Bike Seats for Kids

Bike Seats for Kids
You can share your love of bicycling with your child by taking him along for the ride in a bicycle seat. A number of kid bike seats are on the market, classified by how and where they attach to the bike. Each has advantages and disadvantages. All of them should be used only with children who are at least 1 year old. The first thing to confirm is that the seat meets the U.S. ASTM 1625-00 safety standard in place for all child bicycle seats.

Rear-Rack-Mounted bike seats

Rear-rack-mounted bike seats attach to the top of the pannier rack at the back of the bicycle. They usually have four screws for added stability. They work well for larger and heavier children, and leave your own view clear. One hazard of the rear-mounted seat is not being able to keep an eye on your child. If you crash, you'll be the one who suffers the most impact, but a child in a rear-mounted seat is also likely to incur some type of neck or arm injuries. Look for proper foot protection with a rear-mounted seat so your child's feet cannot dangle down and get caught in the spokes. Rear-mounted seats generally make it more challenging to balance, as the bike's point of gravity is in the back. It's also difficult to get kids in and out of the rear mounted seats while keeping the bike stable.


Rear-Tube-Mounted bike seats

Rear-tube-mounted seats attach to the bicycle's seat tube at the rear of the bike. They are not as stable as the seats that attach to the pannier rack, since they are only relying on one point of connection rather than four. They tend to bounce and bob as you ride along. Rear-tube-mounted seats are better for lighter children, usually less than 48 pounds.

Center-Stem-Mounted bike seats

Center-stem-mounted seats attach to the front stem of the bike, right beneath the handlebars. Center mounted seats let you keep a keen eye on your child, and make it easier to communicate throughout the ride. Center-mounted seats also put the bike's center of gravity in the middle of the bike, rather at the rear, which makes controlling the bike a bit easier. Center-mounted seats also make it easier to get the child in and out of the seat while keeping the bike stable. Its location, however, is also a drawback. A center-mounted seat can get in the way of pedaling, comfortably reaching the handlebars and your view of the road ahead. Hazards of center-mounted seats include debris flying up from the front wheel and hitting your child, or the child dropping something that can get stuck in the front spokes. The child will also get the brunt of any head-on collisions or crashes.

Center-Bar-Mounted bike seats

Center-bar-mounted seats attach to the bike's front bar, some with a bracket that runs along the entire bar with connections at the front bike stem and seat post. In addition to being elaborate and tedious to install, these are even bulkier and more cumbersome than the center-mounted seats that attach to the stem. The bar mounted seats puts the child closer to your own seat, making pedaling even more difficult and reaching the handlebars even more of a challenge.


Article Written By Ryn Gargulinski

Ryn Gargulinski is a writer, artist and performer whose journalism career began in 1991. Credits include two illustrated books, "Bony Yoga" and "Rats Incredible"; fitness, animal, crime, general news and features for various publications; and several awards. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature and folklore and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing with a French minor from Brooklyn College.

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