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Mums' Corner

How To Carry A Child on A Bike: Trailers v Seats

It's a constant debate in the mums' cycling circle. Which actually is the safest way to carry a child on a bike?

Deciding whether you are comfortable cycling with your child on board is a hard decision to make in itself. But once you’ve made your decision, you still have the big trailer versus seat debate to have with yourself.

Mums that use seats swear by them and will tell you that they are much safer than trailers. Likewise mums that use trailers are adamant that they are the best and safest option.

So which one’s true? Well, what it really comes down to is personal choice. You are the one who needs to feel comfortable, confident and safe with your chosen method of transporting your little one. To help you make this tricky decision though, we have drawn up a list of pros and cons of both the trailer and the seat.

If after reading you’re still unsure which is best for you, head down to your local bike shop and try them both out to see. Let us know which one you decide to go for.

Seats: Pros

  • Generally deemed the safest option for use in big cities and traffic-filled areas as they don’t increase the width or length of your bike and keep your child high off of the road
  • You are much more aware of what your child is doing in a seat and are easily able to talk to them

Seats: Cons

  • You can only transport one child in a seat so not ideal if you have a couple of toddlers or a set of twins
  • If you do have an accident and fall off your bike, the child will fall from quite a height
  • It’s not as easy for cars to notice a bike seat in the distance as it is a trailer. To fix this consider investing in a high-vis cover for the bike seat instantly making your child much more visible
  • The extra weight of having a child sat in a bike seat can make you feel more unbalanced and affect your handling. This will, however, improve with practice

 

Trailers: Pros

  • Great for transporting two children at the same time
  • If you topple over on your bike trailers tend to stay upright, so your child is less likely to be injured
  • They offer protection to your child against the harsh elements and it’s easier to keep them warm in the winter
  • Many trailers can be converted into strollers too so you can cycle to the shops, unhook the trailer and push your tot around in it
  • Trailers can take more weight that seats so your child won’t outgrow them as quickly and they can also be used for storage
  • Cars normally give more space to trailers than they do to bike seats, the wider birth making you feel safer

Trailers: Cons

  • It is harder to keep an eye on your child or communicate with them when they are in a trailer making some parents feel unnerved
  • Trailers take up a lot more room: they make your bike both wider and longer so you won’t be able to nip through traffic jams or small spaces with one attached
  • It’s incredibly hard to do a U-turn with a trailer attached

How To Carry A Child on A Bike: The Conclusion

There’s pros and cons for both the seat and the trailer; neither option is ideal. But, if you are confident about riding with your child in tow it seems the most practical option for city cycling would be the seat with the high vis cover and a well-fitting helmet on your child’s head.

Whereas if you’re cycling down quiet lanes or in the countryside, the trailer appears to be the safest option. But again, make sure your kid is wearing a helmet – their heads are extremely fragile after all and the sides of the trailer aren’t going to protect them if you are unfortunate enough to have a crash.

 

Liked this? Check these out too:

Everything You Need To Know About Cycling With A Baby

The Coolest Kids Helmets

How To: Fit A Kids Helmet

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