Is cycling with a baby safe?
There’s much debate around the topic of cycling with a baby. The Dutch think it’s safe to cycle with a newborn, Brits are more likely to think it’s safe from nine months old and the Americans tend to wait until their baby is at least one year old.
Regardless of what your friends and family advise, the most important thing is that you believe your baby is old enough and that you feel safe cycling with them on board. If you don’t feel 100% safe or sure, then it’s definitely too soon. But if you’re desperate to cycle around with your baby in tow and feel that it would be safe to do so, then there’s a few factors to take into consideration before you make your final decision.
One of the most obvious worries of taking a baby on a bike is the possibility of falling. Many mums will argue that they never fall off of their bike and the probability of having a fall with a baby on board is extremely low – much lower than falling down the stairs whilst having their baby in their arms.
But the low probability of suffering a fall or being involved in a crash doesn’t mean that it is an invalid worry. Babies are much more fragile than toddlers and children and even the slightest accident is likely to cause serious injuries to your baby – a risk that is enough to prevent many cycling-mad mums from riding with their baby.
Risk of falling aside, cycling can be bumpy and the constant vibrations and shaking that your baby may feel as you pedal away could cause risk of injuries to their delicate heads. For this reason the older your baby is when you first take them out on your bike, the safer they will be.
It is for these reasons that most bike shops and cycling organisations won’t advise you to cycle with a baby until they are at least nine months old and are able to sit up unsupported. If you can wait until they are a year old then that’s even better but it is generally agreed that nine months is a safe age to start cycling.
There are bike carriers available for babies as young as six months old which are great for mums that feel that their baby would be safe at that age. However, it is not at all advised that you cycle with your baby before they are six months old as the risk of crashing, falling or injury from shaking are simply too great to risk.
Once your baby is at the appropriate age to cycle safely with them, there are a variety of carrier options to choose from. Every mum is different and a carrier choice that works for your best friend may terrify you and vice versa, so be sure to try out the different varieties available to see which you feel most comfortable with before buying any.
To see a variety of ways in which parents choose to carry their baby on a bike, have a flick through the gallery below.
Ways to carry your baby on a bike
Again the preferred method for carrying your baby on your bike varies country to country and mum to mum. The most popular carriers for UK-based city mums are the rear-mounted baby carriers, whereas the most popular for country mums are the single or double trailers.
In Holland front-mounted baby carriers are all the rage but on English bikes it can be quite awkward to pedal whilst using one of these as you’ll find your legs have to be parted more than you would naturally do so. Although mums normally love the idea of being able to keep an eye on their baby whilst they cycle, there are a lot of safety concerns with front-mounted carriers in the UK – principally that if you did fall off your bike, you could easily fall onto your baby.
There has been ongoing debates as to whether it is legal to cycle with your newborn/young infant in a sling or carrier. However, under the Road Traffic Act 1998, it states: “Not more than one person may be carried on a road on a bicycle not propelled by mechanical power unless it is constructed or adapted for the carriage of more than one person.” – Meaning that you need to have your bike fitted with a suitable device to make it legal for cycling with more than one person, this does not include slings or carriers as they are designed for your body and not your bike.
Bellelli Child Rear Bike Seat
A highly affordable option, the Bellelli Child Rear Bike Seat is incredibly popular and is recommended for children over nine months old. It’s simple to fit to the rear of solid frame bikes and feels strong and sturdy once secured on. The red padding makes it comfortable for your child and the safety buckle is childproof to give you peace of mind whilst you’re unable to keep an eye on your baby behind you. The Bellelli also features the all important footrests to prevent your baby’s feet becoming caught in the spokes.
Halfords Single Buggy Child Bike Trailer
Suitable only for children over one year old, the Halfords Single Buggy Child Bike Trailer is a favourite of parents wishing to cycle with their tots in rural areas and along quiet lanes. The high visibility flag makes it easy for cars to spot and the featured safety harness, bug screen and rain shield make it a safe and desirable choice. This trailer can easily be fitted to any bike frame without needing tools and folds flat for easy storage.
Bobike Mini Exclusive Front Child Seat
The Bobike Mini Exclusive Front Child Seat is suitable for children weighing between nine and fifteen kilos. The built in pretend handlebars will keep your child entertained and the optional headrest and windscreen offer increased comfort and protection.
The cushioned seat is waterproof so you don’t need to worry about leaving the seat out in the rain and adjustable foot supports prevent your child’s feet getting caught in the spokes. The Bobike Mini also features a three point safety harness and patented safety belt system to ensure your baby is fully secure at all times.
Where to buy the right baby bike carrier for you
Leading bike retailers such as Halfords stock a huge range of child bike carriers for you to choose from. It’s also possible to purchase a carrier second hand on eBay, but be sure that it is in full working order before cycling off with your baby in it.
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