Test results for seven bike seats and four trailers, priced from $73 to $1530
Until your child is old enough to ride their own bicycle, you’ll need to carry them on yours, either in a child seat mounted on your bike or in a trailer towed behind. But with so many child seats and bicycle trailers on the market, which is the right one for you and your child?
CHOICE put seven bike seats and four trailers to the test to find which are safest and easiest to use. We assessed the child seats against the voluntary standard for child carrier seats for pedal bicycles, AS/NZS 4287:1995. Unfortunately this standard hasn’t been reviewed since 1995, and while still useful, in some aspects is rather outdated; for example, it only covers rear-mounted seats. Several of the seats in this test don’t meet the standard, suggesting industry isn’t paying much attention to it any more.
One of the most important safety considerations for a child seat or trailer is its harness. Your child will be moving at speed and sitting relatively high off the ground if they’re in a bike-mounted seat, so they must be securely strapped in. Therefore, while we used the child carrier seat standard as a basis for testing, we also assessed the seat and trailer harnesses against the most up-to-date and rigorous requirements available: the harness clauses from the Australian stroller standard AS/NZS 2088:2000. This standard calls for harnesses to be five-point (with shoulder, waist and crotch straps), which is the most secure type.
There are centre- and front-mounted child seats now on the market, and we think the standard should cover these as well as rear-mounted seats. As more and more people are now cycling, we also believe it’s time AS/NZS 4287 was updated to be more relevant for today’s cycling parents and manufacturers.
Please note: this information was current as of June 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
- Beto BSC001DB
- Cyclops 170/10250
- OKBaby Ergon
- Repco Child Safety Seat R92600
- Rosebank Deluxe Child Safety Seat HS2002
- Topeak Baby Seat - caliper brake
- Weeride Kangaroo Baby Carrier
- Chariot Cougar 2
- Croozer 535
- Cyclops Master Cycle Explorer
- Pacific Steel Kiddie Trailer PSKT
Recall Notice (February 2012): Morris Stanley Pty Ltd, the distributor of Chariot bicycle trailers, has issued a recall notice for Chariot trailers manufactured from December 2005 through July 2010. On some of these models the bicycle trailer hitch mechanisms can crack and break, causing the trailer to detach from the bicycle. (This problem didn't occur with the sample we tested.) For more details see the full recall notice at the Product Safety Recalls site.
We weren’t able to buy or test all the brands and models we’d have liked. However, the Burley Solo single seat trailer was recently recommended in a test by Bicycle Victoria, which also recommended Hamax and Bobike child seats. Go to www.bv.com.au and search for “kiddie carriers” for more information, including advice on choosing and using child seats and trailers.
There are some innovative alternatives to child seats and trailers which we didn't test. The Taga is a Dutch multifunctional urban vehicle that converts in seconds from stroller to three-wheeled bike with built-in child seat (it’s not yet available here, but retails overseas for about $3500). Cargo cycles such as the Christiana tricycle are another European design, having a wooden cargo box built into the frame and big enough to carry a child or a large load of groceries; these are available in Australia.