When my children were younger I would take them out with me in the jogger, and then as they got older bike rides sounded like a great idea, and we saw lots of people doing it, we just never really made the plunge to putting that extra seat on the back. But with Spring here it's got me thinking about it again. My youngest (just turned 4) sees the kids on the back of their parents bikes and wants to do it as well, but I keep trying to explain to her she is just to old at this point. So I've done a little bit of online research on the subject and thought I'd share. After all it is basically a car seat for your bike right!
The primary determinant of when an infant can join his or her parents on bike rides is the strength of the the child's neck. Because of the jostling and the additional weight of a helmet (8-10 oz.), this is quite a few months after a baby can first hold their head up. Note: Some jurisdictions have laws requiring passengers on bicycles to be at least one year old. And, most jurisdictions have laws requiring children to wear helmet, even when they are riding in a trailer.
Usually by age 12 months parents can start checking with your child's physician to see if they have the neck development to safely go for a bike ride. Most toddlers' neck and shoulder muscles can tolerate the weight of a helmet and absorb shock from bumps in the road at 1 years old. [We do know that infants in Africa travel by bike. They are tied tightly to their mothers back, with their heads well supported.]
We know of no comprehensive study on the best method to carry an infant on a bike and remember there are risks associated with all of them.. I saw a nice break down of the risks on this web site International Bicycle Fund. You can see what's right for your family the bike seat or the trailer. And remember they should ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Thank you to the International Bicycle Fund for this great information!
Below is a great quick glance guide of things to think about when using a car seat on the back of a bike. I grabbed this off the Consumer Product Safety Commisions website.