Guide

A guide to child bike seats

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CTC Vice President Josie Dew and her daughters
CTC Vice President Josie Dew and her daughters

Most child seats are suitable for children between the ages of about nine months and four years. The lower limit is dependent on the ability of your child to sit up unsupported – that is, on the floor rather than propped up with cushions.

Some seats recline and children as young as six months – those who can sit up when propped up – can go in those. A reclining seat is better anyway because it allows your little one to drift off to sleep without slumping sideways or forwards.

The upper limit is restricted by weight rather than age. Seats are typically rated for passengers weighing up to around 20kg (44lb). Even if a seat seems sturdy enough to take a heavier child than that, it’s a bad idea to exceed its weight limit. It’s not so much that the seat will break – although it might – rather that the handling of the bike gets progressively worse with a heavier passenger, particularly with a rear-fitting seat.

How many child​ren?

It’s possible to use front and rear seats on the same bike, but unless you live somewhere flat, doing so makes the bike very cumbersome. A child trailer is a superior solution for two children.

If you need just the one seat, then, despite its handling quirks, the pedalling and safety advantages of a rear seat make it the better option.

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