Bike riding with a baby is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy nature at the same time. But it can also be challenging. How do you balance safety and convenience?
If you want to cycle safely with your baby there are a number of things you need to consider before you head out on two wheels.
Please note we are not medical professionals. If in doubt about whether it is safe to start riding with your baby, please consult your pediatrician.
When Can You Start Biking With A Baby?
The most popular opinion – and often the law – is one year old. By age one, most children have developed the neck strength needed to support the weight of a bicycle helmet and to keep their heads from bobbing when riding through rough terrain.
Additionally, they need to be able to hold up their own heads from strong vibrations, and upright situations. Make sure your baby can hold their head up on their own before biking with them.
However, if you have concerns about your child’s ability to handle a bike by themselves, talk to your pediatrician first. It may not be safe to let them try until they reach two years old.
Is It Legal To Bike With Your Baby?
Before biking with your baby, check out the law in your state or country about biking with a child.
Make sure you know if your state requires bicycle helmets or bans bike riding with children younger than 12 months old. Also, make sure your child can fit tin the bike seat you choose to use. And most importantly, be aware of any traffic laws and how to obey them.
What Kind Of Equipment Should I Use?
You need to buy a good quality bike and a comfortable baby bike seat to go baby cycling.
The two main types of baby bike carriers are bike seats and bike trailers.
The bike seat for your baby should be positioned so that it does not interfere with your ability to control the bike, and it won’t hurt your baby.
You may also want to consider a bike that can easily fit onto your car. This will make it easier to transport your bike and your baby to different parts of town for even bigger adventures.
Front-Mounted Baby Bike Seat
Front-mounted seats are becoming the most popular choice. These seats attach to the front of an adult’s bicycle and allow children to have an interactive ride. The seats attach to the bar between the handlebars and the adult bike seat.
At this age, you should be looking for a baby seat that has a harness to keep your child securely strapped into their seat. Front-mounted seats are the safest and most comfortable for parents and babies alike. Front-mounted baby seats allow the parent to be extremely close to the child, and you can see how they’re getting on.
Rear-Mounted Baby Bike Seat
A rear-mounted baby bike seats attach either to the adult saddle post or a rear rack attached to the bike. The advantage of rear seats is that it can grow with your child as he/she grows. Because babies love to nap in the back seat, a rear bike seat allows them to rest comfortably, whilst looking at their surroundings.
When Can You Put A Baby In A Bike Trailer?
Another option for carrying your baby whilst biking is to use a bicycle trailer or cargo bike.
To be able to ride a bicycle safely and comfortably inside a bike trailer, your young passengers must be at least 12 months old by the time they begin riding. This age requirement ensures that a child has adequate strength in their neck and back muscles to be able to sit up properly in the trailer.
Your baby will be seated in a supportive seat with five-point harness whilst in the trailer, hence why this is a popular and safe choice when biking with your baby.
A good bike trailer will include an aluminum roll cage, waterproof cover and hammock style seating for comfortable suspension.
Another good part about cargo bike trailers, many models allow you to fit more than one child.
Other Options For Biking With Your Baby
If you don’t want to use a carrier, there are other options available. For example, you can attach a stroller to your bike. This allows you to push the stroller while pedaling at the same time.
Additionally, it is wise not to put a helmet on your baby until they can properly support their own head, as helmets tend to be too heavy. But, you should not have a baby on your bike if they cannot yet support their head.
What Should I Wear Biking With A Baby?
Make sure that you dress comfortably when biking with a baby.
Wear clothes that are loose-fitting but still provide adequate protection from the elements. Avoid wearing jewelry because it could get caught up in your face or hair, and hurt your baby. Additionally don’t forget to bring along a change of clothes for both of you, just in case your baby gets dirty – or you!
Baby Bike Helmets
The most important thing for your baby to wear biking is, of course, their helmet.
As we’ve already covered, you should be waiting until your baby is at least 12 months so their head is strong enough to support the weight of a helmet.
You should, of course, look for a lightweight helmet specifically designed for your baby’s smaller head. The Schwinn Infant is a popular choice for smaller heads, down to as small as 44cm circumference.
Where Should I Go With My Baby?
There are many places where you can take your baby for a bike ride.
Some of the best include parks; playgrounds; lakes; rivers; and trails. These places also tend to have designated bike lanes or cycling paths, which are necessary in order to take your baby biking. These areas offer a variety of scenery and activities that are fun for both you and your baby.
You may want to avoid street cycling in heavily congested, busy roads that do not have dedicated bike paths.
Should I Carry My Baby On My Back?
No! Carrying your baby on your back puts unnecessary stress on your shoulders, hips, and lower back, and it is in no way secure for your baby, especially during movement on a bike.
Instead, you should hold him/her securely in front or behind you using a bike seat carrier that has passed safety standard tests. Look for infant seats that are designed specifically for the age of your baby for the safest ride.
How Much Time Should I Spend On A Bike With A Baby?
There’s no set time how long you should spend biking with your baby.
You may need your baby to come with you on your daily commute to be dropped at childcare, or simply enjoy taking a weekend ride.
Bike Safety Tips For Parents
Before you begin riding on your bike with your baby, read up on some basic bike safety rules. Here are some things to remember.
- Always remember that both of you should be wearing a bike helmet for your own safety. Just remember, it is not recommended for any children under 12 months.
- Never leave your baby unattended on a bike, whether that’s in public or at home. They could easily fall off and injure themselves.
- When cycling with babies, remember to be aware of everything, and if you’re on the roads, watch out for dangerous traffic. If you have your baby on the back, do not ride faster than 10 mph, as anything faster will increase your risk of crashing. Try not to ride on sidewalks on paths, but on designated cycling paths and quiet roads.
- Be careful when crossing roads, stay alert to traffic and lights, and always use signals to tell cars where you are going.
If your baby becomes fussy or cries, do stop immediately and check your baby’s diaper. Make sure your baby is as comfortable as they can be, in terms of temperature too. To be extra safe, carry a first aid emergency kit if you have the room.
We hope these ideas help you get started with biking with your baby. Remember your baby’s safety is a paramount. Whilst I am sure you’re eager to hit the parks and trails as a family, safety comes first and you should wait until they can fit the right supportive gear before starting your baby biking adventures, even if this does mean they are closer to being toddlers.
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