide on their site, if you aren't sure what you want.
Rear Mounted Bike Child Carriers
Rear bike child carriers are the classic choice for most cyclists. These child seats have been around since people starting carting toddlers around on their bikes. This is what we've had for several years. What's great about these is that, since they have been around forever, they are fairly solid and safe. There is a lot of discussion as to whether front mounted or rear mounted bike seats are safer, and I couldn't find a consensus. The negatives are that, because your toddler is behind you, they mostly see your back. In addition, because they are behind you, you will have no idea if they start wiggling around. Though they can't get out of the seat, it's more likely to disrupt your balance without any warning.
You can't go wrong with any of these rear mounted bike child carriers. All have weight restrictions of about 40 lbs, and the toddlers must be at least a year old.
Front-Mounted Bike Seats for Toddlers
Front-mounted bike seats for toddlers is all the rage. People love them because the toddler sits in the front and can therefore be seen by the cyclist. In addition, the center of gravity remains about the same because of the toddler's proximity to the parent.
I was never able to find out whether front or rear-mounted bike seats were safer -- for every comment that the front seats are safer because you can see your wiggling toddler, there was a rear-mounted advocate who talked about how most collisions are head-on, and so it's safer to have the child behind you.
In general, front-mounted seats are not great if you are petite, as you need clearance to see above your toddler's head. Generally, the weight limit is between 38-40 lbs and is for a toddler who is older than 1. All have three-point safety harnesses.
There are really only two big names in the front-mounted bike seat field: iBert and WeeRide.
The biggest complaint about the iBert is that if you have a tall toddler, they will age out quickly. However, many people loved the ease of installation and its sturdiness once installed.
The biggest complaint about the WeeRide is that it takes a long time to install, and it's bulkier, so there needs to be an adjustment for some people in how they bike. Some people complained about this with the iBert also, so it might just be a function of the front-mounted system. The biggest positive about the WeeRide is the mounting system -- it has a mounting bar, as opposed to the others that attach to the front post.
People who are concerned about the safety of mounted bike seats often love bike trailers. One of the biggest advantages is that kids are closer to the ground, and so will not have as much likelihood of injury if they fall. In addition, more than one child can ride in the trailer at a time, and the weight limit is substantially higher -- up to 100 lbs. The age range goes much higher as well -- up to 6 years in most cases.
The negatives for a bike trailer is that it's very cumbersome and bulky, and there is definitely an increased likelihood that cars might not see it. You can't use it on trails or anything that isn't smooth riding (although you probably shouldn't be out extreme mountain biking with any of these options). It's easy to assemble, so that's a big plus.
The most popular brands of bike trailers are InStep and Chariot, as well as the Burley. They are all pricey, but if you think you will be using it until the age limit, or if you have two children to transport, it might be worth it to you.
For the older child, the tandem bike is a fun way to get them involved in biking before they are all on their own. Recommended for ages 4-9, and with a weight of not more than 75 lbs, the tandem bike trailers are a great way to go.
The WeeRide is the most popular tandem bike on Amazon, and with good reason. They are easy to install, have solid construction, and last for a long time.
Check out the many positive reviews for the WeeRide Co-pilot bike trailer.