How it works
A child seat can only be used when the child can sit safely on its own. Children can be transported in a small child seat on the front of the bike (head tube); most child seats, mostly larger, are attached to the seat tube or luggage rack. There are diverse possibilities of installing a child seat, please note the respective manufacturer’s specifications.
Child seat at the front
If the child rides along in a child seat at the front of the bike, it has a clear view of the surroundings and can easily communicate with the cyclist during the ride. Most child seat models are attached to the head tube. The child’s weight must not exceed 15 kg. Some manufacturers offer a windshield that also protects against rain and insects.
Child seat at the back
Should the child be taken in a child seat behind the cyclist, the seat is attached to the seat tube or to the luggage rack. Luggage bags can still be used with the aid of a luggage rack extension. The child’s weight must not exceed 22 kg.
Child seats have a belt system to buckle up the child and a leg protection to prevent the child’s feet from getting caught up in spokes during the ride. It is important to ensure that the child cannot open the belt by itself. In the event of an accident, the child falls just like the cyclist. In most child seats its body is well protected.
Children should always wear a helmet and never sit in the child seat unsupervised!
Kick stand / steering damper
Instead of the normal and often rather unsteady stand, a bipod or rear stand is advisable so that the bike has a stable position when the child is seated or lifted out of the seat. A steering damper (see picture on the right) can improve the stability of the front wheel. When the bike is on a bipod stand, this prevents the handlebars from bumping into your back while you place the child in the rear child seat. Ask your local bike shop for advice.
Purchase child seats in specialised bike shops
Child seats should not be ordered or bought blindly. Depending on the bike frame and wheelbase, unexpected problems can occur, and the seat might not fit the bike. It therefore makes sense to seek advice from a bike shop. It is best to take your bike with you, so that it can be determined right away which seat is suitable and how it needs to be attached. Child seats are available at prices between 30 and 150 euros (as of July 2018).
Pros/Advantages of a child seat
A child seat has low acquisition costs in comparison to a trailer or cargo bike. It is way more space-saving and requires considerably less effort when pedalling due to its lower pull weight. Also, different bicycles can be used as a “horse” if they are equipped with the corresponding seat adapter.