We’re an urban family of four in Europe who live car-free, so I speak from personal experience when I say that getting around with small children via bicycle is actually pretty awesome.
But whether you’re ready to bike full-time or just hit the trails for some fresh air together, a bike trailer for kids can help make it possible. Here’s what you need to know about bike trailers for babies and kids—and how to hit the road for some adventures.
In this article:
- The facts:
- The best bike trailers for kids:
- The best bike seats for kids:
Bike Trailers for Babies and Kids: What Are They?
A bike trailer is an enclosed attachment for the back of an adult bicycle that allows you to transport babies and children in a safe way. Typically, a bike trailer meant for young children is attached via a hitch mechanism to the adult bike. Some even fold up for extra-easy storage, and you can use a bike lock to keep it safe when you’re out running errands.
Bike trailers for babies and kids are different from bike seats—bike seats are open, not enclosed, meant for one child only, and attach to the back of an adult’s bike. Bike trailers are enclosed, can hold two children, and they are pulled along the ground with wheels of their own.
Most standard adult bicycles are compatible with a bike trailer and trailers are designed to be as lightweight as possible while maintaining strict safety standards, so that you’re not pulling a ton of extra weight in addition to the weight of your child or children.
When you get a bike trailer for your child, sometimes you will also need to get a small accessory latch to attach to your bike first (relatively inexpensive), so just be aware of that potential necessary accessory purchase before you buy your trailer.
Last but not least, they tend to be fairly easy to assemble with standard tools that you probably have at home already, but if you don’t feel confident with DIY assembly or latch installation, most bike shops should be able to help you out.
“Many bike trailers allow you to detach the trailer base and use it as a stroller."
Bike Trailers for Babies and Kids: The Benefits of Biking Together
There are a lot of benefits to biking and using a bike trailer for babies and kids, such as:
- Great form of exercise
- You’ll save money on gas, insurance, car maintenance, and parking
- You never have to worry about looking for a parking spot
- it’s fun! You’re out in the fresh air, you’re taking in the scenery at your own pace
- and many a child who is not a fan of the car seat absolutely loves riding on the back of mom or dad’s bike or inside a comfy trailer.
Bike trailers for babies and kids are investment items, but they’re designed to be used for many years and to stay in great condition. They can be resold or re-homed if your family has outgrown them, and tend to keep a lot of their initial value if they’re taken care of.
Plus, a lot of bike trailers actually double as a stroller, so you’re getting two-for-one in some cases.
Features to Look for in Bike Trailers for Kids
Safety and ease of use are, of course, the top two features you’ll want to look for in a bike trailer. You’ll also want to consider:
- Family size. If you have two kids (or plan to) or just want the ability to have your child bring a friend along for a ride sometimes, you’ll want a double trailer. Otherwise, stick with the single-seat trailers, which are less expensive. Also pay attention to weight capacity if you have toddlers and older children.
- Conversion ability. Many bike trailers allow you to detach the trailer base and use it as a stroller. This is an awesome feature for things like grocery runs or a bike trip to the zoo, for example.
- Storage space. Will you be using the trailer frequently for errands and hauling lots of gear around? If that’s the case, make sure that the models you’re looking at have generous storage capacity in the back.
- Weather protection. Not every trailer features significant weather protection, but many models offer protective accessories against sun, insects, and rain, so it’s something to look out for if you’re going to be using your trailer no matter the season.
- Dimensions. If you’re biking through narrow city streets and lanes, low on storage space, or are trying to find something significantly lightweight, pay attention to the dimensions and weight of the trailer before you buy. Some trailers do fold up.
“You’ll probably want to wait at least till your baby gets closer to a year old or has very solid head control and sitting skills before using a bike trailer."
Safety Rules for Kid and Bike Trailers
Bike trailers, when used appropriately, score high marks for safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics rates them as safer than using a rear-attached bike seat.
When can you put a baby in a bike trailer? Well, you’ll find that international opinions differ in this matter. In Germany, where our family lives, a bike trailer is actually approved for babies as young as 2 months old, if you use an attachment made specifically for the baby’s age range and size within the trailer.
However, in the US, the AAP recommends waiting until 12 months. While many babies may be able to sit up and have good head control around 6 or 7 months, it’s generally recommended to wait least till your baby gets closer to a year old.
If you’re the adult riding the bike, you’ll want to obey all relevant bike safety rules when biking around with your kids. Make sure both you and your baby or toddler are wearing a helmet. You’ll also want to keep these additional safety tips in mind:
- Use reflective gear on the trailer or bike seat if you are riding at night.
- Make sure your children are properly belted in to the harnesses.
- Do a test run with the trailer before setting out for a long trip.
- Never leave your babies or kids unattended in a bike seat or trailer.
The Best Bike Trailers for Babies and Kids
Best Lightweight Option
Qeridoo Sportrex1 2020 Petrol Bike Trailer
If you’re looking for the perfect lightweight one-child bike trailer with a good price point, solid weather protection and excellent safety features, the stylish Qeridoo Sportrex1 2020 is a great bet. Popular with many urban European parents, it gets high marks for its comfortable child seat and it doubles up as a stroller. The Sportrex1 can be stored easily as it is very compact. If you only plan on using a bike trailer for one child, this is a fantastic choice.
The stylish blue and grey Qeridoo Sportrex1 2020 boasts an excellent array of safety elements, from its reflective strips on the wheels to extensive rear impact and floor protection. Your child has plenty of fresh air to breathe with 360-degree air circulation technology, but is also safe from the elements whether it’s a hot sunny day or pouring cold rain (note that while the fabric is waterproof, you may want to invest in a separate rain cover).
Since it doubles as a stroller, you’re totally set if you need to pop into the grocery store with your child while leaving your bike outside.
- Dimensions: 40.1 x 13.7 x 22.4 inches
- Trailer weight: 34 lbs.
- Maximum possible weight: 110 lbs.
- Maximum child height: 45.8 inches
- 5-point safety belt
- An infant seat or special baby trailer seat can be installed
- Can be used as a stroller
“I’m totally satisfied with this product. I bought it for my 3rd child and regretted that I hadn’t bought it earlier for other children. I found it cheaper than the main competing products while offering comparable technical specifications. Suspensions are good, you can easily remove the front wheel and quickly fix it back. It’s very easy to fix the trailer to your bike. It was important for me to be able to store the metal bar somewhere under the trailer if you want to convert the trailer to a baby carriage. There is a place to store and the whole process is very easy.” –Amazon
Keep in mind:
Since it is a compact trailer meant to be used by only one child, it features less storage space than many other trailers.
Allen Sports Deluxe 2-Child Bicycle Trailer & Stroller
On a search for a low-budget but well-regarded bike trailer that will seat two children and double as a stroller? The Allen Sports Deluxe has you covered, and unlike many trailers with a lower price point, it features steel wheels instead of plastic, a feature many users appreciate. It’s easy to set up and install, and uses five-point safety harnesses to keep your kids secure. A footguard tube will help provide protection for little feet.
Parents like this safe, sturdy trailer for two that offers a light and breezy ride. It gets top marks for simple assembly and ease of use. While it is a bit more cramped in the back than some other 2-child trailers, it is still a comfortable fit with a decent storage space pocket as well. The rain cover also prevents your littles from getting soaked when you’re out for a ride.
- Dimensions: 36 x 10 x 26 inches
- Trailer weight (empty): 24 lbs.
- Maximum possible weight: 100 lbs.
- Quick-release wheels
- Folds up and converts to stroller
“5 stars. I am a 35-year-old woman and put it together myself as another lady in another review! It was a little tricky but with some muscle I was able to put it together and am so proud. It easily attached to my bike and it’s such a smooth ride for my little one. He has fallen asleep a few times. I absolutely love this and couldn’t be more happy. I’ve used it 5 times already and have no complaints.” Wal-Mart
Keep in mind:
The one issue many users have is the Velcro in the back of the trailer, and that it is a bit less roomy and padded than some higher-end models, but overall it is a well-loved trailer.
Thule Chariot Lite Bike Trailer
While pricey, this trailer is worth every penny. It’s agile with excellent suspension and gives a cushy ride for the kids and smooth sailing for the adult biker. The Chariot Lite seats two children with ample storage space in the back, a slew of safety features, and sturdy wheels. It converts to a stroller and has 5-point harness seatbelts and various zip-on or attachable accessories for weather protection. All wheels are removable and it folds up.
The Thule Chariot Lite is the bike trailer of choice for thousands of families in Europe and North America for good reason: it’s fantastic quality and covers all your bike trailer needs, and has solid value if you want to re-sell.
Whether you’re using it for bike trails or for inner-city travel, it’s such a smooth ride that you hardly know it’s attached. The seats, while not fully reclinable, can lean back to an angle for added comfort, and my kids personally love riding in it for both long and short excursions. The storage space is quite generous, and it’s built to withstand all the elements.
- Dimensions: 34.2” x 31.5” x 15
- Trailer weight (empty): 28 lbs.
- Maximum possible weight: 100 lbs.
- All wheels removable
- Full weather protection including UV 50+
- Complete ventilation system
“Best purchase I’ve made for baby thus far! Trailer is super easy to assemble and attach to the bike. Easy ride and lightweight so you can’t even tell you are pulling anything behind. Plenty of storage in the rear compartment. I have been able to fit a large purse along with a winter jacket and a baby blanket at the same time. I pop this in my trunk easily to take to trails and I love the ability to use as a stroller and it’s just about replaced our regular old stroller at this point.” Amazon
Keep in mind:
The excellent weather protection accessories that come with the Chariot Lite can be pricey to replace, so try to take good care of them and keep of track of where you put them!
Best Mid-Range Bike Trailer
Burley Encore X Bike Trailer
Burley Encore X is a solid, safe and well-reviewed mid-range double seated option. While it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles as some of the higher-range models, it’s compact, comfortably seats two kids, and has a decent amount of storage space and weather protection included. High marks for a smooth ride, and well-sized for narrow city streets.
The sleek and highly portable Burley Encore X comfortably fits two young children or toddlers, and parents rave about the easy assembly, safety features and butter-smooth ride. The padded seats give your little ones added comfort, and the conversion to a stroller is simple and straightforward, ideal for daily outings.
If you’re a parent who loves to go out jogging, the jogging conversion kit allows you to easily transform the stroller into a jogging stroller, so you can bike to a trail and take a jog with kids in tow.
- Dimensions: 33 x 31 x 37 inches
- Trailer weight (empty): 24.7 Pounds
- Maximum possible weight: 100 lbs.
- Maximum child height: 38 inches
- Includes a safety flag and wheel guards
- UV+ sun protection
- Skiing and jogging conversions
“We LOVE our Encore X trailer!! We took this everywhere this summer… we feel the price of this trailer is justified by just how much nicer it is! The suspension makes a huge difference, we live in rural Alaska with horrible roads and this makes the ride so smooth for them!! Also the bench seat alone is worth so much in my opinion, they sit upright and so comfortable versus the sling seat…It’s super easy to convert from trailer to stroller and back.” Amazon
Keep in mind:
Users do report that it is a bit squished in the back, so more ideal for younger and shorter children to allow for more legroom and comfort.
Simplest to Use
Schwinn Echo Double Bike Trailer
A mid-range and well-loved trailer for two, the Schwinn Echo Double features comfy padded seats, an aluminum frame and wheels, and a simple assembly and bike attachment process. The included coupler will let you put the Schwinn Echo onto pretty much any standard adult bike. Parents rave about the sturdy build and the smooth, easy ride, and kids find the seats and 5-point harness comfortable for a day out biking.
The Schwinn Echo Double, from one of the most reputable American bike companies out there, is an excellent choice for biking families who don’t want to spend a fortune but want a trailer that will get the job done and keep their children safe.
The canopy and bug screen help protect your littles from the elements, and the trailer’s frame is easily collapsible for simple storage. It converts to a stroller, and an added bonus is quite a bit of storage space, especially for the price point.
- Dimensions: 51.8″ x 32.5″ x 31.9
- Maximum possible weight: 80 lbs.
- 20″ alloy rims with rubber air tires
- Safety flag included
- 5-year warranty
- Mesh windows
“It is a great product for the price. Very sturdy yet very light, you won’t feel it when biking around. The only thing I don’t like is that the seat is very upright. Other than that, very easy to put together and durable. The tires are big and good quality.” Walmart
Keep in mind:
This trailer has a significantly lower maximum weight than many other bike trailers on the market, so your children may not be able to ride in it quite as long if you are using it for two kids.
Bike Seats for Kids
Best Budget-Friendly Seat
Bell Cocoon 300 Bike Seat
The Bell Cocoon 300 bike seat is great for older babies and young children, especially when you need to just hop on your bike and zip away. The front grab bar allows your child to hold on tightly and provides added safety, and the installation process is very straightforward for most standard adult bicycles. The cloth insert is machine-washable.
The lower price doesn’t mean skimping on quality with the Bell Cocoon 300 for getting around town with your little one. Your child rides in safety with foot rests and clasps, a 5-point harness and a high back protection, and features and plastic and steel frame. The Bell Cocoon 300 uses a mounted attachment and comes with easy instructions on an included BILT app, and can be used by a child weighing up to 40 pounds, so you may even be able to use it for rides into school age as well depending on your child’s size.
- Dimensions: 14.1 x 10.4 x 25.3 inches
- Seat weight: 7.15 lbs.
- Maximum possible weight: 40 lbs.
- Fits most 26″ and 27″ bikes without rear suspension
- Rear reflector
- Five-point harness
“This is easy to assemble with some automated video for instructions through an app. I got the Cocoon 300. The product was nice, comfy and sturdy. My baby loves it already. I have a 15-month-old baby and this fits her well. Good product for the buck. Highly recommended!” Amazon
Keep in mind:
Some parents report that the front bar is far enough in front that it touches the parent’s back, so just consider if that will be an issue for you personally.
Best for Long Ride
Yepp Maxi Rack Bike Seat
The Thule Yepp Maxi is one of the best high-end bike seats out there for babies and kids, ideal for families who use their bicycle as a primary form of transportation and recreation. Its shock-absorbing design makes for a super-smooth ride, and it scores very high in terms of comfort, durability and safety. An optional adaptor accessory allows you to use it with multiple bikes and its waterproof design wicks away moisture and makes it easy-peasy to keep clean on the go.
Particularly if you live in a place that gets hot, the Thule Yepp Maxi is built to be sturdy, comfortable, and safe while eliminating the back sweat that sometimes comes along with riding in a bike seat for kids. Adjustable foot rests, shoulder strap and a 5-point safety harness keep your baby or child secure and enjoying the ride.
The mounting and installation procedure is simple, and unmounting is very easy as well, which is handy when you need to leave it somewhere for a while. Parents report that it is lightweight and easy to ride along with.
- Dimensions: 32 x 20 x 15 inches
- Seat weight: 8.4 lbs.
- Maximum possible weight: 40 lbs.
- Reflector and attachment point for safety light
- Adjustable foot rests
- Great ventilation and airflow
Customer review: “
Our toddler loves riding on the back of our bike. This seat kept her safe even when the worst happened and the 88 pound bike tipped over! I was riding on a neighborhood street and stopped at an intersection to wait for a fast car to pass. They screeched to a halt and waved for me to turn. I should have just waved them on, and was a little flustered/surprised. My turn went up a very steep hill. Unfortunately, my throttle didn’t accelerate enough and I tipped my bike over to the right side. As we tipped, my worst fear was that my toddler would get crushed or scraped, but she was completely unscathed. My kneecap (and my pride) took the brunt of the fall. Thank you, Thule! I hope this is our one and only tip-over, but I’m reassured that my toddler is safe.” Amazon
Keep in mind:
Make sure your bike is compatible with the seat before purchasing. Thule does make other bike seats that have different bases, so just double check beforehand.
Frequently Asked Questions
What age can a baby go in a bike trailer?
The AAP recommends that you wait until your baby is 12 months old before using a bike trailer.
Are bike trailers safe for babies?
If they are used properly with the adult following proper safety precautions and the child is wearing a helmet, they are very safe.
Can a 6 month old go in a bike seat?
It is typically not recommended for babies at that age since many cannot sit fully unsupported with proper head control. It is best to wait till 9-12 months for safety. Talk to your pediatrician for their specific recommendations.
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