Tips for biking safely with baby in tow

BikeSeatWhen it comes to biking with baby there are so many options and so many questions regarding what's safe.

Should you get a trailer or bike seat? If you choose a bike seat, do you get one that goes on the front or back? What age is it ok to take a baby biking?

Andrew Jack, owner of Bike Doctor of Annapolis bike shop, minces no words on the subject.

"A trailer is definitely the safest because, it's can't roll," he says regarding trailers that are pulled behind a bicycle and can carry up to two children totaling 100 pounds.

As far as bike seats that fit onto the front of the bike Jack says, "I refuse to sell those. ... People ask about them all the time, but when you wreck on your bike, you almost always go forward."

The American Academy of Pediatrics also feels that trailers are the safest when biking with children. Children must also be able to sit well unsupported and be able to wear a helmet to ride, the AAP states.

Here are some tips from the AAP on safely biking with baby.

  1. Only adult cyclists should carry young passengers.
  2. Preferably ride with passengers in parks, on bike paths or on quiet streets. Avoid busy thoroughfares and bad weather, and ride with maximum caution and at a reduced speed.
  3. Infants younger than 12 months are too young to sit in a rear bike seat and should not be carried on a bicycle. Do not carry infants in backpacks or frontpacks on a bike.
  4. Children who are old enough (12 months to 4 years) to sit well unsupported and whose necks are strong enough to support a lightweight helmet may be carried in a child-trailer or rear-mounted seat. Make sure the bike seat is securely attached over the rear wheel, has spoke guards to prevent feet and hands from being caught in the wheels and a high back and a sturdy shoulder harness and lap belt that will support a sleeping child.
  5. A lightweight infant bike helmet should always be worn by a young passenger to prevent or minimize head injury. Small styrofoam helmets that meet Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards are available.
  6. Remember, the risk of serious injury still exists when you carry a young child on your bicycle.

Jack says that despite the fact that bike trailers are safest, he sells more bike seats because of the price. A basic trailer at his store cost about $299 while a bike seat starts around $100.

If you are looking for places to bike, check out our story 7 Maryland bike trails fit for the family

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