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How We Selected the Best Child Bike Seats
We chose the best child bike seats by researching reviews from customers and competitors. We considered design, features, price, material, mount types, and compatibility, along with age, height, and weight recommendations, when deciding our picks. We also reviewed information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and consulted with Natalya Vernovsky, MD, an Illinois-based pediatrician with Just Answer.
What to Look for When Buying a Child Bike Seat
Type of Mount
The first thing to decide before buying a child bike seat is if you want a rear, front, or mid-mount (something typically used for mountain bikes).
A rear-mounted seat is the most popular because there is more room behind the rider, so its seat can be larger. “The rear child bike seat is the most common, usually suitable for ages 1 to 4 years,” Dr. Vernovsky explains. “Rear bike seats provide more freedom and control of the bike which also feels safer.”
A front-mounted seat is often preferred by adults who want to have eyes on their little one and the road at the same time. The problem is that once they get too big, they may obstruct your view. “Front-mounted seats do not recline, as that would interfere with the space of the adult rider, but they provide the ability to see your child at all times in front of you,” Dr. Vernovsky says. “Your child’s forward view is unobstructed, and they have a better view of their surroundings. Front-mounted seats might be suitable for younger children ages 1 to 3 years on shorter rides.”
The first thing to decide before buying a child bike seat is if you want a rear, front, or mid-mount. A rear-mounted seat is the most popular—and because it is behind the rider where there is more room, its seat is larger. A front-mounted seat is often preferred by the adult so they have eyes on their little one at all times and the view is not restricted for the child. Mid-mount seats on the market are often used on mountain bikes.
The size of the seat tube and the saddle seat proximity to the frame of the bike are both important in determining which bike seat will work. Pay special attention to these measurements and mounting instructions before making your purchase. If a rear mount cannot attach to the bike frame, you can sometimes purchase a rack for it.
Once you have decided on the type of mount and narrowed down the options that are compatible, look at the added features. The comfort and cushioning may be important to you, or perhaps you want a seat that is easy to install and remove. Some bike seats have better head and neck support than others, but you want to make sure your child has strong head and neck support first.
“Most child seats are suitable for children between the ages of about 12 months and 4 years. The lower limit is dependent on the ability of the child to sit up unsupported; a child’s neck has to be strong enough to support a lightweight helmet,” Dr. Vernovsky says, warning children under a year old should not be on a bike seat. “The upper limit is restricted by weight rather than age. Seats are typically rated for passengers weighing up to around 44 pounds. Do not carry infants in backpacks or front packs on a bike.”
You’ll also want to be on the lookout for a sturdy harness and reclining abilities, Dr. Vernovsky suggests. “The seat should have a high back as well as a sturdy shoulder harness and lap belt that will support a sleeping child,” she adds. “The ability to recline the seat can prevent their neck from flopping around during a ride.”
Why Trust Verywell Family
Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a wife to a public school administrator and mom to 1-year-old and 3-year-old daughters. In addition to regularly scouring the internet to find the best things for herself, Ashley spends multiple hours a week researching, comparing, and writing about products specifically for kids and families.
Additional reporting to this story by Deanna McCormack
Deanna McCormack is a freelance writer who focuses on lifestyle, family, and commerce. She regularly purchases and tests items for early childhood and has two kids of her own under the age of 3. Deanna lives in sunny Arizona where it’s always bike season, and her older child enjoys his UrRider Child Bike Seat.