Best Child Bike Seats

Best Child Bike Seats

June 28, 2017

Best Child Bike Seats

Best Child Bike Seats
Photo by @caitlynfick
 Long before little ones can pedal a bicycle on their own (or even say the word “bike”), they can join you on yours. Best Child Bike Seats

Long before little ones can pedal a bicycle on their own (or even say the word “bike”), they can join you on yours. Using a bike seat is one of the best ways to zip around town together while getting your kiddo comfortable on two wheels.

When Do You Need a Bike Seat?

Although many child bike seats are suitable for babies as young as nine months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents wait until age one to ride with a child in a rear seat wearing a helmet. (Read our guide to helmets.) In some states, it’s actually illegal to ride with a child under one-year old in a trailer or a bike seat, so be sure to check your local laws. Small bumps in the road and curbs can jiggle little ones around (even with a sturdy harness). Be sure your child has strong neck and head control and can sit up on his or her own.

Which Bike Seat is Right for You?

Determining the right seat comes down to a few key factors:

  • Bike Compatibility: Check your bike’s specs to ensure the components work with the type of carrier you want.
  • Comfort Level: A “co-pilot” adds more weight and can throw off your center of gravity. Some parents feel that they have better balance and control with their kiddo in a front-mounted seat, while others say just the opposite. It’s a personal preference and oftentimes your child will have an opinion, too!
  • Child’s Age: Many front-mounted seats are designed for younger riders ranging from nine-months to two- or three-years old (or a weight limit of around 35 pounds). Rear-mounted seats are suitable from nine months up to around 45 pounds. Always refer to your seat’s specifications for the most accurate age and weight requirements.

The Lowdown on Bike Seat Options

Front-Mounted

Where It Attaches: the front of your bike, just below the handlebars

Tip: A threaded headset (the part that connects the front fork to the frame) usually has more room for mounting, as opposed to a threadless headset.

The Pros:
  • Biking time = bonding time. Parents absolutely love that they can see their kiddo and talk easily (rather than the risky business of turning around or yelling into the wind and hoping for the best). Little ones may also feel more secure being close to you.
  • Your child has an exciting front row seat on your adventure.
  • These seats are generally lighter and easier to attach/remove.
The Cons:
  • It can feel a little cramped for the grownup. Make sure your bike’s top tube is long enough to prevent your knees from bumping against the back of the seat when pedaling.
  • Front-mounted seats can’t be used for as long as a rear-mounted seat due to size and weight limits.
  • In the event of a head-on crash, your tot is more exposed.
  • There are no suspension systems to absorb impact and help cushion your kiddo from bumps.
  • Depending on the seat, frisky little feet can get in the way of your steering.

Rear Frame-Mounted

Where It Attaches: directly to the bike’s seatpost, which is the tube that extends up from the bike’s frame to the saddle.

FYI: Make sure your bike doesn’t have cables along the tube, or else you won’t be able to properly mount.

Tip: Due to the placement of the bike seat, your co-pilot might feel bumps more than you do. Experts recommend inflating your tires just below their max setting to amp up cushioning.

The Pros
  • There’s no need to spend additional money on a separate rack, since this seat attaches directly to your bike’s frame.
  • Rear seats are larger than front-mounted seats and have more features like a high back, reclining options, adjustable footrests and straps and suspension systems for a smoother ride.
  • The same seat can be used from baby (nine months) to big kid (45 pounds).
The Cons
  • You can’t see your kiddo or easily converse.
  • There may be an adjustment period for your toddler to enjoy being in the back.
  • A double kickstand can help make the bike feel more stable when you’re putting kids on or taking them off.

Rear Rack-Mounted:

This type of seat mounts onto a rack that is connected to the frame of your bike, over the back tire. If you already have a rack attached for other purposes, this is a good seat option. Just make sure your rack has a weight capacity of at least 60 pounds to safely support the seat and your child. It’s also very easy to remove a seat that’s attached your rear rack.

How We Chose our Best Picks

We surveyed Babylist families about the bike seats they love the most and added our own research and insight to determine the best options. Whether you are looking for a front or rear-mount seated, these are the top five picks.

Front Favorite

Why We Love It

If you’re in the market for a front-mounted seat, the Thule Yepp Mini gets big love from Babylist parents. (Thule acquired Dutch brand Yepp last year.) Compatible with most bike models, the sleek, lightweight design and ease of use makes it a family favorite. The shock-absorbing seat is made with water-repellent EVA material, so it’s durable and a cinch to clean. Features that make the ride extra comfortable and safe include the padded 5-point harness, adjustable foot rests and straps, holes for ventilation, a high back and childproof safety buckle.

Keep in Mind

A big crowd pleaser among the kiddos is the soft headrest with cuddly bunny that attaches to the handlebar. This additional purchase is worth the splurge if it gets your tot on board without a fuss!

What Babylist Parents Say

“I can use it with my three year old and also with my nine-month old and they LOVE it. Easy to take off for when I bike solo.” -Jaclyn

Additional Specs

Age range: 9 months - 3 years (weight capacity of 33 lbs.)

Seat weight: 7.7 lbs.

Safety harness: 5-point

Versatile Mount

Why We Love It

This popular (made in the U.S.A.) front-mounted seat is affordable, easy to mount and fun to use. With a max weight of 38 pounds, the iBert will grow with your child a bit longer than other front-mounted seats. It’s compatible with most bike frames since it only needs 3/4” spacing on the steering tube. Many parents find that the unique center-mount positioning helps with balance. Other perks: The t-bar with padded steering wheel makes the ride even more interactive for kiddos as they “help” navigate. You can also buy extra mounting brackets, making it simple to swap seats from bike to bike.

Keep in Mind

The iBert doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of pricier front-mounted bike seats. The back is a bit lower, which provides less head support, especially if you have a tall toddler. And without a place to rest their heads, tots won’t find this seat an optimal spot for a snooze. Although the leg wells help prevent legs from getting near the wheels, frisky feet can make their way to the handlebars.

What Babylist Parents Say

“No complaints, easy to install and easy to use.” -Cristina G.

Additional Specs

Age range: 1-4 years (weight capacity of 38 lbs.)

Seat weight: 3.11 lbs.

Safety harness: 3-point

Perfect Trifecta

Why We Love It

It can be nerve-wrecking to steer a bike around town when you can’t see your passenger behind you. But the sturdiness and top-notch safety features of the rear-mounted Thule Yepp RideAlong gives parents peace of mind. Not only is it a breeze to mount, but you can remove it in seconds with the quick release bracket. Notable safety features include: an easy to adjust harness, childproof safety buckle, built-in reflector for added visibility and DualBeam suspension system to take the brunt of road bumps.

It’s super comfy thanks to adjustable foot rests and foot straps, as well as five different reclining positions (all of which can be adjusted with one hand). Better yet? This seat is designed and tested for tots from nine months to six years old (or up to 48.5 lbs.)! So you can be in it for the long haul, literally and figuratively. It fits most bike frames, even smaller models.

Keep in Mind

The RideAlong is expensive compared to other bike seats. But it’s the perfect trifecta: easy on parents, comfy for kiddos and long-lasting.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It’s so secure and sturdy, I never feel uncomfortable or nervous riding with him on the back of my bike, even through the busy streets.” -Katherine J.

Additional Specs

Age range: 9 months-6 years (weight capacity of 48.5 lbs)

Seat weight: 10.2 lb

Safety harness: 3-point

Cocoon Carrier

Why We Love It

The Topeak rack-mounted carrier is a great choice for a bike frame that’s hard to fit. It comes with a rack (either for disc brakes or non-disc brakes) and is shaped like a protective “cocoon” to wrap around your little one. It doesn’t recline, but the upper part of the back rest is recessed to provide extra room for the helmet. The adjustable shoulder harness and footrests are easy for parents to maneuver and the suspension system creates a smooth ride for kiddos.

Keep in Mind

The positioning of this seat can be a little too close for comfort. While some may find it cozy, others may find it a deal-breaker. The bigger your kid gets, the less space you’ve got.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Great to have him behind me. It feels like it will protect him from the elements and we can talk as we ride! Seems like a fit that will work for a while.” -Ali H.

Additional Specs

Age range: Weight capacity of 48.5 lbs (or about five or six years)

Seat weight: 6.9 lbs.

Safety harness: Shoulder harness with multiple height adjustment system

Won’t Break the Bank

Why We Love It

Another front-mounted favorite for 1-4 year olds is the WeeRide Kangaroo. It’s even more affordable than the iBert (but not as sleek looking). It’s easy to attach to most bikes, especially on models with less space on the headset. The padded front bumper is fun for kids to hold onto or use as an impromptu pillow. It’s mounted in the center, which provides more balance for mom and dad.

Keep in Mind

The back is low, so sometimes the shoulder straps can slide down.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Seriously the WeeRide is the absolute best!! Its simplistic design makes it easy to install and lightweight. The best part is the child sits right in front of you. You can cruise around town and point out all the cool things you see together. My son also loves pretending to help me steer the bike.” -Melissa

Additional Specs

Age range: Ages 1-4 or a weight capacity of 40 lbs.

Seat weight: 10 lbs.

Safety harness: 5-point


Jessica Solloway is a writer and digital content strategist. From start-ups to global brands, she helps companies tell their stories online. She regularly contributes to websites including weeSpring, The Muse, Mommy Nearest, and Motherly, among others. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and two little girls.

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