How old should a child be before they can be transported by bike? That’s a question we get asked often, by parents with babes in arms. And before we can answer that question, there are variables to consider – sorry, it’s not that simple.*
* This article is intended as general advice and before carrying a toddler or young child on a bike you should consult a healthcare professional to determine if your child is ready.
There are currently no studies available regarding the safety of young babies on bikes or in trailers, and in some places like New York, Children under 1 are prohibited from being transported on a bicycle. Specially designed helmets for babies fit a child from 1 year to approximately 2.5 or 3 years old.
Babies and children must wear helmets in Australia
In Australia, wearing helmets on bikes is mandatory – this includes children being carried on bike seats, in cargo bike boxes, trailers or chariots – even if you ride on the footpath or in a park. Helmets need to be correctly fitted and comply with ASNZS 2008:2063 Standard for Bicycle Helmets. If you are outside Australia, check your local requirements for children’s helmets, bike seats and harnesses.
Can your child sit up and play unsupported?
Common sense would suggest that a child must be able to support their own head unassisted (plus the weight of a helmet) before they are transported on a bike/trike in a properly designed child seat. This would normally mean the stage that they are able to sit up and play unsupported.
While some parents want a ‘what age is that’ answer, given the huge range in ages children hit their developmental milestones, there is no single correct answer for all children (regardless of your child’s stage of development, helmets only start at the age of 1 years old).
In our experience, the ability to sit up
Rear mounted child seats
By far the safest and most popular is the rear-mounted child seat. These often rely on a rear carrier/rack being mounted to the bike
Suitable for children aged 1 – 5 or up to 22kgs, they come with an adjustable 5-point harness and adjustable footrests and foot straps. Some child seats offer additional support with padded ‘wings’ that reduce the head dropping to the side and some tilt backwards. This reclined position adds support to the back of the head and helps prevent it ‘flopping forwards’ especially if your toddler is tired, or falls asleep on the way home from childcare.
Yuba cargo bikes have specific attachment points for the Yepp brand child seats and similar child seat built into the frame and can be configured to carry up to two child seats, or a combination of
There is also the option of