A guide to child bike seats
Feet in spokes account for half of all child hospital admissions that involve child seats. Footrests are not enough; feet may slip off or your child may simply forget and let legs dangle. It’s essential that any seat has secure foot straps, ideally in wraparound foot wells. Be aware of what else might reach the spokes – items such as scarfs, mittens on strings, and long laces – and make sure they can’t. The skirt guard that’s fitted to Dutch roadsters is a useful extra barrier.
Little fingers can also get caught, usually in an adult’s sprung saddle rather than the spokes. If your saddle has springs, either swap it for one that doesn’t or make or buy a finger guard. Bobike’s Saddle Spring Protector is what you need if you don’t fancy doing some DIY using a strip of stiff plastic and some zip ties.
To keep your child secure, most seats use a three-point harness, with straps going over the shoulders and securing between the legs. A better set-up is to have a waist belt or bar as well, as toddlers can sometimes slip out of shoulder straps when asleep. Seats that tilt back alleviate this problem, because your child won’t be slumping into the straps.
Child seats aren’t as conspicuous as child trailers or trailer cycles when you’re on the road, and some drivers won’t give you such a wide berth. If that’s a problem where you ride, consider a bright ‘baby on board’ sticker or a flashing LED light fixed to the child seat.