Baby transport buying guide

Strollers, carriers, car and bicycle seats: we tell you what to look for.
 
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  • Updated:3 Oct 2009
 

01 .Introduction

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Buying a stroller can be a complicated exercise. There are some things you can check for yourself in the shop — such as size, features and manoeuvrability — but how can you tell whether the model you're considering is safe, durable, and easy to use? Here's what to consider.

Three or four wheels?

Strollers come in all sorts of styles these days: layback, umbrella-fold, small and basic versus large and feature-packed. The most significant of your decisions is likely to be the number of wheels: three or four. And that depends on what‘s most important to you.

Three wheelers:

  • For manoeuvrability and style, a three-wheeler is a good option.
  • Three-wheelers are sometimes called jogger strollers, but many are actually not recommended for jogging – if you intend to jog with the stroller, make sure you buy one designed for that purpose.
  • Their increased manoeuvrability can make them more prone to rolling away and they can also be less stable than their four-wheel counterparts and more prone to tipping.

Four-wheelers:

  • Are more compact, easier to fit into a car boot and not quite as wide as three-wheelers, which makes it easier to fit them through narrow doorways and down supermarket aisles.
  • Some also come with a reversible handle or seat, so you have the choice of the baby facing you or looking straight ahead.
  • Umbrella type four wheel strollers are not just more compact when in use, but also generally fold into a smaller package, so they can be a better option for public transport.

Please note: this information was current as of October 2009 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


 
 

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02.Strollers - what to buy?

 

The following models were recommended in our 2009 stroller test.

BébéCare Rverse

Bebe Care RverseFour-wheeler
Price:
$600

Good points

  • Generally easy to use.
  • Reversible seat.
  • Seat converts to a bassinette.
  • Rain and leg cover.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Adjustable handle height. 

Bad points 

  • Nothing in particular.

Bootiq Kye Stroller and Bassinet 007884

Bootiq Kye stroller and bassinetThree-wheeler
Price:
  $500

Good points

  • Generally easy to use
  • Reversible seat.
  • Seat can be replaced with the bassinette supplied.
  • Rain and leg cover.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Adjustable handle height.

Bad points 

  • Our first sample had some durability problems so we bought a second sample, which passed all our tests. The first sample’s problems may have been one-off incidents.

Chicco Trevi - Best Buy

Chicco  TreviFour-wheeler
Price: $399

Good points

  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Bottom basket is comparatively high and easy to access when the seat is up (but access is restricted when the seat is fully reclined).

Bad points 

  • Rear brakes not linked.

Love N Care Adiva Sport

Love N Care Advia SportFour-wheeler
Price:  $449

Good points

  • Reversible seat.
  • Seat converts to a bassinette.
  • Rain, sunshade and leg cover.
  • Mattress supplied.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Adjustable handle height.

Bad points 

  • The adjustable crotch strap has a minimum length of 18cm, which is comparatively long, so this stroller may not suit smaller children.

Bugaboo Bee

Bugaboo BeeFour-wheeler
Price: $899

Good points

  • Reversible seat.
  • Rain cover.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Adjustable handle height.

Bad points 

  • Swivel wheel locks are comparatively hard to operate.

The following models were recommended in our 2008 stroller test.

Childcare Hola 0151410-140

Childcare Hola 0151410-140Price: $400
Type: Four-wheeler

Good points

  • Easy to operate the locking mechanism for the swivel wheels.
  • Easy to convert the seat to a bassinet (or vice versa) as there are no extra parts required.
  • Reversible seat.
  • Adjustable handle height.
  • Rain, insect and boot (leg) covers.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Tyre pump.

Bad points

  • Nothing in particular.

Note: this model is exclusive to Toys R Us.

Bébé Care Caprice 015415-172

Bebe care Caprice 015415-172Price: $500
Type: Four-wheeler

Good points

  • Easy to convert the seat to a bassinet (or vice versa) as there are no extra parts required.
  • Reversible seat.
  • Adjustable handle height.
  • Rain, insect and boot (leg) covers.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Parent's bag with change mat, pouch and wallet.

Bad points

  • Nothing in particular.

Love N Care Uni Coupe BP9756N

Love N care Uni Coupe BP9756NPrice: $499
Type: Four-wheeler

Good points

  • Reversible handle.
  • Insect cover.
  • Padded shoulder straps.

Bad points

  • Handle height/length not adjustable.
  • No rain or boot (leg) cover.

Mountain Buggy Single Urban Elite

Mountain Buggy Single Urban ElitePrice: $860
Type: Three-wheeler

Good points

  • Adjustable handle height.
  • Padded shoulder straps.
  • Tyre pump.
  • Extra padded seat cover.
  • Parent's bag with change mat.

Bad points

  • No rain, insect or boot (leg) covers.

Steelcraft Strider 30132T

Steelcarft Strider 30132TPrice: $449
Type: Four-wheeler

Good points

  • Reversible seat.
  • Adjustable handle length.
  • Rain cover.
  • Padded shoulder straps.

Bad points

  • No insect or boot (leg) cover.

03.Stroller safety and what to look for

 

Stroller safety

Following the tragic death of two babies in separate stroller incidents, the federal government announced a new mandatory consumer product safety standard for strollers, which came into effect on 1 July 2008. The new standard is based on the voluntary Australian/NZ standard, with some modifications:

  • All strollers must have a wrist tether strap (leash), to prevent the stroller from rolling away.
  • The stroller harness requires only waist and crotch straps (to be in line with the US and European standards). CHOICE thinks five-point harnesses with waist, crotch and shoulder straps provide better safety.
  • Brake pedals/levers are coloured red for better visibility (which won’t work as well on red strollers, of course).

Keep in mind:

  • Never leave your child unattended in a stroller.
  • Always engage the brake when the stroller is standing, to prevent rolling.
  • When at a train station, park the stroller with the wheels parallel to the tracks.
  • Use a leash or wrist tether strap to keep the stroller attached to you.
  • Don’t hang heavy bags from the handles, to avoid tipping.

What to look for

  • Weight, size and width The lighter the stroller, the easier it is to carry up and down stairs or on buses and trains. As for dimensions, none of the tested models had difficulty fitting through doorways or into a reasonably large car boot.
  • Wheels Bigger wheels tend to be better than smaller ones over rough ground, kerbs and stairs. However, they can also be harder to fit into a car boot.
  • Handle Check the handle to make sure it feels comfortable to grip. If you’re particularly short or tall, you may need a model with adjustable handle height. A reversible handle (or seat) is useful if you’d like the option of having your child face you rather than face forward, but check that it’s easy to operate.
  • Brakes Some strollers have individual brakes on each wheel; others have brakes linked by a bar, so you only push down on one mechanism to activate them. If the stroller handle is reversible, it’s best to have brakes on the front wheels as well, as these will become the rear wheels (nearest your feet) in the reverse configuration.
  • Swivel wheels at the front make steering easier (but they should also be easy to lock); all the tested models have these. If the stroller has a reversible handle, check whether its rear wheels can also swivel; that will make manoeuvring much easier when you reverse the handle and they’re at the front.
  • Harness Look for a five-point harness with two shoulder straps attached to the backrest at shoulder level, a waist strap and a crotch strap. The waist straps in particular should be securely linked to the stroller’s frame, so the child can’t lean out and tilt it. Give the harness a tug to check the seat doesn’t pull away from the frame. Make sure the straps are easy to adjust and the buckles easy to fasten and unfasten (for you, not your child).
  • An adjustable legrest and footrest help accommodate your child’s growth, as well as keeping their feet clear of the ground and wheels.
  • A basket or tray underneath the stroller should be easily accessible in both upright and layback positions, roomy enough to hold a few essentials and deep enough to stop items falling out. Don’t overload it or the stroller may become unstable and hard to move.
  • A retractable hood/canopy with a viewing window.

Sleeping in a stroller

  • Strollers are not intended to be used for sleeping in, though babies will nap when tired. But take care, a sleeping baby can slip and get caught on the front of the stroller or on the footplates.
  • Convertible prams/strollers are not intended for sleeping, even in pram mode. Babies have died from suffocation by slipping through the back of the headrest, or having it collapse. Of course babies will fall asleep when they’re out in a pram—the rocking and jiggling is very soothing. It’s fine to leave the baby in the stroller when you get home if you’re in the room with them—the deaths occurred when the babies were left to sleep unsupervised.
  • One option is to buy one of the increasingly popular, albeit expensive, models which have a wheelbase that can be used with a detachable bassinet or a layback stroller assembly.
  • Strollers and shopping bags
  • Hanging your shopping bags over the stroller handles affects the stroller’s stability. Manufacturers do warn against doing this, or specify a weight limit, but if the stroller has no pouch or shopping basket attached, there’s little else you can do with your shopping. CHOICE thinks all manufacturers should incorporate a well-balanced basket or pouch into their stroller designs to ensure they’re practical as well as safe.

Strollers and shopping bags

Hanging your shopping bags over the stroller handles affects the stroller’s stability. Manufacturers do warn against doing this, or specify a weight limit, but if the stroller has no pouch or shopping basket attached, there’s little else you can do with your shopping. CHOICE thinks all manufacturers should incorporate a well-balanced basket or pouch into their stroller designs to ensure they’re practical as well as safe.

Baby bags

It helps to have a bag already packed with all baby’s changing, feeding and entertainment needs, not to mention an emergency change of clothes, so you can grab it on your way out.

  • It doesn’t have to be a special baby bag—any good-sized bag with pockets will do.
  • Most baby bags come equipped with things you’re going to find useful: for example, a change mat, an insulated bottle bag or compartment (useful for keeping expressed breast milk cold, or for warm water ready to mix with formula when you need it).
  • Compartments or pockets touted for wet or dirty gear probably aren’t so useful—they’re not very easy to clean out afterwards, so just keep a few plastic bags in there.
  • A bag with a carry strap that can fit over the pram handles may be useful, but make sure your pram can take the weight. With lightweight strollers, using the handlebars can be dangerous.

A backpack style may be more useful than a carry bag if you plan to do a bit of walking.

If you've got twins—or a baby and a toddler close in age —a two-seater stroller could be just what you need for getting everyone from A to B.

  • Most cost around the same as single-seat models of the same brand, and will comfortably transport two kids, a nappy bag and bottles, and maybe even some groceries.
  • But double strollers are bigger and bulkier than single-seaters and can be hard work to push around.
  • Double strollers are available in the same general designs as their single-seat counterparts and have similar features but usually don’t have reversible handles; presumably these are too hard to incorporate in a double stroller.
  • There are four-wheel (or in some cases, six-wheel) models and jogger-style models with three or four wheels, though you'd have to be very fit to go jogging with any of these.

Side-by-side or tandem?

Double strollers generally come in one of two basic designs:

Side-by-side strollers have the two seats next to each other.

  • It’s easier to see both children at once.
  • Are quite wide and potentially difficult to fit through doorways or narrow supermarket aisles, and can take up a fair amount of space on footpaths too.
  • Usually both seats can recline independently, making this type suitable for either two babies, two toddlers or one of each.
  • Babies under six months shouldn't be placed in a stroller seat unless the backrest can be reclined more than 130° to the seat; many side-by-side strollers allow this.

Tandem strollers have one seat in front of the other. This keeps the stroller narrow similar to many single-seat models.

  • Although they can be easier to manoeuvre through a doorway, their length means you could have trouble reaching the door to open it; you'd probably have to back in through the door and pull the stroller after you.
  • The extra length can also make them harder to steer and it can be difficult to get the stroller up a step or kerb by pushing down on the rear handle.
  • It can be harder to keep an eye on the child seated up front.
  • The back seats of tandem-style strollers may recline far enough for a baby under six months. But only some have front seats that also recline far enough to make the stroller suitable if you have young twins.

Stroller seats

Instead of buying a double stroller a quick solution is to convert your normal stroller into a twin-stroller by attaching a toddler seat. But how safe are they?

In May 2005 CHOICE tested three stroller seats. All the seats were easy to attach to the stroller and detach again, but otherwise the results were disappointing. Two seats had potential finger or limb entrapments and the third posed a potential safety hazard to the child in it.

What to look for

When shopping for a seat attachment for your stroller, here's what to look for. If possible, take your stroller and toddler into the shop and try fitting the seat.

  • The seat should be easy to attach and detach. Give the seat a tug in each direction to make sure it attaches securely to the stroller.
  • Check that your toddler fits comfortably in the seat.
  • The stroller will be heavier with two children on board, so make sure it's still stable and manoeuvrable.
  • The five-point safety harness should be adjustable and fit securely to the seat. It should be easy for you, but not your child, to buckle and unbuckle.
  • Make sure there are no sharp edges, detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard and gaps that could trap fingers or limbs.
  • Neither child in the stroller should be able to reach any moving parts like wheels or brakes.

There are three main types of baby carriers:

  • A soft padded carrier (pouch), worn on your front.
  • A sling worn across your front
  • Backpack carriers usually have rigid frames and are suitable for older babies and toddlers.

Soft baby carriers and slings

  • A soft padded carrier allows your baby to snuggle up in the face-in position. Many carriers also allow you to position your baby face out, which allows more freedom of movement and visibility for an older baby.
  • A sling usually offers not just the vertical face-in and face-out positions, but also the “peapod” position, where a young baby is carried wrapped around or across your body.
  • The extra material in a sling carrier allows you to breastfeed a baby, which is a bit awkward in a pouch.
  • A sling can be too bulky for smaller babies, can take longer to learn to wear correctly, and some people find them uncomfortable.

What to look for

Different styles of baby carrier suit different body shapes and sizes, for both parent and baby. Try on a few different ones in the shop.

  • Can you put the carrier on and take it off easily without assistance? Clips and buckles are usually easier to do up and release than straps that tie up.
  • Broad, well-padded shoulder straps that cross at the back help distribute the weight. The straps shouldn’t pull too much on your neck or shoulders.
  • A broad hip or waist strap will take some weight off your shoulders and limit sideways movement of the carrier, adding stability.
  • Are the straps fully and easily adjustable with one hand? Do they obscure baby's vision or cut into their face?
  • Does the carrier support baby sufficiently without restricting head, leg and arm movement?
  • Younger babies have little or no head and neck control and need adequate head support.
  • Older babies need a facing-out option.
  • Well-finished inside seams so they don't rub or chafe the baby.
  • Clear and concise instructions, for example, a DVD.
  • Useful features include a “dribble-guard” to protect your clothes, a pouch for your wallet and a rain guard or sun cover.
  • Consider the season you’ll be using it. Lightweight carriers with a more open design or breathable fabric will be more comfortable for the baby in warmer months.

Backpack carriers

  • Useful for older babies and toddlers for activities like shopping, on the beach or bushwalks.
  • Can feel uncomfortable unless you use them regularly and have developed the necessary strength and stamina in pace with your child’s increasing weight.

What to look for

  • Try on several packs with the child inside.
  • Check several examples of the model as quality of construction can vary.
  • In a mild climate, a simple design that leaves limbs free is more appropriate than a very complex design.
  • If people of different heights and sizes are using the carrier look for a model with an adjustable frame.

06.Child car restraints

 

Every year, many children are injured or killed in car accidents. Many of these could be prevented by the use of a correctly fitted child restraint of the right type for the child’s size.

All child car restraints sold in Australia meet the requirements of the current Australian Standard. but some are better than others, offering additional safety.

What type for your child?

Always use the right type of restraint for your child’s size:

  • Rear-facing baby restraints (baby capsules) for children up to 9 kg or 70 cm (about six months). You use this type until your baby can sit and hold their head upright unsupported.
  • Forward-facing child seats for children 8 kg to 18 kg (six months to about five years). Use this type until your child outgrows it—usually until their shoulders are too wide.
  • Raised booster seats are for children who’ve outgrown their child seat but cannot yet properly use an adult seatbelt. If you’re using one with a lap-only seatbelt, you also need a harness that provides shoulder support.
  • Convertible child restraints that can be used as both a baby restraint and a child seat.

What to buy

All of the following child car restraints achieved the highest rating of **** “Exceptional crash protection and well above the AS/NZ Standard requirements” in the February 2009 test by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, NRMA and RACV. See below for their ease of use rating.

Rearward-facing restraints - babies up to 9 or 12kgs

Dedicated rearward facing restraints:
  • Babylove Snap’n Go Series BL620 Baby Safety Carrier $269.95 (A)
    Ease of use **
  • Safe-N-Sound Baby Safety Capsule Series 230/A/95 $259.00
    Ease of use ***
Convertible forward facing restraints:
  • Secure Turn-A-Tot Model CS35 $499.00
    Ease of use **
  • Safe-N-Sound Compaq Deluxe Series 25/D/2004 $399.00
    Ease of use ***
  • IGC GoSafe Cleo $219.00
    Ease of use ***

Booster seats - older children 14 to 26kgs

  • Infa Vario Kid Model CS 54 $159.00
    Ease of use **

(A) A new model available from Oct 2009.

For more information and all the tested models see the brochure on the RTA website

How to buy a child car restraint:

Only buy a model that carries the Standards Australia mark.

  • Make sure you get the installation manual.
  • Try different models in your car before you buy, as they can be differently contoured and may not fit well.
  • While buying a secondhand restraint can save you money, make sure you don’t compromise on safety:
  • Don’t use a restraint that’s been in a car crash. It’s best only to buy a secondhand restraint from someone you trust — for example, from a family member or friend so you know the restraint’s history.
  • Don’t buy a restraint with obvious signs of wear on the harness and straps, or if the plastic shell or buckles are discoloured, bent, cracked or broken.
  • Don’t use a restraint that’s more than 10 years old. Check with the manufacturer if you aren’t sure of the age of a particular model.
  • Check that the buckles and adjusters work well. If in doubt, have an authorised fitting station check the restraint for you.
  • You may also be able to hire a restraint from community groups, your local council, hospitals or private companies.

How to install and use a child car restraint correctly

Installing and using the restraint properly is as important as buying a safe model for getting maximum protection in an accident.

  • Carefully read and follow the instructions, especially the sections on common mistakes and useful travelling safety tips.
  • The safest position is in the centre rear position of your car (except for a booster seat if your car only has a lap belt in the centre).
  • If your car has a passenger airbag, never use a rear-facing baby restraint in the front passenger seat. If you have to use a forward-facing restraint in the passenger seat, move the seat back as far as possible and discourage the child from leaning forward.
  • The restraint’s top tether strap and the car’s seatbelt should be as tight as possible. Press the restraint into the car seat with your body weight when adjusting the seatbelt.
  • When using a rear-facing infant restraint, the shoulder straps should be at shoulder height or just above. The shoulder straps in forward-facing restraints can be up to 25 mm below the child's shoulders.
  • Authorised fitting stations can help you install a restraint properly — visiting one may be a good idea if you’re using a restraint for the first time.

More information

For more information on child restraints, or to find your nearest fitting station, contact your state:

07.Bike child seats and trailers - what to buy?

 

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.
Is your child ready?

  • Your child must be strong enough to support their own head while sitting upright.
  • By law, they must wear a helmet, even if in an enclosed trailer, so make sure they can bear that extra weight too.
  • They’ll also need to be able to cope with the bumps and bounces experienced when riding, and with acceleration forces as you speed up or slow down.
  • Most children are ready at about one year old. If you’re not sure, get advice from your child’s doctor.
  • Once your child is too big and heavy to fit in a child seat or trailer – typically from about four years of age – consider a tag-along style of trailer, which is like a partial bike with seat and handlebars and a rear wheel. Or of course you can start them on their own bike, with training wheels if necessary.

Bike seat or trailer?

Seats

Pros
  • Relatively inexpensive.
  • Smaller and easier to store than trailers.
  • Your child sits close to you so conversation is easier.
  • No need to bend down while loading or unloading the seat, but need to stabilise the bike.
Cons
  • Can make the bike less balanced as it raises the centre of gravity.
  • Child isn’t sheltered from the weather.

Trailers

Pros
  • Stable while loading.
  • Can carry other cargo such as shopping bags.
  • Offer more shelter than seats
Cons
  • Can be expensive.
  • Heavy and bulky, although they can be folded for storage.
  • Your child sits further away from you, making conversation harder.
  • Increase the effective length and width of the bike.

What to buy

CHOICE tested seven child seats and four trailers in June 2009. These are the models we recommend.

Child seats

Weeride Kangaroo Baby Carrier

Weeride Kangaroo Baby CarrierPrice $180
Good points

  • Child is within view of adult rider at all times.
  • Very to easy to mount the bike with seat in place.
  • No assembly required for the seat.
  • Very easy to connect and disconnect seat to bike.
  • Harness meets stroller standard requirements.

Bad points

  • Doesn’t comply with Australian standard for child seats for bicycles, due to centre mounting, method of attaching to bike and seat dimensions.
  • Small seat.
  • Seat is secured to mounting frame by only one screw.

Rosebank Deluxe Child Safety Seat HS2002

Rosebank Deluxe Child Safety Seat HS2002Price $99
Good points

  • Can accommodate a larger child.
  • Rigid cross bar.
  • Secure four-point bike attachment.
  • Has a waist strap.
  • Second-cheapest unit tested.

Bad points

  • May be difficult to mount bike with seat in place.
  • Harness is awkward to use and is not compliant with the stroller standard.

Trailers

Chariot Cougar 2

Chariot Cougar 2Price $1530
Good points

  • Five-point harness that meets the stroller standard.
  • Can carry two children.
  • Very to easy to mount bike with trailer in place.
  • Excellent bike handling.
  • Very easy to load and unload a child.
  • Can convert to a stroller, and other conversion kits are also available.
  • Certified to the American standard for bicycle trailers ASTM F1975-02

Bad points

  • Very expensive

Croozer 535

CroozerPrice $743

Good points

  • Five-point harness that meets the stroller standard.
  • Can carry two children.
  • Very to easy to mount bike with trailer in place.
  • Excellent bike handling.
  • Can convert to a stroller.

Bad points

  • Too wide to fit through an average doorway.
  • Expensive

08.Bike child seats - what to look for and tips

 

What to look for

  • Comfortable fit Take your toddler to the shop and put them in the trailers and seats mounted on bikes to be sure they fit safely and comfortably. Check the dimensions and weight rating suit your child now and into the future. If you’re choosing a trailer, check your child is fully contained within the frame (roll-cage), even when sitting upright and wearing a helmet.
  • Loading and unloading It should be easy to load your child into the seat or trailer. Remember you’ll have to stabilise the bike while putting your child into a child seat, and you’ll probably need both hands to manage your child. Trailers are more stable but you need to bend down.
  • Harness 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. Look for models with a five-point harness, adjustable straps and buckles that are easy to use for you, but not your child.

Child seats

  • Type Rear-mounted seats are still the most common, and can often take a larger, heavier child as they’re mounted on a well-braced rack over the rear wheel. Centre- or front-mounted seats generally don’t take as large a child, but have the advantage of keeping the child in your sight and within talking range while riding. Long-legged riders might find a centre-mounted seat gets in the way of their knees, requiring a more splayed pedalling action.
  • Installation Check the seat fitting suits your bike. Some seats have different fitting options to suit different bikes – depending on whether the bike has disc or caliper brakes, for example. If possible, take your bike to the shop and get them to fit the seat mounting, as we found this task difficult for several of the tested seats due to poor instructions and the need for tools such as Allen keys which were not included.
  • Connection The seat should connect securely to its fitting and not wobble about, but still be quick and easy to remove and attach.
  • Mounting and dismounting Check you’re comfortable getting on and off the bike with the seat attached. Rear-mounted seats in particular make it harder to swing your leg over the back wheel. A step-through (“women’s”) bike frame helps eliminate this problem.
  • Standard certification While the standard AS/NZS 4287:1995 is not as up to date as we’d like, it’s still worth looking for certification. The standard only covers rear-mounted seats.

Trailers

  • Installation and connection Trailers generally connect to the bike via a quick-release mechanism that attaches to the bike’s rear wheel hub. The trailer arm should have a back-up strap connecting it to the bike in case the main connection fails.
  • One or two seats We tested two-seat models, but you might find a slightly smaller single-seat model better suits your needs. Two-seaters should ideally be easily adjustable to sit a single child in a central position.
  • Visibility aids Trailers sit low to the ground, so a brightly coloured flag on a mast and a reflector make the trailer more visible. However, even with these aids, avoid using the trailer at night or in low-visibility conditions such as rain.
  • Folding Trailers are fairly bulky, so it’s useful if the frames fold and the wheels are easily removed for storage or transporting in the car.
  • Conversion kits Kits to convert the trailer into a jogger stroller or hiking and skiing kits extend the life of the trailer.
  • Safety: Make sure the trailer roof gives enough room for your child to sit up straight while wearing their helmet.
  • Standard certification There’s no Australian standard for bike trailers, but there is an American standard ASTM F1975. Trailers that convert to strollers should meet the Australian stroller standard AS/NZS 2088:2000 when in stroller configuration.

Tips for riding with children

When riding with a child in a seat or trailer attached to your bike, pay extra attention to safety.

  • Try riding with the seat or trailer empty or with a dummy load, to get used to the bike’s changed handling characteristics.
  • Avoid riding in traffic. Stick to cycle paths in well-lit areas.
  • You and your child must wear helmets.
  • Don’t ride at night or in low visibility conditions such as rain or fog.
  • Be especially careful when cornering. The weight of the child in the bike seat could make the bike unbalanced, and a trailer could tip if you take a tight corner too fast.
  • Allow greater time and distance for braking.
  • Allow extra time for crossing roads and other danger points, especially with the extra length of a trailer.
  • With a child seat attached, your bike’s centre of gravity and handling will change.
  • Keep hold of your bike whenever a child is in the seat.
  • A child in a rear-mounted seat may be able to access your saddle springs, so cover these to prevent little fingers getting caught.
  • If you’re wearing a backpack, make sure it can’t hit a child seated behind you.

Helmets

  • Helmets sold in Australia must meet the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2063 or US Snell Standard.
  • Go to a good bike shop and try a few different helmets. Get the shop’s expert advice on fitting; the key points are that the helmet should sit level with the rim just above the eyebrows, with the chinstrap even on both sides and fitting snugly but not too tight. The helmet shouldn’t wobble or move about once the chinstrap is done up; if it does, adjust the padding or straps, or try another model.
  • Don’t buy a second-hand helmet unless you’re absolutely sure it’s undamaged. Damage, such as cracked foam, is often not visible.
  • If possible, give your child a choice of helmets; they’ll be happier wearing a helmet if they choose it themselves.

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