A guide to child bike seats

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CTC Vice President Josie Dew and her daughters
CTC Vice President Josie Dew and her daughters

Useful extras

To use a child seat on more than one bike – on mum’s as well as dad’s, for example – buy an extra rack or bracket for the seat when you purchase it. While seats are usually quick-release, racks and brackets stay fixed to the bike because they take minutes rather than seconds to remove.

Esge Twin Leg KickstandIt can be tricky getting a child into and out of a child seat if you’re on your own, even with a wall to lean the bike against. Toddlers are heavy and it only takes a foot snagged in a seat strap when you’re lifting your child to send the bike crashing to the ground. The Esge Twin Leg Kickstand looks like a motorcycle propstand and is one of the few kickstands strong enough to hold bike and child upright while you sort out buckles and straps. That said, you should never leave a child in a seat unattended. It doesn’t take much to tip over a top-heavy bicycle.

If you find it hard to balance when looking round with your passenger on board, then it’s a good idea to fit a handlebar mirror such as the Busch und Müller CycleStar. Not only will you be able to monitor traffic behind you, you’ll also be able to see if your child has fallen asleep.

Some child seats come with an integral reflector on the back, but few have mounting points for lights, which you must use if you’re riding after dusk. As a seat post light will be obscured by the seat, your best bet is to mount a light on the back of the carrier rack.

If you’re planning to walk with your child at the end of your ride, the Steco Buggy Mee Deluxe is a great help (it’s Dutch but can be ordered direct). It’s an adapter for the rear rack that enables it to carry a folded-up pushchair. It fits to one side of the bike and projects backwards, and so won’t interfere with your rear-fitting child seat. 

Information from this guide is taken from The CTC Guide to Family Cycling.

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