Child Seats vs. Child Trailers

Overview

What’s the right choice for you, a child seat or a child trailer?

It is great that you are thinking about getting your child or children out with you to enjoy cycling. A child seat or child trailers both allow you to bring your kids along for the ride.

This Guide is designed to help you choose which product is the best choice for your family. 

Quick Overview:

 

 

Child Seat

Child Trailer

 

 

 

Number of Children

1

1 or 2

Maximum Weight

40LBS

100LBS

Storage

NO

YES

Helmet Required

YES

YES

Child Seats

Child Seats:

Child seats are ideal for use when riding on bike paths at speeds about 10MPH. Child seats are generally rated to 40LBS of weight approximately 1-3 years of age. Often many children get to long for a child seat before they exceed the weight limit of the child seat.

When occupied child seats raise the center of gravity of the bike and thus will affect the way the bike handles. One of the biggest challenges of child seats is getting the child in and out of the seat.  Loading and unloading the child is made easier when you have one person to support the bike while the second person works with the child. Also while the rider gets off the saddle or is dismounting the bike they may find it harder to balance the bicycle. The greater the weight of the child the greater the impact they will have on the bikes stability. In general smaller riders will notice the effect of the additional weight more so then a larger rider. In addition any sudden movements by the children are likely to be noticed by the bicycle rider.

In the case of a crash the child is likely to sustain minor injuries, even with all of the safety features that today’s child seats offer.

When shopping for a child seat, look for one that provides protection for the child’s head and a multiple point retention system for the child. 

Some child seats have the option of purchasing a second rack to mount to an additional bike so that you can share the child seat among bikes. This is generally a $30-$50 option. 

Child Trailers

Child Trailers: 

Child trailers will carry up to 2 children or a 100LBS of weight and most provide ample room for the child to bring along their favorite toys, books, food and drink and other items. Many trailers offer storage room behind the child’s seating area so that you can bring along all the stuff that goes with having a child. Each of these features adds enjoyment for both bicycle rider and child and help accommodate longer rides. While all trailers come with a protective cover to keep debris out many child trailers come equipped or offer the option of a two and one cover, where the second cover is plastic to keep the rain out or provide warmth to allow riding in cooler temperatures. Trailers are also designed with airflow in mind to keep the child cool during the warmer months. UV protection is a feature offered in some covers as well.                       

Trailers generally mount to the bikes rear triangle and have very little affect on how the bike handles. Trailers do require a little more room on the trail or the road because of their width and require a little more room to make a turn however each of these issues are easily adapted to. With child trailers being easy to mount they are easy to share among different bikes even during a ride. 

Trailers are usually constructed out of bright covers to increase visibility come with reflective stripping areas to mount flashing lights to and safety flags. 

In the case of a crash the child will stay upright because the child trailer hitches are designed to allow the bike to be knocked over or laid down without affecting the trailer itself. For added stability many trailers have the wheels angled in to increase stability. 

When shopping for trailers look for one that is well constructed lightweight and easy to fold up for transportation. Some trailer models even offer the option to be converted into a jogging stroller or a stroller. 

Child trailers hold a high resale value and overall have a lower cost of ownership then a child seat.  

RECOMMEND ACCESSORIES:

 Child Seat:           

            Helmet (State Law for children under 16)

            Flashing light

            Extra rack to mount the child seat on a second bike

 

Trailer: 

            Helmet (State Law for children under 16)

            Rearview mirror for bicycle

            Flashing light

            Spare tube or patch kit.

            Jogging attachment if available 

Child Trailer Buy Back

Bike Doctor of Crofton offers up to 40% of the original purchase price of a child trailer towards the purchase of a bike for the original owner of the trailer purchased from the Bike Doctor of Crofton within the three years. Proof of purchase required. Ask a Sales Associate for details.