You’ve always been a keen cyclist, right? Love cyclocross?
But now baby has come along, it’s not exactly practical to ride a bike anymore. But it doesn’t need to be like that. There are now many safe and reliable bike seats you can attach to your bicycle which will allow you to enjoy cycling together with your child.
Bike seats for babies and toddlers come in all shapes and sizes and are suitable for different ages. If you’re confused or overwhelmed by all the options and different factors to consider, this guide to choosing the best child bike seats is just what you’ve been looking for.
We will give you all the information you need to make the right purchase for your needs – so you will be able to enjoy cycling with your toddler until it’s time to find a bicycle of his or her own.
We like, as the name suggests, that this bike seat is easy to fit. It shouldn’t take long to have it attached and ready to go. The seat is comfortable for the child and has a shock-absorbing system to protect delicate young bodies from bumps in the road.
It is designed to last you a long time – the adjustable footrests are a great touch to make sure younger children won’t have their little feet waving around in the air. Once baby is all strapped in, he or she will sit there comfortably and securely until the ride is over.
One issue is that this seat is designed for European-style bicycle racks. You might find you need to buy an adapter to fit it to an American bike. Another point to note is that there is little protection for the precious passenger on the sides of the seat.
- Easy to fit
- Comfortable and secure
- Shock-absorbing system
We Didn’t Like:
- May need to buy an adapter to fit the seat to an American-style rack
- Little protection from the sides
We really like the clever design of this seat. The fact that it can be mounted on a frame or on a rack gives you extra versatility. You can keep using the same seat, even if you change your bicycle. It also features adjustable footrests and secure straps to keep your little one in place.
This is a reliable seat that meets European and ASTM safety standards. Everything is designed to be adjustable with one hand to make it easier for you to keep your child comfortable. The seat can also recline 20°, so baby can have a quick nap if it all gets a bit too much.
One minor point to mention: the seat is designed with a suspension system to protect children against shocks from the road. This means that the seat moves a little from side to side. Although this is actually quite normal, some people might find it makes riding more difficult.
- Versatile – can be mounted on frame or rack
- Reclining seat
- Good shock absorber
We Didn’t Like:
- Suspension system causes seat to ‘wobble’ a little, although this is normal
- Sleeping position can be uncomfortable without a pillow
Best Budget Pick
We love the fact that this seat is so affordable but is still a high-quality item. Just because you spend less, it doesn’t mean you need to have an inferior seat. Being a front-mounted seat, your child will have a good view of what’s going on and it doesn’t interfere with the bike’s center of gravity.
It’s a comfortable seat that your child will love riding in and it doesn’t get in the way of your legs so there won’t be any problem pedaling. It’s really easy to fit to your bike and comes with clear instructions and all the tools you need. In about 15-20 minutes, you’ll be good to go.
The only big downside is that this seat doesn’t fit all bikes – make sure you check whether it is compatible with yours before you buy. Also, some people might find it awkward reaching over the baby to the handlebars – but that’s common to all front-mounted seats.
- Very reasonable price for high-quality and well-made product.
- Kid sits in front so gets a good view of the action and you can talk to each other
- Easy to mount
We Didn’t Like:
- Doesn’t fit all bikes
- Can be awkward reaching over baby to the handlebars
This is a very high-quality kids’ seat with plenty of great design features. It’s super easy to fix to your bike and is made to be compatible with almost any kind of bicycle frame. The shock absorber means your child will have a smooth ride and the reclining seat is great if the little one wants a nap.
This seat features adjustable footrests and a secure strap with a childproof safety buckle that will hold your precious cargo safely in place. All the moving parts are designed to be adjusted with one hand, so you’ll have no problem making sure baby is secure and comfortable in his or her seat.
The only real issues with this seat are that it doesn’t really offer any support for a baby’s head if they fall asleep, so they end up lolling about with every turn – and there is little protection on the sides.
- High-quality, well-designed product
- Easy to fix on and take off
- Suitable for 9 months to around six years
We Didn’t Like:
- No side protection
- No head support
Best Front-Mounted Seat
This seat places your kid in a safe position just behind the handlebars, giving them maximum protection. They have a great view of the passing scenery and the seat doesn’t change the center of gravity too much, meaning it’s still easy to cycle with a baby on board.
This seat will allow you to have more interactive bike rides and you will be able to speak to your kid as you pedal – and your tot will even be able to ‘steer’ the bike as there is a cute little steering wheel for him or her to play with. This seat is tested for kids from 9 months to 38lbs.
Unfortunately, this seat isn’t suitable for all types of bicycle. Check out if it’s ok for yours before you hand over the cash. Also, some people might feel that it is a little uncomfortable to ride with – for taller people, it might interfere a little with your pedaling.
- Doesn’t interfere with center of gravity
- Interactive – can talk to baby and baby can (pretend to) steer
- Baby will love having the best view of everything going on around you
We Didn’t Like:
- Doesn’t fit all bikes
- Can interfere with pedaling
- Maybe a little expensive for some – but we think it justifies the price tag
Best Safety Features
We like the way this seat has more protection on the sides than many other options. It also features a headrest, adjustable footrest and secure straps so you can be confident that once your kid is strapped in, they’ll be snug and safe in their seat.
This is a well-made seat that is lightweight and at the same time tough and durable. You can quickly fit it to your bike and most people will be able to finish the job in about 20 minutes or so. It is supplied with a rack for the purpose.
One problem is that it is not compatible with existing racks and you must use the one supplied. If you have a welded rack on your bike that cannot be removed, this will be a problem. This seat also doesn’t offer much in the way of shock absorption.
- Good protection on the sides and headrest at the back
- Lightweight but durable material
- Easy to fit the supplied rack
We Didn’t Like:
- Not compatible with existing racks
- Doesn’t have a shock absorber
- Not the most comfortable seat padding
This is such a simple idea. Instead of a large seat, this is simply a bar with somewhere to sit, handlebars and a footrest, and it puts your kid right up front with you. It’s very easy to put on and take off and it doesn’t require any tools. When you remove it, there’s nothing left on the bike.
It’s very lightweight and won’t affect the handling of your bicycle – and it’s suitable for practically any kind of bike so you shouldn’t need to worry about it not fitting. We can see most kids really enjoying riding up front on one of these.
On the downside, this is nowhere near as comfortable as some of the other options. This is not a long-term solution for families that do a lot of cycling, this is more something for occasional journeys when you want to take your kid on your bike. It is also lacking in any kind of safety features.
- Quick, simple solution
- Puts your child up front where they can see everything
- Lightweight and doesn’t affect your bicycle’s handling
We Didn’t Like:
- Offers no protection to the child
- Not comfortable for longer journeys
- Not suitable for younger infants
Quick Buyer’s Guide
There are lots of baby seats out there, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s have a look at some of the things you should be thinking about when choosing a bike seat for your tot.
Front-mounted or rear-mounted?
The most obvious variable is whether you choose a front-mounted or rear-mounted seat, and each style has associated advantages and disadvantages.
With a front-mounted model, you can actually see your child. This makes cycling together a much more shared experience. You can talk to each other more easily and you feel much closer.
For some children, they may also feel more reassured at the front where they can see what is going on – and where they have a much better view of all the action.
The disadvantages of a front-mounted seat are that it may hinder your pedaling, the child may be bumped around more as there is no suspension and, in the event of an accident, your baby is right in harm’s way. Front seats also don’t last as long, as they are not suitable for larger toddlers.
With a rear-mounted seat, many of the advantages and disadvantages are just the opposite. A child may feel lonely and neglected sitting behind you with nothing but your back to look at. With your kid behind you, it’s also pretty difficult for you to have any kind of contact or conversation.
However, rear-mounted seats are generally bigger, more comfortable and offer more protection, especially if you have a crash. Rear-mounted seats will also last longer since they can often accommodate kids of up to around four years old, depending on how fast they grow.
Frame-mounted or rack-mounted?
Rear-mounted seats come in two styles, frame-mounted and rack-mounted. The difference is very simple. A frame-mounted seat attaches directly to the frame of your bicycle while a rack-mounted seat fixes onto a rack over the rear wheel.
If you already have a rack on your bicycle, the second kind could be very easy to attach. You just need to make sure your rack is capable of supporting the weight of a seat with a baby inside – 60lbs should be about right.
Frame-mounted models are generally more comfortable and offer better suspension.
It more or less goes without saying, but when shopping for a kids’ bicycle seat, check that the seat you are looking at is compatible with your bike – otherwise you will just end up taking it back to the shop.
Safety and protection
You should look at how much protection a seat offers to your child. Does it support their back and neck? Does it offer any protection if you fall off your bike? Is there protection from the sides as well as the back? You should also check if the seat meets either US or European safety standards.
Pay attention to how heavy the thing is. Remember, the heavier the weight you carry, the less easy it is to steer a bicycle and stay upright. If the combined weight of the chair plus your child will compromise the bicycle’s handling, then perhaps you should consider another option.
Comfortable for you
Some seats can affect the way you ride the bike. Perhaps the way the seat is attached or the way the weight is distributed makes your bicycle more difficult to balance. Perhaps a front-mounted seat makes it uncomfortable and awkward to pedal.
If the seat makes it more difficult to ride your bicycle, it could make it more dangerous for both you and baby. This is a serious consideration.
Comfortable for baby
Is the seat comfortable for baby? Remember, once he or she is strapped in place, there might not be much wiggle room and depending on the kind of cycling trips you plan to do, the poor little tot might end up spending quite a long time stuck in that chair.
You might imagine that no responsible parent would take a youngster out on a bicycle in bad weather – but the weather might change suddenly, and you could find yourself riding in wind or rain. How much protection does the seat offer baby from the elements? Another point to consider.
Does the seat offer protection from bumps and jolts from the road? A child in a seat will feel impacts more than you will and their young bodies are much more delicate and sensitive than yours. Some seats include shock absorbers to minimize this.
The last thing you want while you are riding along is for your child to undo the strap and start climbing about on your bike – especially if they are behind you where you can’t see them. Is the strap childproof to prevent this from happening?
Easy to attach
Is the seat easy enough to fix onto the bike? Some people were born to do jobs like this, but others have trouble tightening a simple bolt. Will you be able to safely attach the seat by yourself or will you need to take it to have a professional do it for you?
There is a lot to consider when choosing the best kids’ bike seats. First, you need to decide if you want baby to ride up front or to sit behind. Up front means you have more interaction with your child but behind might be safer and the seat will probably last a couple more years.
Safety is a vital consideration to any parent and some seats offer more protection than others. Another key factor is how comfortable the seat is. It will hardly be an enjoyable experience for your child to join you on cycling trips if they hate the seat you make them sit in.
A lot of it comes down to personal preference as well as what you think your child will prefer. There’s no point buying a rear seat if your child just gets bored sitting back there all alone and ends up screaming. Similarly, some kids might find it a little scary sitting up front right among the action.
Think carefully about your needs, check the compatibility of your bike – and of course, don’t forget to consider your budget. If you only ride your bike occasionally, it might not be worth spending all that money on a top-of-the-range seat.
We’ve looked at a number of seats here and they all came out top in one category. Every one could be a good choice if that’s what most closely fits your requirements.
However, for us, with a combination of great value, high quality, child comfort and good shock absorption system, the best seat currently available is the Yepp Maxi Easyfit and this is the one we recommend.
Best Shock Absorber
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