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Among the great joys of parenting would be sharing tasks with your children, including bicycle riding. Here’s a guide to bicycle trailers (our choice for safety) and bicycle-mounted kid chairs that will allow you to take your kid in your two-wheeled adventures long before she’s prepared for wheels.
There are three basic techniques to tote your kid along on a bicycle ride:
seats that mount onto your bike, bicycle trailers, and trailer cycles.
Whichever you choose, ensure your kid is wearing a bike helmet. Children under 1 aren’t prepared for a helmet and for that reason should not be taken on bicycle rides in any sort of trailer or seat. Check out our motorcycle helmet purchasing advice and child and toddler bike helmet Ratings (available to subscribers).
Bicycle-Mounted Child Seats
These are put behind or in front of a fisherman’s chair and can be used with kids ages 1 to 5. (They face forward.) The added burden of a bicycle-mounted chair can affect the handling of the bike. This is sometimes unnerving or just annoying, based on your cycling abilities. A child would have a fall of approximately 3 feet by a mounted bicycle seat, which increases the possibility and potential severity of an accident.
These seem like little sidecars attached to a bike’s rear axle or frame.
They can carry children ages 1 to 6 years. Some models carry one child; others can carry two. All models have a weight limit that ranges from 85 to 125 lbs (this range sounds very high for kids that are just 1 to 6 years old). Exceeding the limit can compromise the bicycle trailer’s construction.
Kids are seated, strapped into the carriers, and usually enclosed in a zippered compartment which protects them from the elements. Unlike bike seats, trailers are low to the floor, which may reduce potential injuries from falls. However, this low profile makes them difficult for drivers to see. Then, they need to have an orange safety flag that’s 31/2 ft to 7 feet high.
Most versions have a hitching device that will keep the trailer steady in the event the bike tips over.
Some bike trailers may also be converted to hiking or jogging strollers by buying an additional kit, something to consider when shopping. If you are an occasional cyclist or have limited storage area in your house, a bike trailer likely is not worth the trouble or expense. Some models fold, which can make them more attractive if space is tight. But if you like to spend your evenings on bicycle trails, a trailer is a great way to receive your little one (or 2 ) in on the fun.
Consider, too, a bike trailer loaded with a couple kids can weigh around 100 pounds. Do you’ve got the bike abilities and endurance to haul the load? The challenge will be even larger if you ride on hilly trails.
Trailer Cycles These are one-wheel extensions which attach to the seat post or a special rack on a bicycle for a grownup.
They are a good choice when your kid is slightly old, would like to do a little bit of pedaling, but can coast when he gets tired. Trailer cycles don’t have wheels. They’re designed so that they won’t influence your biking (think of these as a rollercoaster in back of your bike).
Most are meant to be used by children ages 3 to 6, although there are some versions, such as the Trail-a-Bike, roughly $320, which are designed for kids ages 7 to 10. Some trailer cycles can also be foldable for easier storage and transporting. Most versions require the child to sit down on a standard bicycle seat and continue to fixed handlebars. Others, like the Weehoo i-Go pedal bike trailer (roughly $400, for kids 4 to 9 years old), require the child to sit in a chair with a back, and there are no handlebars.
No matter which seat, trailer, or pedal trailer you purchase, carefully follow installation and assembly instructions. This is crucial to your child’s security. If you are at all unsure, have someone at a reputable bicycle store do the job or ask them to show you.
Additionally, it is a fantastic idea to check with your physician before you take out your child on a bike
–no matter what kind of accessory you choose –to be sure he or she is developmentally ready for the experience.
We favor bicycle trailers but if you would like to use a child’s bicycle seat,
we think it’s better to choose a rear-mounted version. While we believe bicycle trailers are inherently safer, a bicycle seat can be OK if used and installed properly. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what makes you and your child most comfy.
To make shopping easier, you should choose which type of tot toter is right for you. Here are the forms of bicycle seats and trailers to consider.
To make shopping easier, you should choose which type of trailer or seat is right for you. If they are too small for one, they’re not ready for a bicycle ride.
Front-Mounted Bike Seats
Some are made to be mounted at the front of an adult bicycle, others behind.
Both types allow a child to face forward. 1 benefit of a bike seat is that it enables your kid a good view of the passing scenery. They are acceptable for children ages 1 to 5. Any rear-mounted chair you purchase should meet ASTM International safety standard F1625, which covers only rear-mounted bicycle seats.
(There is no standard for front-mounted chairs ) Certification is generally noted on the packing or in the manual. Rear-mounted chairs offer you high springs with wraparound sides that form a protective casing. With both rear- and – front-mounted models, there should likewise be footrests to grip and shield your child’s feet so that they do not get trapped in the wheel or brake.
Front-mounted seats have a lower profile without a high rear or wraparound sides.
1 advantage is you can realize your child as you’re riding, so you will quickly see if he gets or succeeds squirmy and nervous. Some parents find it easier to obtain their kid in and out of a front-mounted seat. And in the event the bike tips, your arms will likely break your child’s fall. But be sure he is not carrying anything during the ride because it could get caught in front spokes when it drops, resulting in a fall. The other concern is that your kid could catch the handlebars and interfere with steering.
Are you an ardent bike rider or just someone who tools around town? Here are a few to look at.
HarnessWhether you are using a bicycle-mounted chair or a trailer, you should have a padded, adjustable five-point harness to securely restrain your child. Models designed for two kids should possess two harnesses.
Should you have to store your trailer in a small space, including a hallway closet, start looking for quick-folding mechanics and quick-release wheels, like those on the Chariot Classic Carrier.
Some trailers attach by an axle mount that moves directly to the rear axle of the bicycle. Still other trailers utilize a stay mount that clamps directly to the bike frame.
Bike carriers simply are not an option for children under 1 year of age. The American Academy of Pediatrics is apparent on this. Some countries, like New York, prohibit children younger than 1 from riding in bicycle trailers or bicycle seats. The jostling of a bike, or being pulled by a bicycle on rough streets, only is not great for a young infant’s developing brain. And also a young baby isn’t powerful enough to encourage her mind when wearing a helmet. Older children should wear helmets whenever they’re on a bike, or being hauled by bike.
“We love children getting out with their parents,” says Dr. Beth Ebel, a member of the AAP Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. “toddlers biking with children is wonderful for encouraging a lifetime of healthy, active living.”
But there are a number of rules to follow, she cautions.
“The helmet needs to be on each and every time,” she says. “We advocate that children under 12 months of age not be carried on a bicycle. It’s a physiological issue.” Ebel also says that parents should not ride a bicycle when carrying a child in a back pack or a front sling. “It affects your center of gravity on a bicycle,” she clarifies.
At any time you take your child on a bike, make sure he’s wearing a correctly fitting bicycle helmet which meets criteria set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If she’s too small to wear a helmet, don’t take her out on a bicycle.
They are supposed to be used in parks and on bicycle trails in which you are not going to encounter automobiles.
There are no national standards for trailers or even bicycle seats. The AAP recommends that virtually any trailer or bike-mounted child chair meet the safety standards of ASTM International. It’s also a fantastic idea to buy trailers and bike seats from reputable bicycle stores and producers. Be mindful about what you might see in toy stores, cause those items may not meet the exact same security standards.
Bike seats and bike trailers are usually found at garage and tag sales, but secondhand gear could put your child at risk. If you have to use a secondhand bicycle seat, you should check the CPSC website, which lists product recalls, so you don’t purchase a harmful or unreliable version. Also check for missing pieces of hardware, and search for signs of a collision or excessive wear and tear. The owner’s manual should be accessible. Otherwise, visit the manufacturer’s website to make sure that you’re attaching the bicycle seat or trailer correctly.
Before you buy a bike trailer or bicycle-mounted seat,
do a test drive (not together with your child, though). Most reputable bike stores that sell trailers, bicycle seats, and trailer bicycles allow you to take a spin. Substitute a sack of potatoes to your child. Return to the shop with your kid when you are ready to purchase to be certain the seat or trailer will be a good fit. Keep your receipt in case the product doesn’t work once you get it home.