Most child seats are suitable for children aged between nine months and four years. The lower limit depends on your child's ability to sit freely - that is, on the floor and not on pillows.
Some seats recline and children as young as six months old - those who can sit up straight - can enter. Either way, a reclining seat is better because it allows your child to fall asleep without tipping over to the side or forward.
The upper limit is limited by weight, not age. Seats are typically designed to accommodate passengers weighing approximately 20 kg (44 lb).
While a seat may seem sturdy enough to accommodate a heavier child, exceeding the weight limit is not a good idea. The issue is not so much that the saddle breaks - although that can happen - but that the bike's handling progressively deteriorates with a heavier passenger, especially with a rear seat.
How many children?
It is possible to use front and rear seats on the same bike, but unless you live somewhere in the apartment, this makes the bike very heavy. Achildren's trailerit is a superior solution for two children.
If you only need a seat, the kick and safety benefits of a rear seat make it a better option, despite its handling quirks.
Rear seats come in three basic styles: seat tube cantilever; attached to a luggage rack; and attaches directly to the seat tube and seat stays. Those that bolt to the frame—or use a rack that bolts to the frame—are sturdier and more robust, but cannot be mounted on bikes with rear suspension. Bobike, Hamax and Thule manufacture seats with different configurations.
cantilever seatsUse a large plastic bracket with two holes that screw into the seat tube. A two-pronged frame that supports the seat is inserted into these grooves. The rack has some elasticity, which provides a certain amount of elastic suspension. This may not give enough for smaller children, causing them to lean forward slightly.
Larger children and/or prolonged use can bend it too far and bend towards the rear tire or fender. The more you pay, the more stable the seat becomes.sleepy hamaxit's atHamax Siestaare two of the best examples. They have a decent mounting bracket and the seat reclines.
Seats that connect to a luggage rackslide and lock onto the top of the rack, with a safety strap around the seatpost or seat tube for added security. When the child seat is removed, the luggage rack can be used to carry suitcases.
OThule Yepp Maxifits into an EasyFit adapter (sold separately) and has a soft, shock-absorbing seat that features an adjustable five-point harness and child-resistant safety buckle for quick and easy attachment. Security features also include a built-in reflector and the ability to attach a security light. Yepp Maxi is designed and tested for children aged nine months to six years weighing up to 22 kg
Seats that attach directly to the seatposts and seat tubethey have long legs, some of which are bolted to the seat stays, usually with a quick release, as well as a bracket that fits over the seat tube to prevent back and forth movement.
Dutch company Bobike'sexclusive maxiit's a good one. It is well made, with a maximum load of 22 kg. That should be enough for a six year old, assuming you can still balance the bike properly.
Bobike offers a variety of rear seats, some of which have a frame bracket to attach to the seat tube or a click and go mounting system to attach to a luggage rack.
Most seats fit best on mid-size or larger bikes with a traditional top tube. Small frames and those with a low top tube can cause mounting difficulties for any seat that uses a seat tube bracket.
Open frames - that is, frames without a top tube - can bend and sway alarmingly when riding with a heavier child in the back seat because the frame is not rigid enough. Look for thicker frame tubes and/or booster tubes if you want to equip this type of bike with a child seat.
seats in front
Front seats are usually attached to the top tube, a bar mounted above it, or a bracket on the head tube. Some are molded plastic seats, like smaller versions of rear seats, while others - aimed at older kids who can hold on - are just small saddles and footrests that attach to the bike.
- Front seats have the advantage that your child can see more
- You can talk to your child more easily
- They can easily explain the transit and what's to come
- You can have two seats on a bicycle
- Balance is really better, especially on bumps
- Getting in and out is a little easier
- Your child cannot pull the back of their clothes or hair.
- In the event of a fall or sudden braking manoeuvre, you can go to your child
- You might pedal awkwardly with your knees straight, but the balance is actually better, especially on bumps.
- Your child is a little more exposed to the cold wind
- These small saddles that are bolted to the top tube are only recommended for short rides. A tired child may slide sideways or swing a foot over the front wheel.
If you want a front seat,Bobikemakes those suitable for children aged one to two years that can be equipped with a windshield. This helps a lot to protect against cold wind and rain.
For children up to four years oldWeeRide Safe Front Seatit's a better choice as it's mounted mid-center on a bar above the top tube, so it's designed to accommodate a heavier passenger.
Whether opting for a front or back seat is a personal preference, Chris Juden, who was a Senior Technical Officer and Engineer at Cycling UK, explains his personal view in hisBlog about child seats in the front.
Mounting with a child seat on your bike
Even if you're used to riding with rear saddlebags, a child seat takes some getting used to. Baskets shift weight around or between axles. Child seats transfer weight up and, more importantly, behind the rear axle, which destabilizes the bike.
Plumb to see where the bottom of the seat is in relation to the rear axle. The less distance behind the axle, the better the handling. If it's level or in front, even better. There is no hard and fast maximum distance, but keeping it below 10 cm is a reasonable rule of thumb.
Before riding with your child in the seat, try using a heavy weight such as a B. a 7-10 kg potato sack and taking him for a walk. This gives you a clear idea of how the bike will be different with a passenger in the seat.
Initially, you will wobble, especially at slow speeds. Don't be tempted to hop on the pedals to climb. The bike will better support your weight in the saddle, so downshift and spin. If that fails, exit. It's easier than you might think to fall when climbing a steep hill.
Twice in eight years of using child seats, Dan Joyce, editor of Cycle magazine, got off his bike. He recalls, "The wraparound seat kept my passenger from getting hurt on both occasions, but it was still a nasty bump — and I got some nasty scratches."
You can somewhat stabilize the bouncing effect of a rear seat by using baskets that drop down to the front of the bike and filling them with picnic items, children's items or groceries. The extra weight around the front wheel stabilizes the steering and keeps the tire on the asphalt - especially on climbs, where a lightly loaded front wheel can be unstable.
The front seats don't have as dramatic an impact on handling, but it's still worth taking the aforementioned spin with the spids so you can get a feel for how to ride the loaded bike.
If you don't have a pass-through frame, you should practice getting in and out with the child seat installed. If you swing your leg over the saddle like you normally would, you risk kicking your passenger in the head. Instead, you must go over the top tube.
Feet in spokes account for half of all child hospitalizations involving child seats. Footrests are not enough; Feet can slip or your child just forgets and leaves his legs dangling. It is important that each seat has secure foot straps, preferably in the surrounding foot areas.
Be aware of what else can get into the spokes - items like scarves, mittens on strings and long laces - and make sure this doesn't happen. The apron protector fitted to Dutch convertibles is a useful extra barrier.
Little fingers can also get caught, usually in an adult suspension saddle rather than the spokes. If your saddle has springs, replace it with one without, or get or buy finger guards. Bobike's Saddle Spring Guard is just what you need when you don't want to DIY with a strip of hard plastic and some clamps.
To keep your child safe, most car seats use a three-point harness, where the straps go over your shoulders and clip between your legs. A better setup is to also have a belt or bar, as children can sometimes slip off the straps while sleeping. Reclining seats solve this problem by preventing your child from slipping in their seat belts.
Child seats are not as visible on the road as children's or bike trailers, and some drivers don't deviate from them as much. If this is an issue where you drive, consider a bright "Baby On Board" sticker or a flashing LED light on the car seat.
Child bicycle seats must provide full back and head support. Even so, a sleeping child's neck won't be well supported, so it's best if the seat reclines as well. In this case, you can also use a horseshoe-shaped inflatable neck pillow (available at baby stores and intended for use in car seats) or aHamax neck pillowfor even better support.
Some sort of seat pad is essential and should be easily removable so you can wash it. Newly potty trained children will end up getting wet, usually if you forget to bring spare pants and pants!
For more comfort, use bigger tires on your bike and run with a little less pressure; The larger air pocket in the tires "eats" bumps and absorbs vibrations better.
When off road, stay on slippery slopes to keep your child from jumping. Save the mountain biking itself until your child is old enough for his own bike, or at least on the back of a tandem.
A fall on the road at an early age may discourage your child from riding the bike, even if it doesn't result in serious injury, while shaken baby syndrome poses a risk for babies forced to endure hectic singletrack. A child in a car seat cannot move like you can to absorb the shock and therefore will feel every jolt. It really is common sense.
Weather protection is also essential. Children in car seats freeze very easily because they don't generate heat like a person riding a bicycle. Put at least one more layer on your child than on yourself - outerwear with a fleece lining is fine, as are overalls in the winter.
When cycling in the UK you also need rain gear. Drenched children can cool down quickly. You can customize a buggy rain cover, canoe spraydeck or buy a special child seat ponchoEdinburgh Cycling Cooperative. This will help keep out wind and rain.
Sitting in summer, children burn easily – especially on the neck when leaning forward. Use plenty of skin protection cream with a high protection factor. On sunnier days, you might even want to wear a beanie under your helmet - a traditional cotton adult cycling cap fits surprisingly well.
Flies and wasps can frighten small children, who are often attracted to them by being sticky. Take wet wipes with you on any outing where you eat or use some form of repellent.
Small-wheel folding bikes tend to handle poorly when equipped with a child seat, even when this is possible (often with the attachment of a cantilever seat).
Recliners don't have the seat tube that some child seats require, but any bike or tricycle that can be fitted with a traditional rack will accept rack seats.
Tandems can be equipped with rear child seats and are much less affected by handling issues. Vertical tricycles with two rear wheels can accommodate two child seats between the wheels, facing forwards or backwards.
To use a child seat on more than one bike, both mom and dad, for example, purchase an additional seat rack or support at the time of purchase. While the seats tend to be quick-release, the racks and brackets remain on the attached bike, as removal takes minutes rather than seconds.
It can be difficult to get a child in and out of a child seat when riding alone, even if the bike is leaning against a wall. Kids are heavy and all it takes is one foot hooked into the seat belt when lifting your child to knock the bike to the ground.
Osuporte bipé Esgeit looks like a motorcycle mount and is one of the few mounts strong enough to keep the bike and child upright while you separate buckles and straps. This means that you should never leave a child unattended in a seat. It doesn't take much to topple a heavy bike.
If you find it difficult to keep your balance when looking around with your passenger on board, it's a good idea to install a handlebar mirror like this one.XLC Components MR-K02. Not only can you monitor the traffic behind you, but you can also see if your child has fallen asleep.
Some child seats have a reflector built into the rear, but few have attachment points for lights, which you must use when driving after dark. Since the seatpost lighting is covered by the seat, it is best to mount the lighting on the back of the luggage rack.
If you plan on walking with your child at the end of the tour, this is theSteco Buggy Mee Deluxeit's a big help (it's in dutch but can be ordered directly). It is an adapter for the luggage rack that allows you to carry a folded stroller. It fits over one side of the bike and protrudes backwards so it doesn't interfere with the rear-mounted harness.
Bicycle seats for older children
There are some bicycle seats for older children on the market, they are common in the Netherlands and Denmark.Junior Classic BoBikeEyes juniorare both available in the UK.
If you also want to consider using aall day,Fanorcargo bike, our guides are designed to help you find the right one.
This guide features information from Dan Joyce, editor of Cycle magazine.