When choosing among the best kids bike seat options, you need to consider your child’s age and size, the type of riding you do (streets and sidewalks, trails and everything in between), and then honestly consider your own competence and comfort on a bike and the type of bike you have.
Connor Swegle, co-founder of New York-based Priority Bicycles, says that before you strap on a seat and hit the road, “make sure that your bicycle has an accessible mount and dismount position, a few gears to help with gaining speed when you have additional weight or need to climb a hill and even consider a center kickstand can help for when you are loading your little one on.”
When you’re using a child bike seat on an adult bike, safety is first, second, and third: any accidents could result in injuries for which you’ll never forgive yourself. One piece of advice from Ryan Zagata, president of Brooklyn Bicycle Co: “Always buy the rear carrier or adapter with the child seat. Child seats are thoroughly tested to meet all safety standards and they are tested with the supplier provided carriers — this is the only way to ensure your seat is 100% safe and functional.”
With the right bike, proper installation and a little common sense, adding one of these kids bike seats will make co-cycling a shared source of summer fun.
Best Value Kids Bike Seat
Schwinn Deluxe Bicycle Mounted Child Carrier
This is the bike seat my two-year-old hops into every time we head out for a family ride. It has routinely been a top seller on Amazon for two good reasons: it’s reliable and it’s affordable. The seat, which can accommodate most kids over the age of one and up until they hit 40 pounds, features easily adjusted straps for the torso and legs and comes with a cover that protects any little leg that slips out of its strap. Back venting keeps your co-rider cool while a headrest prevents whiplash when you start putting in some muscle. Installing the included rack is a bit tedious, but once that’s done getting the seat onto it is quite easy and it fits quite securely.
Best Kids Bike Seat With Handlebar Mount
iBert Child Bicycle Safe-T-Seat
“While a child is younger, many parents like having them out in front,” says Connor Swegle of Priority Bicycle. Placing your kid front and center on your bike makes it easier to see, talk to and touch. This seat connects just below the handlebars, so your child is literally between your arms. Meanwhile, there’s a little steering wheel he or she can play with during the journey in case having a front row seat isn’t enough excitement. While not ideal for older kids or for use on long-distance rides (you have to hold your arms with elbows out wider than normal and the position can begin to feel unnatural), this seat is a perfect toddler bike seat for neighborhood rides.
Best Kids Bike Seat For Two
Burley Bee Two Seat Kids Bike Trailer
If you have two kids to bring along on the ride, this trailer, which Ryan Zagata of Brooklyn Bicycle Co. calls “lightweight and incredibly easy to mount,” is an ideal choice. (It can accommodate up to 100 pounds total, so it’s also a fine choice for a single slightly bigger kid, but they’ll start getting cramped in terms of legroom before they hit the max weight limit.) It’s also a great choice for use on rougher terrain when a child in a traditional bike seat would be jostled around. Swegle calls it “ an easy-to-install, stable and convenient seat for kids. As you begin to stretch your adventures a bit, it lets them sit comfortably or lets you bring along more than one child.” The Bee has a roll-up clear windshield, tinted side windows, a safety flag and even decent cargo storage space in the rear.
Best Portable Kids Bike Seat
UrRider Ultralight Portable Kids Bike Seat
It might seem odd at first to call a bike seat portable, as isn’t that the very nature of a bike? But in fact once most kids’ bike seats are installed on an adult bike, taking them off is a rather involved affair, especially if you need to take the rack on which the seat sits off completely. This quick attach bike seat is perfect for bringing along on vacation or for the parent who wants their bike to remain in adult mode most of the time. It clips onto the seat post and center tube (note that you need a different variation of the UrRider if you have a cruiser or step-over style frame) and provides a place for a kid to sit, rest her feet, and a handlebar. This seat isn’t suitable for kids too young to hold on and sit still, but it’s ideal for the child in those preschool through kindergarten years who wants to hop in front of mom or dad and hit the road or the trail.
Best Kids Bike Seat For Long Rides
Burley Dash RM Bike Seat
If you plan to go for long rides with your little one, then you’ll probably want to spend a few extra dollars on a bike seat like this that ensures comfort and, even more to the point, safety. The Burley Dash RM (which stands for “rack mounted”) uses a five-point harness (like in a good kids’ car seat) and reliable straps set over adjustable foot rests, both pieces of hardware that can be configured for the child’s comfort and protection. Swegle says: “We recommend the Burley Dash rear mounted child seat because it makes it much easier to handle the weight of a child behind you,” a factor that’s especially important during long-distance rides.
Best Kids Bike Seat For Bigger Kids
Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi
This bike seat has a maximum user weight of 48.5 pounds, nearly 10 pounds heavier than the weight limit of most bike seats. It can accommodate many kids well into their sixth year, meaning more miles shared by parent and child. Alex Zuckerman, owner of Bicycle Playground in Huntington, New York, says “the Thule Yepp is versatile in how it fits [kids],” with its foot rests sliding up or down many inches to suit the ever growing passenger’s legs. The shoulder straps too can be set at two different heights (and are of course adjustable, tightening easily over the torso), another feature that allows for use by older, bigger kids. Zagata calls this “the only seat to marry comfort with style.”
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