Surely, you already came across two versions of child bike seats: Either front-mounted seats that are to be attached to the bicycle handlebar or rear-mounted models which can be attached to the rack or to the frame of your bike. Both versions have advantages and disadvantages.
Front-mounted child bike seats are perfect for always keeping an eye on your little one and for being able to communicate with him. However, your child will not always be pleased about this way of mounting because front-mounted bike seats rarely supply your child with appropriate protection from wind and rain. Front-mounted bike seats also influence the steering behaviour of the bike considerably. The main reason for this is that these bike seats have a maximum weight capacity of 15 kg. Even if your child is still below this weight limit, we recommend that you should not use a front-mounted bike seat due to safety reasons. The risk of you and your child getting injured is too high with bike seats of this version.
When your child is riding in a rear-mounted bike seat he is protected from wind and rain by your body. Many bike seats of this mounting version are quite comfortable for your little one and allow him to lean back and take a little nap. A good example for rear-mounted bike seats is provided by the Britax Römer Child Bike Seat Jockey Comfort which is suitable for a weight of up to 22 kg.
A disadvantage of rear-mounted bike seats is that they take away much of the space you usually use for storing items, because you can neither use the pannier rack nor a backpack. A good remedy, however, is provided by a bike basket which can be attached to the bicycle handlebar.
Nevertheless, rear-mounted child bike seats are the better choice for transporting your child. When using such a bike seat, you need to be aware of the bike’s road behaviour and riding comfort which changes, because the centre of gravitation is transferred to the rear wheels which can cause the braking process to be blocked. The front wheel is relieved and thus, is more likely to lift from the ground which can be potentially problematic when riding on steep driveways. That is why, we recommend you to test drive several times so that you can get a feeling of riding your bike with a child bike seat attached. In order to do so, you’d better take a backpack loaded with enough weight as to imitate your child.
Once you have decided on the model, you should pay attention to important safety features of the bike seat. A good child bike seat should feature the following criteria:
In order to make longer bike tours as pleasant for your child as possible you need to look for child bike seats that feature good padding. The padding of a comfortable bike seat should never be too thin. Renowned manufacturers of child bike seats such as Britax Römer or Hamax offer washable seat pads – this way, you don’t have to worry when your child accidentally stains the pad. Quite often children tend to fall asleep while riding in a bike seat. If you want to make sure that your child can take a nap while riding in the bike seat while still being provided with comfort and safety, you need to get a bike seat with a reclinable backrest.
In order to maintain the safety of your child while riding in the bike seat, it is of vital importance that he or she wears a helmet at all times. Some manufacturers now even consider helmets for child bike seats. That is why, the respective models feature a notch or recess for the helmet so that your child can lean back comfortably.
Many parents decide on getting a child bike seat that grows with their child which enables them to use the bike seat for as long as possible. Child bike seats that grow with the child feature extendable backrests as well as footrests and belts that can be adjusted accordingly. Thus, after your child has hit a growth spurt, he or she can continue to use the bike seat while still being provided with the same level of safety and comfort.
There are quite many things parents need to consider carefully before purchasing a child bike seat. In terms of safety, you should never make any compromises while in terms of design and look you can feel free to choose whatever you or your little one prefer. Many child bike seats provide high comfort while riding and thus, they are particularly suitable for longer bike tours. Such bike seats feature a well-padded seat unit. Adjustable backrests offer your child the opportunity to rest and maybe take a little nap while riding the bike seat. If you plan to go on short bike trips only, a non-reclinable backrest is perfectly fine.
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