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The Best Child Bike Seats and What to Look for When Buying One!

Child bike Seats Buying Guide

Amanda Botton |

A child bike seat is convenient when you want to share the riding adventure with your family or commuting to drop off the kid for kindergarten. They are easy to install, comfortable to sit in and secure to use. Perfect for both short and long rides.

There is a wide range of different bicycle child seats on the market, and finding the right fit for your little one is not always easy. Parents and children have their specific preferences, and the type of seat one chooses also depends on what type of bicycle or electric bike you have.

But don’t worry we are here to help. We have put together a buying guide for kids bike seats, making the purchase choice easy for you.

Child bike Seat Buying Guide

What brand is best for my child?

We highly recommend finding a brand that offers safe and secure seats, but is also easy to mount to the bike. And of course, the child must find the sitting position comfortable for both short and long rides. One brand that tickets all the boxes is the Swedish brand Thule. Thule is known worldwide for their high-quality and comfortable children’s seats.

What type of child seats are available? And can a child bike seat fit all bikes?

A child bike chair is not compatible with every bicycle. The guidelines and manual for each seat depend on the brand and model. However, Thule does create a wide range of kids seats in order to accommodate as many bike models and styles as possible including road bikes, mountain bikes, commuting bikes and e-bikes.

The most common children’s chair is a rear bike seat. These seats are either mounted directly to the bicycle - via the bike frame or seat post - or it is attached to the rear rack. 

 Bike Child Seat Frame Mounted   

A rear rack bicycle rack must have some important features in order to be road secure. This includes have a minimum weight capacity of 25kg, it has to be made of steel and comply with ISO 11243 safety standards. If you prefer a rear rack fitting then we recommend the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi.

Bike Child Seat Rack Mounted

This model is super lightweight, sits sturdy on the back of the bicycle at all times, and most importantly, it meets safety standards. It offers premium comfort due to its shock-absorbing padding and is flexible as your child grows older with its adjustable foot straps and footrests. All Thule seats are very easy to install onto a bicycle. A note to add is that in order for your bike to be able to carry a Thule Nexxt Maxi is must have an Easy Fit Window.

If you don’t have a rack, then we recommend the Thule RideAlong or Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi rear frame mount. This seat can handle a capacity of up to 22kg and will give your child maximum comfort and safety. It comes with secure and adjustable harnesses that include padding for extra comfort. The RideAlong comes with additional five reclining options (up to 20°), perfect for relaxing on-the-go naps. 

Thule frame-mounted child bike seats also include an adapter that secures to the bike’s seat tube. The shape of the seat tube must be oval/circular and have a diameter between 28-40mm for the chair to mount. And the tub area you wish to position the seat in must be a minimum of 15cm. We recommend measuring this down from where the seat stays connected with the seat tube.

Bike Child Seat

Some parents prefer that their child is positioned at the front of the bicycle as this makes mounting and dismounting the bike easier. The front-mounted chair is attached to the top tube of the bike, just behind the handlebars. These seats are best fitted for the little one - under 3 years old. 

Front child Bike Seat

A popular choice is the Thule Yepp Nexxt Mini. The Thule Yepp comes with double security as it has a magnetic safety buckle, 5 adjustable harness points and a front handle for the child’s hands offering extra security and comfort for the child. It has added padding in both the harness and chair for a softer sitting position. The Mini front chair can easily be mounted and dismounted from the bicycle in mere seconds due to its universal quick-release bracket, fitting both normal and ahead stems.

The front mount chair includes an adapter that secures to the bike’s head tube. The shape of the seat tube must be circular and have a diameter between 20-28mm for the chair to mount. And the tub area you wish to position the seat in must be more than 21cm.

Front mount Chair

At what age can a baby go in a bike seat?

A baby can use a child bike seat as early as 9 months old, however, we do recommend speaking to your doctor or pediatrician beforehand to make sure it is safe, as kids develop differently. It is also important that you check that the model you choose for your child is age-appropriate as this varies from brand to model. 

Regarding Thule, their Rear Child Bike Seats are built and tested to suit kids as early as 9 months to as old as 6 years and has a weight capacity of up to 22 kg. While Thule Front Child Bike Seats are designed for kids of 9 months to 3 years old and can handle a weight up to 15 kg, offering your little one an equally comfortable and safe ride but on top of the handlebars so they can enjoy the view with you.

These seats are perfect for growing babies as they all come with adjustable harnesses, footrests and foot straps so that they will comfortably accommodate your kid at every growth spurt.

How to ride safely when carrying a child seat?

When riding with a kid on your cycle it is important that you are always aware of how you ride. As a parent, it is important to both enjoy the ride as well as keeping the child safe.

Here are some riding practices that we recommend for cyclists:

* Make sure before each ride that the seat is correctly and securely fastened to the bicycle. 
* Make sure all the harnesses are securely fastened. 
* Keep a riding pace no more than 25km
* Do not leave your child in the seat unattended
* Avoid going over bumps or uneven surfaces
* Stay on roads that have less traffic and that you feel comfortable riding on
* Always wear a helmet - both child and parent

We also recommend getting familiar with Bicycle Road Rules and Safety practices including how to act when riding, signalling and carrying someone. As well as how to use a bicycle passenger seat for child safety.

Alternative options

As mentioned before, when choosing a kid bike carrier it is all about the preference of the parent and child. Some like the quick and easy fit of a mounted seat, while others prefer that their child sits in a child trailer or stroller.

A bike trailer is bigger and less agile when riding on the road when compared to a mounted seat. But it is definitely a good choice if you need to carry more than one child or a going on a long-distance ride. Thule Coaster and Thule Chariot are durable bike trailers that offer a comfortable and safe ride.

They have the ability to carry extra cargo due to its built-in storage compartments, plenty of ventilation and protection against the sun with its sunshade. The trailers are securely attached to the bicycle by Thule’s unique ezHitch design.

You can now also easily transform your stroller into a jogging partner with the Thule Jogging Kit.

If you are more into the rougher off-road trails and want to share the experience with the little one, you are now able to do so! Shotgun has a wide range of kids MTB seats that are super easy to attach and detach. It is designed for kids between 2-5 years and has no harness or restraints.

Shotgun kids bike Seat

Shotgun Kids MTB Seat is mounted directly onto the bike frame and comes with a kids handlebar (fits 25.4mm, 31.8mm and 35mm handlebar diameters). While the Shotgun Kids Pro MTB Seat does not connect with the frame and has adjustable leg width and length, making it compatible with regular mountain bikes and electric mountain bikes (Fits all MTBs with standard 1 ⅛ steerers and 10mm stem gap).

Sharing your ride with your children makes all the difference. Even though your kid is not yet old enough to ride a bicycle by themselves, with a child seat or bike trailer they don’t have to miss out. There are many models on the market, and finding the right one for you is important for the utmost enjoyment on the go.

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