Bike riding is a wonderful activity to do as a family and you don’t even have to wait until you have a big kid riding on their own bike to take your whole family out for a ride. With the right bike seat or trailer attachment, you can easily tote your kids along on a bike ride from as early as the age of one year old. It is important to take some safety precautions into consideration when getting ready to take your baby on their first bike ride. This article will break down some important bike ride safety precautions and will share some information on different types of baby bike seats.
Safety Considerations When Biking with a Baby
When it comes time to take your baby for their first bike ride, you’ll want to make safety your top priority. Below, we’ve broken down our top recommendations to help you keep your baby safe when going for a bike ride.
- Wait until the right age to bike with your baby.
- Always strap your baby safely into a seat or trailer.
- Have your baby wear a helmet.
Wait Until the Right Age to Bike with Your Baby
It is not recommended to ride bikes with a baby under the age of one year old. There are even some laws that prohibit parents from taking children under the age of one on a bike ride so always be sure to check your local requirements. Some baby bike seats are labeled as being safe for babies as young as 9 months old, but this still isn’t recommended given that bicycle rides can cause your child to shake around and strong head and neck support is a must.
Always Have Your Baby Safely Strapped into a Designated Seat
You should never ride bikes while holding your baby or wearing them in a baby harness, this is not safe. Only take your baby on a bike ride if they are going to be safely strapped into a bike seat or trailer. There are a variety of different options when it comes to finding a safe way to take your baby on a bike ride so this shouldn’t be an issue. Before using a baby bike seat or trailer check the age and weight recommendations. Ensure that straps fit your baby securely and are not overly constricting.
Wear Helmets from Day One
Always have your baby wear a helmet when riding on a bicycle with them. Whether your toddler is riding their own bike or they are strapped into a seat on your bike, a properly fitting helmet is an absolute necessity. Head injuries can happen easily and simply are not worth the risk. Find a helmet that comfortably fits your baby or toddler’s head and has safety certifications.
Types of Baby Bike Seats and Trailers
There are a variety of different bicycle attachment options when it comes to safely taking your baby on a bike ride. Most parents choose from a front-mounted bike seat, rear-frame mounted bike seat, rear-rack mounted bike seat, or a bicycle trailer. To make the decision easier, you’ll want to consider your child’s age and size and your family's needs.
Front-Mounted Bike Seat
Front-mounted bicycle seats attach just below the handlebars. This is a popular choice by most parents since it allows you to be in close contact with your child for your whole bicycle ride. These bike seats eliminate the need for parents to turn around to check on and interact with their child, which is a huge benefit. A front-mounted bike seat will typically have a lower weight limit. These seats typically serve children between the ages of 9 months to 2 years, or up to about 35 pounds.
Rear-Frame Mounted Bike Seat
This type of bike seat attaches to the back of the bicycle frame. Rear-frame mounted bike seats can be more comfortable for babies and toddlers and sometimes offer additional features such as reclining and suspension systems to make for a smoother ride. These bike seats also tend to have a higher weight limit than front-mounted car seats, typically going up to about 45 pounds. The main downside to any rear mounted bike seat is that you won’t be able to see your baby while riding but you can easily install a bike mirror to make it easier to keep an eye on your baby without taking your eyes off the road.
Rear-Rack Mounted Bike Seat
Rear-rack mounted bike seats are similar to rear-frame mounted seats only they attach to a bike rack, which is a separate attachment that goes above the back tire. These bike seats are a good option if you already have a bike rack attached to your bike, since you won’t have to worry about incorporating an additional attachment to your bike.
Bike trailers are a convenient and versatile option for parents with toddlers and babies. These bicycle attachments connect to the back of your bicycle and have wheels of their own. Many trailers can even convert to a jogging stroller that can be used separately. Some parents believe that trailers are even safer than bike seats, since your baby is safely strapped in and covered by a mesh window. These comfortable bike attachments can provide a cozy place for your child to sit back and enjoy the ride and may even allow them some time to nap. Bike trailers are also a great idea for families with multiple children because some models have space for more than one child. Although trailers can be a bit more expensive than a bike seat, they are a worthwhile investment because they often serve multiple purposes and can be used for many years. Most bike seats only seat children up to about age 3, whereas a bike trailer can remain safe for children up to age 6.
Getting outside and taking a bike ride with your family is a great way to benefit your overall health, boost your mood, and enjoy the fresh air. With the right precautions in mind, a safe bicycle attachment, and a helmet, it is perfectly safe to take your baby along for the ride.
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