Updated: May 9, 2015
Child Bike Seat Reviews:Some of the most enjoyable times I have had with my 2 kids is when I take them out for a bike ride. I see lots of parents using the bicycle trailers but I prefer the child bike seats that attach to the front or rear of the main seat. A child bike seat is a safe way to get your toddler onto the back (or front) of your bicycle and seeing the outdoors. For years the rear mounted bike seats for kids were the most popular but recently the front mounted child bike seats are gaining in popularity amongst parents. Originally designed and marketed throughout Europe, the front mounted bike seats are perfect for little ones who want a better view than just seeing your back while you ride the bike. I first saw one of these front mounted, forward facing seats while visiting Italy about 5 years ago and now I regularly see them in the Portland area where I live.
Kids bike seats are best for those ages 1 to about 4. I found that after about age 4 I had a hard time managing the extra weight and the kids were too big for the child seat. Some people have a hard time riding a bicycle with a mounted seat and instead choose to go with a bicycle trailer which we will discuss in another article. I ended up buying the Topeak Babyseat which was roughly $150 but I certainly got my money worth over the last 6 years of using it. The seat attaches to a mount rack that is bolted to the frame of my bike so that it is very sturdy and certainly won't fall off. The seat fits over the rack and a reflector piece clips and secures the seat into place. It's easy to use and installation of the mounting rack was quite simple. There is a harness that goes over the shoulder area and tightens across the waist and then a crossbar comes over the child for further protection. Consumer Reports did a great article not too long ago on child bike seats and they looked at safety features, seat location, assembly, and ability of the adult riding the bike in determining which type of bike seat or carrier is best for you. We also found a good article listed on Helium.com which was a "guide to buying a child bike seat" and it had lots of helpful information. David Mozer wrote an in depth article on kids bike seats at Ibike.org and it goes into the front mounted versus rear mounted seats. One of the key points is that it's harder to get a child out of a rear rack mounted seat compared to the front top-bar mounted seats. The front child seat is also more stable than rear mounted ones leaving the rider more comfortable with weight distribution. Kids tend to like the front mounted bike seats better since they have a clearer line of vision up front. The WeeRide Kangaroo Child Bike Seat is actually center mounted between the bike seat and the handlebars. The one drawback with this variety is that many people say it "just doesn't fit their bike properly" although the design and idea are really good. The iBert Safe-T Front Mounted Child Bicycle Seat is a top rated model and does well with positive reviews from 100's of owners that have posted comments on Amazon.com. Not all bike stores that we looked in carry the variety of child bike seats that are on the market. We found our Topeak child bike seat in a sporting good store where we bought out bikes, but they didn't carry the front or center mounted models at the time. Top brands are iBert, the WeeRide, Topeak, and CoPilot. You can browse the top selling child bike seats online here.