Best Bike Carriers for Kids

8 Ways to Use Your Bike to Ride with Young Kids

So you want to ride your bike with your baby or child. But what’s the best way to bring the kids along for the ride? There are a lot of options to carry your baby on your bike or tow your child behind you. Which bike carrier for kids is best for your family will depend a lot on your child’s age, how many kids you need to bring, and the type of riding you’ll be doing.

Collage of four different types of bike carriers for kids and baby bike carriers. Rear child bike seat, front baby bike seat, bike trailer, and tag along bike

Standard bike trailers and front or rear child bike seats are the most common ways to bike with a baby. But many parents often wonder if a bike trailer or child bike seat is better. Bike trailer or seat? It depends on your situation, but we outline the pros and cons below!

With slightly older kids, you’ll get even more options like tow bars, tag along bikes, and recumbent trailer cycles. Each option has unique benefits, but they all have one thing in common – they enable your family biking adventures to begin far before a child can ride for long distances on their own. For biking families, they are a saving grace!

Here are eight different methods to bring young kids along for the ride, aided by your own bike. They are in order of youngest appropriate age.

Best Bike Carriers for Kids and Babies: By Age

Bike Carrier for Kids - Type Best Age Example
12 months and older
Bike Trailer 12 mo - 5 years Burley Bee
Baby Bike Seat - Front 12 mo - 3 years Thule Yepp Nexxt Mini
Child Bike Seat - Rear 12 mo - 4 years Thule Yepp Maxi
Cargo Bike 12 mo - adult Aventon Abound
2 Years and Older
Weehoo Trailer Cycle 2 - 7 years Weehoo Turbo
Tag Along Bike 2 - 8 years Weeride Co-pilot
Bike Tow Bar 2 - 7 years Trail Gator
MTB Bike Seat 2 - 5 years Kids Ride Shotgun

Best Bike Carrier for Kids to Grow With

Bike Trailer

Mom pulling Thule Cadence bike trailer down street. This bike carrier for kids has two toddlers inside.

Bike Trailer Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 12 mo – 5 years

Price Range: $100 – $1200

Capacity: 1 – 2 children

Child Weight Limit: Generally 40 – 48 lbs. for single trailers and 80 – 97 lbs. for double trailers

Bike Compatibility: The bike trailer tow arm connects to a hitch attachment on the rear axle of the adult bike. These small hitches are generally compatible with all standard adult bikes.

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: With your child buckled in and enclosed in a metal frame, bike trailers are incredibly safe. In the event that the adult bike crashes and falls over, the trailer is likely to stay upright. (But no 100% guarantee.)
  • Loading and Unloading: Because the trailer stays upright when the bike is placed on its side on the ground, loading and unloading kids is incredibly easy. It’s also easy to stop mid-ride to attend to needy kids.
  • Portability: Almost all trailers fold up for quick storage and transportation, but they are larger and a bit more cumbersome to transport than some other bike child carriers. More expensive trailers are generally easier to fold.
  • Wobble Factor: None. The ride is so stable, you can often forget you’re pulling anything!

+ Benefits of a Bike Trailer

  • Bike trailers are low to the ground and incredibly stable. They are easy for even unexperienced bike riders to use.
  • Bike trailers can be sealed on the front – allowing you to bring snacks and books, and preventing kids from throwing things in the road.
  • Many bike trailers can also convert to strollers or joggers.
  • Great for all seasons – many trailers have rain covers and sunshades to protect from rain, wind, low temperatures, and sun.
  • Easy to load and unload kids – your bike can be lying on the ground and the trailer remains upright.
  • Can easily and safely be used with a wide variety of ages – they typically last one child longer than any other method (growing from 12 months to 4 or 5 comfortably)
  • Attachment system is compatible with almost all bikes – more compatible that any other option on this list
  • For your average parent, a trailer is the easiest, most comfortable, and safest bike baby carrier

– Limitations of Bike Trailers

  • With your child low to the ground behind you, it’s hard to interact with them.
  • They are more cumbersome than other options to transport to your biking destination
  • With two parallel wheels and a wide body, bike trailers aren’t ideal for narrow dirt trail riding or singletrack
  • How comfortable your child will be is highly dependent on how much money you spend. Nicer trailers have padded, supported seats, and even suspension to help smooth out the bumps in the road.

Best Baby Bike Carrier for Riding “Together”

Baby Bike Seat – Front

mom riding with her daughter in the thule yepp nexxt mini child bike seat

Baby Bike Seat Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 12 mo – 3 years

Price Range: $50 – $180

Capacity: 1 child

Child Weight Limit: 33 lbs.

Bike Compatibility: Not every baby bike seat will fit on every bike. This method generally has the most issues with compatibility. Double check your bike’s compatibility before purchase.

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: Your baby is buckled snuggly. However, in the event of a crash, they are more exposed in this style of bicycle baby carrier than if in a trailer.
  • Loading and Unloading: While this can be tricky at first, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. There are several ways to do it, and you can try a few to see what fits you best! Some parents like to get on their bike first, then pick up their child and load them into the seat in front of them. Other parents lean their bike against a wall, load the child up, and then get on the bike.
  • Portability: Front-mounted baby bike seats are generally on and off the adult bike in just seconds, making them a breeze to transport and get started on the trails.
  • Wobble Factor: Very stable. As long as your child isn’t screaming and trying to remove themselves from the seat, there is only a small effect on your balance. However, it does take much more concentration than a bike trailer. For the vast majority of baby bike seats, the seat moves with the handlebars as you turn them. If you prefer a seat that stays stationary as you turn, check out the Peg Perego Orion. Shorter parents on smaller framed bikes may have more issues with stability.

+ Benefits of Baby Bike Seats

  • With your baby right in front of you, between your arms, it’s an interactive experience that you will never forget!
  • After initial installation, quick and easy to attach to your bike for spur of the moment rides
  • Small and compact for easy transportation
  • With your child on your bike, rather than being towed behind you, these bike attachments for babies can be safer for high-traffic commutes
  • With a lightweight baby in front of you (rather than behind), there is only a little effect on your balance. Adjusting to riding with your baby comes pretty naturally.

– Limits of Baby Bike Seats

  • Children outgrow these more quickly than any other bike baby carrier
  • Inclement weather quickly becomes a problem
  • Dealing with problems mid-ride can be tricky. If you need to stop to fix your bike or help another child, you have to keep your bike upright, or take your child out of the seat.
  • Many parents will have to splay their legs slightly to accommodate for the shape of the baby bike seat

Best Bike Child Carrier for High Traffic Commutes

Child Bike Seat – Rear

Mom riding Priority bicycle with toddler on the back in Thule RideAlong child bike seat. Both are grinning.

Child Bike Seat Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 12 mo – 4 years

Price Range: $80 – $280

Capacity: 1 child

Child Weight Limit: 40 lbs. (US), 48 lbs. (Europe)

Bike Compatibility: Not every child bike seat will fit on every bike. Double check your bike’s compatibility before purchase. Rear seats have the option of mounting to the bike’s frame, or an added rear rack.

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: The child is strapped and buckled in, but is more exposed to injury in the event of a crash (compared to a trailer). We have never crashed using one.
  • Loading and Unloading: While this can be tricky at first, you’ll quickly get the hang of it. We find it best to lean your bike against a wall while you’re loading. If you need to stop during a ride, you must stay with your bike and keep it upright.
  • Portability: Small and lightweight, child bike seats are easy to throw in the trunk for transportation to trails.
  • Wobble Factor: Less stable than trailers or front mounted bike seats. This gets more significant as kids get heavier or move around. Not the best option for timid adult riders.

+ Benefits of Rear Child Bike Seats

  • Many families choose rear seats because they have a higher weight capacity. This allows families to use the same seat from baby all the way through the toddler years.
  • Almost all child bike seats are quick and easy to attach to your bike for spur of the moment rides (but double check before purchase!)
  • Small and compact for easy transportation
  • With your child on your bike, rather than being towed behind you, these bike child carriers can be safer for high-traffic commutes
  • With many mounting options, you’re likely to find one that will work with your bike

– Limits of Rear Child Bike Seats

  • Rear mounted seats affect your balance. While not as pronounced when carrying a baby, and kids get heavier, the ride becomes less stable. With a bike trailer you can almost forget your child is behind you, but you will always notice the added weight of a child bike seat. As a result, they are not the best option for adult riders that are inexperienced or don’t have great balance.
  • Most rear seats aren’t a great fit for 12 – 18 month olds, even though they are safety rated for that age. These toddler bike carriers are better for 18 months +.
  • Because there are so many styles and shapes of bike frames, not every child bike seat will fit your bike. Don’t buy a seat without confirming that it’s compatible with your bike. We walk you through the compatibility steps here!
  • Inclement weather quickly becomes a problem

Best Child Bike Carrier for Lots of Kids!

Cargo Bike

Mom carrying kids on Xtracycle Swoop electric cargo bike

Cargo Bike Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 12 mo – adult

Price Range: $1500- $8000

Capacity: 1 – 6 children

Child Weight Limit: Varies greatly between style of bikes, but typically not a concern due to the wide variety of options

Bike Compatibility: Cargo bikes are their own bike, so there are no compatibility issues!

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: As safe as riding a bike! Family cargo bikes are designed specifically for hauling kids. From frame design to weight capacity and weight distribution, these bikes are designed for, and capable of, heavier loads.
  • Loading and Unloading: Depends on the style of bike. Tricycles with a large “bucket” in the front are quite stable and easy to load up. Bicycles with longer wheelbases for kids (either behind or in front of the adult rider) are more challenging to load up, but almost all bikes come with a two footed kickstand to help keep the bike stable when loading.
  • Portability: Don’t plan on taking your cargo bike anywhere that you don’t pedal it to! Unless you have a truck, they aren’t going anywhere. 🙂
  • Wobble Factor: With no extra parts attached, there is nothing to wobble! With three wheels, tricycles with buckets are better for more hesitant riders, but cargo bicycles are much more stable than you would expect. All family bikes are designed with the kids sitting low on the bike, which helps keeps the bike stable, especially while traveling at lower speeds.

+ Benefits of a Cargo Bike

  • Save the planet! Transport your kids to school, run errands, or pick up groceries – all without ever getting in your car!
  • High capacity – depending on the cargo bike, they can generally transport up to 6 kids (thank you e-assist!), but 2 and 3 kids is much more common. (For a discussion on the important features of ebikes, check out our Kids Electric Bikes buying guide.)
  • Ultimate family bonding – no independent riders here! Family sing-a-longs and eye-spy games are common place during a ride.
  • Adaptable – can transport kids or cargo. Rain covers, seating pads, and a wide arrange of accessories are also available.
  • Some cargo bikes offer special bike baby carrier inserts that act similarly to a car seat. This allows you to carry babies and toddlers.
  • Available as standard bikes or e-bikes

– Limits of a Cargo Bike

  • They are difficult to transport, so you’re generally limited to wherever you can ride from your home
  • Expensive
  • Places a limited life span on the bike itself (unless you plan on using the bike for just cargo hauling once your kids outgrow it)

Best Bike Carrier Option for Kids 2+

Weehoo Trailer Cycles

Mom and child riding together with a bike carrier for kids. Mom is pulling the Weehoo Turbo trailer cycle behind her Santa Cruz mountain bike.

Weehoo Trailer Cycle Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 2 – 7 years

Price Range: $300 – $650

Capacity: 1 – 2 children

Child Weight Limit: 80 lbs. for single or double

Bike Compatibility: The tow arm connects to a hitch attachment on the seat post of the adult bike. That attachment comes with six adapters to accommodate almost any size seat post.

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: The child is strapped and buckled in. While they are exposed in the event of a crash, they are lower to the ground than a child bike seat.
  • Loading and Unloading: To load and unload, you must rest your bike against a wall, bench etc. The Weehoo only stays upright if your bike stays upright.
  • Portability: The tow arm quickly detaches from the trailer cycle, allowing you to fit both easily in your trunk. Upon arriving at your destination, just pull the Weehoo out, and re-attach the tow arm!
  • Wobble Factor: Minimal. While not quite as stable as a standard bike trailer, it comes very close. With older/larger kids (60 pounds +), the wobble is more pronounced.

+ Benefits of a Weehoo Trailer Cycle

  • Recumbent seat provides kids with a safe, carefree, relaxed ride
  • Height-adjustable harness with adjustable chest strap make for a great fit for a wide variety of ages
  • With an 80 pound weight limit, it’s capable of carrying much older kids than other options
  • Kids love being out in the open, rather than confined in an enclosed trailer
  • Enclosed side and rear storage, as well as snack and sippy cup holders
  • Compared to a bike trailer, the narrow footprint of the Weehoo prevents it from becoming stuck on low branches or rocks
  • The best option for mountain biking families – with one wheel, the Weehoo remains upright on uneven surfaces, vs. a trailer that bounces back and forth on two tires, creating a bumpy and uncomfortable ride

– Limits of a Weehoo Trailer Cycle

  • Stopping to help a child mid-ride is tricky. You’ll need to find a bench or wall to lean your bike against.
  • Inclement weather quickly becomes a problem, although rain covers and a shade are optional accessories, but are limited in their effectiveness

Quickest and Easiest Child Bike Carrier for Kids 2+

MTB Child Bike Seat

Mom and toddler riding together using the Mac Ride toddler bike seat.

MTB Child Bike Seat Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 2 – 5 years

Price Range: $100 – $200

Capacity: 1 child

Child Weight Limit: 48 – 60 lbs, depending on brand

Bike Compatibility: Each brand mounts differently. But because their mounting styles vary, there is likely one brand that will fit your bike. Do your research before you buy!

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: The child is not strapped in or buckled in any way, so it’s not great for wiggly kids or nervous parents.
  • Loading and Unloading: The easiest of any method! Just plop your child on the seat and go.
  • Portability: So small and lightweight, they are the most portable of any bike carrier for kids.
  • Wobble Factor: None. With the child’s weight centered on your bike, the ride is incredibly stable.

+ Benefits of an MTB Child Bike Seat

  • While originally designed for mountain biking, these seats are great for any parent who wants a super quick and easy way to bring their child along for a bike ride.
  • While other front-mounted seats max out at 33 lbs, these higher weight capacity MTB seats allow you to ride with your 3 – 5 year old in front of you as well. This is how we get our kindergartener to school every day.
  • Safe for mountain biking
  • Quick and easy to attach to your bike for spur of the moment rides (some models, others are more difficult to take on and off)
  • Small and compact for easy transportation to the trails
  • Such a smooth and stable ride

– Limits of an MTB Child Bike Seat

  • No harness makes some parents nervous. However, we’ve personally found this style of riding completely safe, especially because there is no effect on the adult’s balance.
  • Adult does have to make small adjustments to the way they ride. For example, you may need to splay your legs more than normal.

Best for Kids to Ride Their Own Bike

Bike Tow Bar

Trail Gator tow bar connected between adult and child bike. Mom and daughter riding together.

Bike Tow Bar Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 3 – 7 years

Price Range: $80 – $300

Capacity: 1 child

Child Weight Limit: For use with 12″ to 20″ kids bikes

Bike Compatibility: They will most likely fit your bike, but you may need to purchase additional adapters depending on the style of your bike and your child’s bike.

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: Very safe. The child is fixed at a set distance from the adult bike, and the adult keeps the child upright.
  • Loading and Unloading: Tow bars are designed to be attached or detached mid-ride. They generally take you just a few minutes to get going.
  • Portability: Small and lightweight, bike tow bars are stored on the bikes themselves so you can use them as the need arises.
  • Wobble Factor: Very dependent on model. Cheap tow bars wobble quite a bit. Expensive tow bars are very stable.

+ Benefits of a Bike Tow Bar

  • This child bike carrier is perfect for the just-in-case scenario. Your child can ride their own bike as long as they want, and then you can choose to tow them when necessary.
  • Small and easy to store
  • Child can quickly and easily be removed or reattached to the adult bike at any point during the ride
  • Child feels like they are riding along with their parent
  • Compatible with 12″ – 20″ bikes, they can be used for many years
  • A safe solution for commuting by bike with kids in high traffic areas

– Limits of a Bike Tow Bar

  • Initial set-up is time consuming
  • There is a big difference in price between a decent tow bar and a really good tow bar. If you want to tow your child for an entire ride, you’ll definitely want to upgrade to the more stable (and more expensive) FollowMe Tandem.

Best for Kids Who Can’t Ride a Bike on their Own

Tag Along Bike

woman pulling a boy on a weeride co-pilot tag along bike

Tag Along Bike Quick Look

Ideal Child Age: 4 – 8 years

Price Range: $80 – $400

Capacity: 1 child

Child Weight Limit: Approximately 75 lbs.

Bike Compatibility: Depending on model, they attach to your seat post or a rear rack. Not all adult bikes can accommodate a rear rack, so check your bike before purchase.

Riding Experience Factors

  • Safety: As safe as riding a bike! The adult keeps the bike upright.
  • Loading and Unloading: Attaching a tag along bike to your bike is pretty quick and easy. It takes 30 seconds to a few minutes, depending on model.
  • Portability: Small and lightweight, they can easily fit in the trunk of your car.
  • Wobble Factor: Of all the bike carriers for kids, trailer cycles are the wobbliest. They do take some getting used to, and require more concentration during a ride than other options.

+ Benefits of a Tag Along Bike

  • A unique and fun way to bring older kids on long rides that they would be unable to complete on their own
  • Fit a wide age range of kids – adjustable seat and handlebars
  • Easy to mount and unmount, and they fold for easy storage
  • Kids can choose to pedal or just go along for the ride

– Limits of a Tag Along Bike

  • With a half bike and a child attached to the rear of your bike, this child bike carrier definitely has an effect on your balance. The child’s higher center of gravity (as opposed to the low-to-the-ground Weehoo trailer cycles), also contributes to a less stable ride.
  • Doesn’t promote independent riding or give you the option for a child to ride their own bike part of the way (like tow bar options).

Bottom Line – What’s the Best Bike Carrier for Kids?

Lots of great choices, right? If you’ve narrowed down your options a bit, but could use a little more specific information on your favorite bike carrier for kids, check out our top 10 lists in the blue buttons above!

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