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Best child bike seats for babies, toddlers and kids, as tested by Mumsnet users

A child bike seat can transport toddlers and young kids safely, securely and comfortably when you’re out and about on two wheels. But what’s the best bit of kit for you and your family? We’ve consulted the Mumsnet cycling community for tried-and-tested recommendations to add to your bike.

By Rachel Erdos | Last updated Jan 13, 2023

Child bike seat

Whether you’re a keen cyclist or you hop on a bike occasionally to speed up the nursery run, a child’s bike seat can be an invaluable addition to your family, particularly if your little one isn’t ready to cycle themselves or can’t manage long distances. 

It’s likely you put in a fair amount of research when choosing a bike for yourself so it’s only right that you investigate a variety of options before deciding on the best bike seat for your child. We’ve put together a handy buying guide at the bottom of this page to highlight some of the key features to look out for and to answer questions from cyclists who may be apprehensive about transporting their precious cargo on two wheels. 

We’ve taken to the Mumsnet forums to gather tried-and-tested recommendations from parents that have been there, done that and bought the cycling jersey. Who better to seek guidance from than a community of parents who have tried 100s of rear-mounted and front-mounted child bike seats between them. 

If you’re transporting more than one child, our guide to the best bike trailers for kids should prove useful. If you’re heading out on foot, you might want to consider our roundups of the best baby carriers and the best baby carrier backpacks, all featuring reviews from real parents. And our guides to the best baby car seats, the best toddler car seats and the best car seats for older children will ensure your children are safe and secure however you’re travelling. 

Best child bike seats: Editor's picks

1. Best overall child bike seat: Hamax Caress Bike Seat 

HAMAX Caress bike seat

Price: RRP £134 | Buy now from Amazon 

Tested by parents: Hamax Caress full review

Key specs

Front or back mount: Back | Dimensions: 94cm x 28cm x 36.5cm | Weight: 4.4kg | Safety harness type: Three-point | Age range: Approx nine months up to 22 kg | Recline: Yes | Frame size: 28-40mm

What we love

  • Simple and quick to install
  • Impressive 20% recline
  • Recess pocket to store helmet, footrest and more

What to know

  • The foot harnesses are a little fiddly to adjust
  • High sculpted back features a reflector
  • Frame mount requires an available length of 80mm

What Mumsnet users say 

"We have the Hamax caress for both of our dc and we love them. The youngest falls asleep when we are cycling so the reclining seat is great. Very comfortable and easy to take on and off. Harness is easy to use and adjust" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Floridasunset 

Our verdict 

The Hamax Caress is a brilliant all-rounder. It’s simple and quick to install and comes with loads of useful extra features. Adjusting the footrest height is easier than on cheaper models and it’s simple to change the position of the seat itself. Some functions (foot harnesses/recline dial) are a little fiddly but the product as a whole is completely child-proof so there’s no need to worry about little fingers tampering with things mid-ride. The 20% recline provides a comfy ride and our tester reports that their 18-month-old fell asleep on a bumpy gravel trail. Not cheap but worth every penny.

Read next: The best bike trailers for kids, as according to Mumsnet users

2. Best budget child bike seat: Polisport Groovy Frame-Mounted Baby Seat

Polisport Groovy Frame-Mounted Baby Seat

Price: £35 | Buy now from Decathlon

Key specs

Front or back mount: Back | Dimensions: 40cm x 71cm x 43cm | Weight: 4.4kg | Safety harness type: Three-point | Age range: Approx nine months up to 22 kg | Recline: Yes | Fits frame: 28-40mm

What we love

  • Attractive price
  • Waterproof seat padding
  • Reclining seat position

What to know 

  • Simple and functional design
  • E-bike compatible 

What Mumsnet users say

“I have a Polisport bike seat - has worked fine from about 10 months. DD loves going on the bike and seems to be happy with the limited view, although we've done nursery runs rather than long rides” - recommended by Mumsnet user, scandichick

Our verdict

If you want the flexibility of having a bike seat in the family but don’t want to fork out £100+, this rear-mounted Polisport frame is a great buy. It has all the standard features you’d expect from a child bike seat - a three-point harness, adjustable foot rests and a mechanism that allows you to recline the seating position. The waterproof seat padding keeps things comfy and according to user reviews, it’s easy to fit and remove as needed. At £35, it’s a great to way to test out if a bike seat works for you and your child.

Read next: The best baby carriers to buy

3. Best child bike seat for toddlers: Thule RideAlong 

Thule RideAlong bike seat

Price: RRP £140 | Buy now from Amazon 

Tested by parents: Thule RideAlong full review

Key specs

Front or back mount: Back | Dimensions: 45cm x 40cm x 83cm | Weight: 4.6kg | Safety harness type: Three-point | Age range: Approx nine months up to 22 kg | Recline: Yes | Fits frame: 27.2-40mm (round frame), 40 x 55mm (oval frame)

What we love

  • Easy to switch between bikes (as long as the bracket is in place on each bike)
  • Padding is completely detachable and washable
  • DualBeam suspension for a smooth ride 

What to know

  • The bracket is a little fiddly to attach initially
  • No recess pocket
  • Retains value for resale 

What Mumsnet users say 

“Look at the Thule seat - v good” - recommended by Mumsnet user, Frazzle76

Our verdict 

Fitted with an adjustable and padded three-point harness, the RideAlong is a rear-mounted seat that offers a really sturdy and secure ride, and the easy-to-use clasp is effective at keeping even the wriggliest of passengers in place. Our tester found it pretty tricky to get the bracket set up initially but once in place found it really simple to swap the seat between bikes. The design is typical of the Thule brand’s simplicity - we love the Thule Urban Glide 2 pram as well as the Thule Chariot Cross bike trailer for combining good looks and usability too. This bike seat exceeded expectations.

Read next: The best baby carrier backpacks, as tried and tested by parents

4. Best front-mounted bike seat: Weeride Classic 

Weeride Classic bike seat

Price: RRP £109 | Buy now from Amazon

Tested by parents: Weeride Classic bike seat full review

Key specs

Front or back mount: Front | Dimensions: 36cm x 28cm x 45cm | Weight: 4kg | Safety harness type: Five-point | Age range: 1-4 years | Recline: No | Fits frame: Fits all bikes as long as they have a gap of 49 to 60cm from seat post to headset, and 5mm headset space below the handlebar stem

What we love

  • Extra chest strap for added peace of mind
  • Once in place, it’s easily removed/replaced
  • Comfy headrest positioned over the handlebars 

What to know

  • No padding on the straps
  • Quite fiddly to install
  • No recline 

What Mumsnet users say 

“The 'Weeride' front-mounted bike seat is good - sits between you and the handlebars, so nice and safe and you can see little one at all times. We purchased when ds1 was about 10 months - only just outgrown it age 5 (and only because his feet don't fit in the shoe bits, he still fits seat ok and he's not small)” - recommended by Mumsnet user, terrifictoddlers

Our verdict 

Front-mounted seats can be a comforting set up for both parents and children - along with added stability, you get much better interaction with your little one as they’re always in your sightline and children can enjoy a scenic ride. The Weeride Classic is a great bike seat to consider - we love the comfy and ever-practical headrest which is positioned perfectly in front of your child for when they (inevitably) fall asleep on the move. Installation proved a little tricky for our tester but once in place, they found it easy to remove and reattach. You may need a few practice mounts and dismounts to figure out how to balance things and pedalling legs akimbo can take some getting used to but it’s a good affordable option if your preference is for a front-mounted bike seat. 

Read next: The best kids' bikes to buy

5. Best value child bike seat: Hamax Siesta 

Hamax Siesta bike seat

Price: RRP £80 | Buy now from Evans Cycles

Tested by parents: Hamax Siesta bike seat full review 

Key specs

Front or back mount: Back | Dimensions: 48cm x 39cm x 71cm | Weight: 4.3kg | Safety harness type: Three-point | Age range: Approx nine months up to 22 kg | Recline: Yes | Fits frame: 28-40mm

What we love

  • 20 degree recline
  • Easy to install and switch between bikes
  • Wipe-clean plastic structure
  • Affordable price tag  

What to know 

  • Slightly confusing harness with a double-buckle three-point-system
  • Foot harnesses can be a little fiddly
  • No padding on the straps 

What Mumset users say 

“I have a Hamax Siesta for my DS as it reclines and so he can sleep in it” - recommended by Mumsnet user, MTBer

Our verdict

If you’re looking to take your child on biking adventures near and far but don’t want to break the bank, the Hamax Siesta is a great option. It might not look as sleek as a bike seat from a premium brand but it’s around half the price of some of the models that we tested and functions well. The double-buckle three-point harness system can be a little fiddly to begin with and the foot harnesses are a little clunky, but it’s safe, functional and offers value for money.

Read next: The best balance bikes for kids

6. Best lightweight child bike seat: Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi Bike Seat 

Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi

Price: RRP £131 | Buy now from Halfords

Key specs

Front or back mount: Back (pannier rack) | Dimensions: 36cm x 28cm x 45cm | Weight: 3kg | Safety harness type: Five-point | Age range: Approx nine months up to 22 kg/6 years | Recline: No | Fits frame: Fits all bikes as long as they have a gap of 49 to 60cm from seat post to headset, and 5mm headset space below the handlebar stem

What we love

  • Magnetic childproof safety buckle makes it easy to install
  • Lightweight design - it weighs just 3kg
  • Padded seat and straps

What to know

  • Good for e-bikes and city/commuter/hybrid bikes
  • Not compatible with mountain or road bikes
  • Slim design 

What Mumsnet users say 

“We have a Yepp Maxi and it has been brilliant. Still using it with nearly four year old DD, and it'll do DS too when he's bigger. It's comfortable (she's never complained!) and really easy to put on and off both our bikes (matter of seconds to tighten up) so we can share nursery pick up and drop off” - recommended by Mumsnet user, signofthebellbird

Our verdict

If you have a bike with a pannier rack and are looking for a lightweight bike seat to transport a small passenger, the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi is a great choice. Better suited to urban cyclists who tend to cycle short distances, this lightweight seat weighs just 3kg, making it the lightest bike seat on our list. The sleek design is less bulky than its competitors too. Despite its slim frame and light build, it’s a comfy seat with soft padding, padded straps and a shock-absorbing frame. Note that it’s not compatible with mountain bikes or road bikes. 

Read next: The best lightweight strollers to buy

7. Best child bike seat for older kids: Shotgun Kids’ Bike Seat

Shotgun kids bike seat

Price: RRP £75 | Buy now from Amazon 

Key specs

Front or back mount: N/A (positioned mid-frame) | Dimensions: 20cm x 15cm x 25cm | Weight: 4.6kg | Safety harness type: N/A (features footpegs) | Age range: 2-5 | Recline: N/A| Fits frame: 30-68mm (top tubes), 30-100mm (down tubes)

What we love 

  • Fits all modern mountain bikes
  • Quick release attachment for easy installation
  • Rubber padding protects bike frames

What to know

  • Not compatible with e-bikes, road bikes or bikes with cables on the top tube
  • Suitable for kids 2-5 but better suited to older riders
  • No straps or harnesses

What Mumsnet users say

“The Shotgun has been excellent. DS loves it and is super comfortable on it. It fits rock solid on carbon mountain bike frame. It hasn’t slipped or damaged it. I use the shotgun for road and mountain biking” - recommended by Mumsnet user, WhiskeryWoman

Our verdict 

If your little one loves jumping on their balance bike or kids’ bike but isn’t quite ready for long distances, bumpy terrain or nippy nursery runs, the Shotgun seat could be just the ticket. Designed in New Zealand by Mountain-biking parents, this simple seat attaches to all modern mountain bikes that have flat or sloping top tubes (note that it’s not compatible with e-bikes, road bikes or bikes with cables on top part of the frame). It allows kids to sit mid-frame and hold on to your handlebar as you ride, ideally fostering a love of cycling while you’re at it. The grippy footpegs offer reassurance that your precious load will stay in place but there are no other straps or harnesses so this is one for confident riders and passengers. It’s best suited to older kids that have outgrown a traditional front- or back-mounted bike seat. 

Read next: The best pushchairs to buy, as tested by parents

How to buy the best bike seat for your child 

It's important to ask yourself a few questions to ensure you’re looking for the right type of bike seat for your child:

  • What type of bike do you have?
  • How sturdy is it and what is the suspension like?
  • How old is your child?
  • Where are you going to be cycling (rough country lanes or smooth paths or roads)?

The two main options are rear-mounted child bike seats and front-mounted child bike seats. As the name suggests, rear seats sit behind the cyclist, while front seats are positioned between you and the handlebars. To complicate things just a little further, there are also multiple ways to attach both type of seat to your bike. And there are also a few ‘shotgun’ styles, which fit mid-frame allowing your child to sit between your own seat and the handlebars. We’ve put together a summary of the different kinds of child bike seats available, to help you choose one that’s right for you and your child.

Rear-mounted child bike seats

Rear-mounted seats are suitable for use from around nine months and can generally last up to 5 years. Prices range anywhere from £35 (for example the Polisport Groovy Frame-Mounted Baby Seat) to £100+ like the Thule RideAlong.

There are three main types of rear seat attachment, and your choice will probably depend on the type of bike you have. If you’re riding a bike with rear suspension, you’ll need one that attaches to the seat stem and cantilevers out over the wheel, like the Hamax Siesta. If your bike has a rear carrier rack, you might be better off with a seat that is designed to attach there, like the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi. If your bike has neither of these things, you could go for the third option, which attaches both to the seat stem and the bike’s stays for added security.

Rear-mounted seats are generally thought to be more secure for the child, as there’s more room on the back for extra padding and protective layers. In addition, many rear-mounted models can be reclined to provide a relaxing environment for your child to snooze in.

However, the position can make the bike feel slightly unbalanced depending on how far back on the frame it’s placed, and this may make it harder to control the bike itself. There’s also the downside that you have your back to your child, who spends the whole journey looking at your bottom instead of the road or path ahead. 

Front-mounted child bike seats

Front-mounted seats are generally suitable for children aged between nine months and three years. Most attach to the handlebar stem, but some require an extra bar to be fitted between the handlebar and your seat tube (like the Weeride Classic).

There are obvious benefits to a front-mounted seat: it allows easy interaction between you and your child, they get a nicer view (not that your behind isn’t lovely) and you get the fun of watching them ‘steer’ the bike. Front mounted seats also put the child’s weight in the center of the bike rather than on the end, making the bike more stable and therefore easier to manoeuvre. This may therefore be a good option for less confident cyclists.

While there’s no room for a recline feature, many front-mounted seats (like the Weeride Classic) include a sleeping rest for your child to lean on during naps. This means that even when their head inevitably falls forwards, there’s somewhere for them to rest it without being uncomfortable and without causing any damage. 

However, because your child sits in front of you, they’ll be more exposed to the elements than if your body was offering some protection. You may also find that as they get older your passenger or their helmet may reduce your visibility. Some models may also get in the way of pedalling, requiring a slightly bow-legged position which can affect your speed and comfort.

Check out Cycling UK, a charity that provides advice and support to enable everyone to ride a bike safely. It has a fantastic guide to child bike seats with useful information for parents on how to make cycling with kids safe and comfortable

Child bike seat checklist

Whichever type of seat you go for, make sure that it’s compatible with your bike before purchasing.

For the safety of your child, it’s important that the seat keeps them away from the spokes of your bike. Almost half of all accidents involving a child bike seat are due to small hands and feet getting caught in the spokes. Most seats will have a plastic shield to prevent this, but it’s still worth choosing a seat with foot straps to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Planning to switch the seat between bikes?

If you’re planning to switch the seat between your bike and your partner’s, it may be worth considering how easy it is to remove and attach. Some seats, like the Thule RideAlong, are designed to be easily moved from one bike to another.

More than one child to transport?

With both a front- and rear-mounted seat, it’s possible for one adult to cycle with more than one child. However, as the extra weight makes the bike difficult to control, you may want to consider a bike trailer instead.

Although these trailers are a pricier option, they’re a comfy and cosy way to transport your little passengers (alongside a whole host of bits and bobs). However, with your children so close to the road, it’s important to bear in mind that you won’t be able to hear what they’re saying to you, and it will also be tricky to keep an eye on them. In the same way, it may also be tricky for other road users to spot them at a low level, which is why most trailers will be brightly coloured and come with a tall flag or other indicator attached to the top. On top of all that, you’ll need to be just that little bit fitter to drag this fairly hefty piece of kit behind you, especially when heading uphill.

How to feel safe when using a child bike seat

Small fingers and heavy bike springs don’t mix well, so if you’re going for a rear-mounted seat and you have a sprung saddle, you’ll need to buy or make a fingerguard. Bobike has some options to consider, or if you’re feeling crafty, you can do it yourself with a plastic sheet and some zip ties.

If you’re cycling in the early morning or evening, you should invest in some bright, reflective gear. Adding a reflective sticker to the back of a rear seat will make it easier for traffic to spot you and encourage them to take more care.

Consider buying a child bike seat windshield to shelter your child from the elements – just make sure you can still see where you’re going! 

If your child likes to snooze while on the move, a neck rest can provide extra support and prevent their head from being bounced around, but this is unlikely to be provided with the seat, and can cost around £20 extra for a product from a well-known brand, such as Hamax.

How we chose the best child bike seats

To put together this guide to the best child bike seats, we rounded up models and brands most frequently searched for and most highly rated both on the Mumsnet forums and across the web. We considered a number of factors that are integral to assessing whether a kids’ bike seat is a good buy or not, including how easy it is to attach and detach, how simple it is to switch between bikes, and how adjustable everything is – things like ease of altering straps, footrests and padding, as well as how simple it is to recline the seat itself. We also took into account the durability of materials, visibility for other road-users, and safety features including five- and three-point harnesses that couldn’t be clicked open by small fingers and sturdy straps not even a tiny Houdini could wriggle out of.

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